How to Become a Public Finance Economist

If you enjoy dealing with finance in the public sector, or its application to politics, you might enjoy being a public finance economist. These professionals work with the study of trends in public spending, including its relation to local and federal politics and the social sciences. Public finance economists study the financial markets, including bank and interest rates, the trends in the economy bases on economic principles and politics, and attempt to predict what will happen next based on these studies.


How to Become a Public Finance Economist

Get a four-year degree in economics and/or math and statistics

Someone who goes into this field should be an expert in math, economics, and should be highly analytical in their thinking. The ability to apply theory to real world situation is important. You should be able to think on both a local and global scale, in terms of what the financial indicators show may happen in the future. For this reason, you should be able to think outside the box and watch for subtle changes in the economy that may indicate changes on the horizon. A public finance economist usually deals primarily with how the economy affects the public sector, such as individual spending and bank interest rates, but some may also work in the private sector, with big corporations.

Typical Education

The typical public finance economist holds a four-year (Bachelor’s degree) in economics, or a combination of economics and math. In addition, you may have electives in social sciences, applied science, or other liberal arts coursework.

Bachelor's Degree
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
It is good for an economist to have a broad education, due to the various contexts in which his expertise may be called for. Once the Bachelor’s degree is acquired, it is also good to pursue an upper level graduate degree to continue your education into a higher level. More education in the field makes you more of an expert and may gain more respect for you in the field.

Steps to Becoming a Public Finance Economist

If you think you have the math and economics ability, you may want to pursue a career in this area. It takes someone who is highly analytical in their thinking, serious-minded, and whom others consider above the crowd in terms of their ability to predict outcomes based on trends and data. To become a public finance economist, follow these general steps to get started:

1) Get a four-year degree in economics and/or math and statistics. Both the study of economics, as well as math is important in this field and you should be equally proficient in both. Many students get the major degree in economics and minor in math. This is one route you could take. The important thing is to focus on both areas and be able to apply them, because they are interrelated once you start working in this field.

2) Get experience in financial or economic-related jobs. Even if you work in a bank, this is valuable experience in the financial arena. You could also volunteer to be on the budgeting committee of your local town, school, or civic organization. This will build skills you can use later as an economics expert and you can add these to your portfolio or resume of experience.

3) Get an advanced degree. Though not absolutely required to become a public finance economist, since the field is so specialized, the more education you have, the more credibility you may obtain as an expert in this field.

4) Become an expert advisor. You will be advising numerous people of what you predict or think they should do in very important financial situations. So become an excellent advisor by learning to listen to what your clients need and using your skills and data to help them make the most informed choices.

5) Decide in which arena you would like to work. Some financial economists work in the public sector, while others work with private enterprise, government, or other arenas. While the public finance economist usually works in public environments, like city government, banking, or financial institutions, it is possible for you to take your expertise and apply it to a wide variety of other opportunities.

A public finance economist primarily works in the public sector and studies such indicators as bank and interest rates, how the value of goods and services fluctuates, supply and demand, and consumer response to the changes over time. This allows them to predict with some certainty what will happen in the near future, and apply their data to both short-term and long-term situations. They are seen as an expert in economics and finance and someone who can help them make informed decisions in public policy, economic trends, and the future. With a degree in finance or economics, there are many opportunities to explore. Start with a degree from a college of your choice by filling out our form. A great education starts with one small step.