How to become an economist
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- a graduate training scheme
You'll need a degree in economics or a related subject, like:
- business studies
- finance and accounting
Some employers may prefer you to have a postgraduate master's degree in economics.
Your university course should include both macro and microeconomics.
You'll usually need:
- 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths or economics
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
You could start a Professional Economist Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship, or a Senior Professional Economist Level 7 Degree Apprenticeship to get into this career.
Employers set their own entry requirements for an apprenticeship, which are likely to include maths at GCSE and A level. They may ask for a first degree in economics, or a similar subject, to start the Level 7 apprenticeship.
You'll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
You could start as an economic research officer or analyst in the private sector and work your way up.
You could apply for a place on the Government Economic Service Fast Stream programme, starting out as an assistant economist.
You'll need a degree in economics or a combined degree, with at least 50% economics. A postgraduate award in economics may be acceptable.
Real career story
Find out how James became an assistant economist.
You can learn about James’s career journey on the Analysis Function website.
“I achieved my undergraduate economics degree but after I graduated, I was unsure what I wanted to do for a career. I liked economics but I knew I did not want to work in finance, which was the main path you were directed to go down after university.”
Customer service and social media role
“I started working in the private sector for the AQA exam board working in social media and giving advice in a customer service role.”
Joined the Civil Service
“I joined HMRC in 2019 as I liked the idea of working in the Civil Service. I joined as a compliance case worker. I enjoyed the job and the culture of the Civil Service so I decided to look at opportunities to advance my career through the Fast Stream.”
“After a few attempts, I got a place on the Government Economics Service Fast Stream as an assistant economist. My first Fast Stream post was as a score card analyst and my second post was in the central co-ordination team.”