Marketing is more important than ever. With the proliferation of social media and mobile web technology, companies have more ways to reach consumers than ever before. A marketing degree can place you on the inside of that process. Whether you’re earning an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s in marketing, your education can prepare you for several lucrative careers. As you earn your marketing degree, you’ll learn about sales, promotions, and product placement. But you’ll also learn how human behavior impacts marketing decisions, how cultural factors shape ad campaigns, and how data can be leveraged to power successful marketing.
A marketing degree involves the study of business, commerce, marketing theory, networking, and a wide range of marketing strategies and methods, with the goal of putting your organization’s product or service in the hands of consumers. A marketing degree can be your ticket to a wide range of exciting careers in consumer retail, business consultation, public outreach, or brand management. Because marketing permeates nearly every sector, both public and private, this could be a great way to work in any number of industries from health care, real estate and higher education to public policy, professional sports, and entertainment.
Whether you’re looking for entry–level work producing ad copy, or you see yourself presiding over a power team of sales professionals, a marketing degree could set you on the path to a promising career.
What Kind of Accreditation Should My Degree Program Have?
Accreditation is the process by which colleges and universities are evaluated and validated. Colleges and universities that have earned accreditation have met the standards set by accrediting organizations. These organizations are comprised of faculty from various accredited colleges and universities. Legitimate regional and national accrediting organizations are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Typically, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes the same institutions, although CHEA recognition isn’t mandatory. A college or university must be accredited by a Department of Education-recognized accreditor in order for its students to receive federal financial aid.
For a detailed look at the differences between regional and national accreditation, check out What Do I Need to Know About College Accreditation?
- What is Regional Accreditation?
- Regional accreditation is the signifier of quality education; this includes the currency of curriculum, credentials of educators, and credibility of degrees. Regional accrediting agencies only accredit institutions in their geographical area.
- The Six Regional Accrediting Agencies
- Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE)
- New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE)
- The Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
- WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
To find out if a college or university on your list is regionally accredited, check the Department of Education’s Database of Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.
- What Is National Accreditation?
- National accreditation is often perceived as a less rigorous standard than regional accreditation and is governed by educational accreditors agencies that are not restricted by region or geography. This means that one such agency can provide accreditation to any college or university in the U.S. that meets its criteria. National accreditation is commonplace among trade schools, religious schools, and for–profit colleges.
Most regionally–accredited colleges do not accept or recognize credits or degrees earned from colleges that lack regional accreditation. However, national accreditation may be a useful indicator of quality for students pursuing vocational training, competency-based education, or other education models that operate under a for-profit model.
To learn more about National Accreditation, check out Understanding National Accreditation.
For help safely navigating the For–Profit Sector, check out our Guide to For–Profit Colleges: What You Need to Know.
- What is Programmatic Accreditation?
- Programmatic accreditation certifies that an institution’s program, department, or college has met the standards of the programmatic accrediting agency. While programmatic accreditation agencies often have national jurisdiction, programmatic accreditation is not institutional national accreditation. In fact, programmatic accreditation often coexists with regional accreditation. In some disciplines, a degree with programmatic accreditation may even be required to earn a license or enter professional practice.
Marketing is not one of these disciplines. There are no requisite national accreditors for marketing degree programs. This is why it’s so important to look for a stamp of approval from one of the regional accrediting associations listed above. If your college or university of choice is recognized by one of these groups, you can be sure that your marketing degree program holds up to certain standards of quality and credibility.
The easiest way to determine accreditation status is to contact your school of choice. You can also look at the Department of Education’s database of all recognized accreditors within its purview.
To learn a little more about navigating the tricky accreditation landscape, check out: Accreditation of Colleges and Universities: Who’s Accrediting the Accreditors?
What Kinds of Marketing Degrees Are There?
Certificate in Marketing
A certificate is a quick way to get started with your career in marketing. Whether you want to get into the job market, or you need a stepping–stone to an associate or bachelor’s program, a certificate in marketing can help you on your way. In a certificate program, you’ll be introduced to the basic foundations of marketing, including entrepreneurship, advertising, consumer behavior, and marketing management. A certificate in marketing could lead to an entry–level job in retail, marketing, accounting, or management. If you are planning to follow up your certificate with a degree program, you may be able to transfer credits from your certificate program.
Associate Degree in Marketing
An associate degree in marketing will come with a basic introduction to the principles of marketing, modes of advertising, and the way that consumers behave. You’ll also learn how to produce ad copy, create marketing campaigns, and employ social media marketing strategies. This 60–credit program will typically take two years to complete and can enable you to immediately work in the field. An associate degree will qualify you to work in retail sales at the managerial level, as a market research assistant, or as a digital marketer. Digital marketing is a particularly accessible avenue for employment and can provide you with valuable entry–level experience. An associate degree can also give you a jump on completing your bachelor’s degree in marketing or a related field.
What Marketing Courses Will I Take in an Associate Program?
- Advertising and Promotions Development
- Business Mathematics
- Digital Marketing
- Integrated Marketing Communications
- Marketing Analytics
- Marketing Plan Development
- Principles of Marketing
- Principles in Public Relations
Bachelor of Marketing
A bachelor’s degree in marketing can prepare you for a wide range of careers in sales, promotions, public relations, advertising, or brand management. This 120–credit program will usually require a minimum of four years. In addition to an introductory education in the principles of marketing, advertising, and consumer behavior, you’ll learn the basics of business administration, including organizational management, communications, and strategic planning. You’ll also likely participate in a capstone project, which will usually involve a collaborative exercise in brand management or campaign development. Once you’ve earned your bachelor’s marketing degree, you’ll qualify to work as a marketing manager, a market research analyst, or an ad sales manager, to name just a few of your many options. A bachelor’s degree in marketing will also qualify you to pursue either a master’s degree in marketing or an MBA with a concentration in marketing.
What Marketing Courses Will I Take in a Bachelor’ Program?
- Advertising and Promotion
- Applied Microeconomics for Business
- Applied Technology for Managers
- Consumer Behavior
- Ethical and Legal Business
- International Issues in Business
- Marketing Research
- Strategies in Marketing Management
Master’s in Marketing
A master’s in marketing will typically take two years to complete. This serves as an opportunity to gain a greater depth of knowledge in your chosen concentration. Much of your graduate marketing degree program will be dedicated to your own research endeavor, which could address brand management, campaign development, market analysis, or any number of related areas. Other popular subjects include global marketing, social media management, and public relations. In addition to completing your research thesis, you’ll be expected to gain work experience through an internship. A master’s in marketing will put you in a competitive position in a field brimming with well–paying opportunities, including marketing management, public relations, agency representation, and fundraising management
What Marketing Courses Will I Take in a Master’s Program?
- Business Statistics
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- Buyer Behavior Theory
- Global Marketing
- Marketing Information Management and Research
- Marketing Strategy and Planning
- Organizational Behavior
What’s the Difference Between an MS in Marketing and an MBA with a Concentration in Marketing?
The master of business administration (MBA) is a popular alternative to the master of science (MS) in marketing. With an MBA, your graduate studies will offer a broad overview of business and provide the opportunity to pursue a focus in marketing. This is a good option if you’ve already accumulated some professional experience in the field and are seeking to expand your knowledge and credentials. The MS marketing degree is a popular option if you’re making the transition after recently completing your undergraduate studies.
A marketing Ph.D. is recommended if you envision a career dedicated to research. You’ll study the factors that drive consumer behavior, explore the reasons that brands are successful, and learn how to campaign effectively. If you wish to contribute to research on these subjects as part of an institute, think tank or university, earning a Ph.D. in marketing is your best bet. You’ll dedicate between four and seven years to this endeavor, and much of this will be spent conducting research with the support of a mentor. Your Ph.D. will also qualify you to contribute research to scholarly journals or teach marketing principles at the university level.
What Can You Do With a Marketing Degree?
If you are wondering, “What can I do with a marketing degree?” there are plenty of options. Your marketing degree can be the key to a diverse range of career opportunities from advertising, public relations, and sales to research analysis, finance, and media relations. Here are just a few of the top careers in your field:
- Advertising Sales Agents
- Insurance Sales Agents
- Market Research Analysts
- Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents
- Sales Engineers
- Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents
- Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives
Of course, those are just the tip of the iceberg. For more jobs related to marketing, business, and finance, check out The 60 Best Entry Level Jobs.
What Kind of Salary Can You Earn With a Marketing Degree?
A marketing degree can be a pathway to a highly lucrative career. There are several different career opportunities within the scope of marketing, sales, and advertising that offer a particularly high earnings upside. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides median salaries for relevant careers as of 2018:
|Advertising Sales Agents||$51,740|
|Public Relations Specialists||$60,000|
|Market Research Analysts||$63,120|
|Agents/Business Managers of Artists, Performers, and Athletes||$90,930|
|Public Relations and Fundraising Managers||$114,800|
|Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers||$132,620|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Are There Professional Marketing Associations or Societies You Should Join?
Professional associations are a fantastic way to make connections in your field, learn about valuable seminars or certifications, and improve your own credentials. The association or associations you choose to join will depend to an extent on the career path you take. Look for marketing associations that correspond with your academic or professional concentration.
- American Advertising Federation (AAF)
- American Marketing Association (AMA)
- Marketing Research Association (MRA)
- Marketing Education Association (MEA)
- Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS)