If you’re considering a career in marketing, you have a lot of options, not to mention some pretty strong earning potential. But before you dive in, you should know that marketing is about a lot more than commercials and billboards. 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 can be your ticket to a wide range of exciting careers in consumer retail, business consultation, public outreach, or brand management. And because marketing is a priority that 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, or 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 degree in marketing could set you on the path to a promising career.
If you already know what you’re looking for, go ahead and jump to our ranking of The 25 Best Online Associate in Marketing Programs or The 20 Best Online Bachelor’s in Marketing Degree Programs.
You might also be interested in checking out the The 50 Best Online Master’s in Marketing Programs.
If you need a little more information, continue on.
Covered in this article:
- What do I need to know about accreditation?
- What kinds of Marketing degrees are there?
- What can I do with a Marketing degree?
- How much can I make with a Marketing degree?
- What Professional Marketing Associations or Societies should I join?
Let’s start with the one thing you absolutely must be sure of before you proceed: accreditation.
What Kind of Accreditation Should My Degree Program Have?
The last thing you want to do is waste time and money on a degree that won’t be taken seriously by future employers. That’s why it is absolutely imperative that you make sure your school has the proper accreditation before you proceed.
As with most other higher education disciplines, accreditation is of critical importance in determining where to obtain a Marketing degree. Program accreditation is granted by accrediting agencies that are formally recognized by the Department of Education. Only accredited colleges or universities are eligible for financial aid. Moreover, accreditation typically indicates that an institution is both maintaining its standards and continuing to advance and remain current within its field. As you proceed in your search, you’ll find both institutional accreditation and program accreditation. The former refers to school-wide accreditation and the latter refers to the accreditation conferred upon your specific discipline and degree program.
Regional Accrediting Agencies
The institutional accrediting sector is divided into regional and national accrediting agencies. Generally, regional accrediting agencies confer greater credibility and merit. When you’re investigating a college or university, you’ll want to look for the “stamp of approval” from one of the following regional accrediting agencies:
- The Higher Learning Commission
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
It is not essential that you complete a degree program with program-specific accreditation. 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. As long as your college or university of choice is recognized by one of these groups, you can be sure that your 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 take a look at the Department of Education’s database of all recognized accreditors.
To learn a little more about navigating the tricky accreditation landscape, check out Accreditation of Colleges and Universities: Who’s Accrediting the Accreditors?
Now that you get the idea, let’s take a look at some of your degree options.
What Kinds of Marketing Degrees Are There?
Associate Degree in Marketing
An associate’s 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 qualify you for immediate work in the field. An associate’s 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’s degree can also give you a jump on completing your bachelor’s degree in marketing or a related field.
What Courses Will I Take?
- Principles of Marketing
- Advertising and Promotions Development
- Principles in Public Relations
- Digital Marketing
- Business Mathematics
- Integrated Marketing Communications
Now that you know what to look for, check out The 25 Best Online Associate in Marketing Programs.
You might also be interested in The 10 Best Online Associate in Entrepreneurship Programs.
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, advertisement 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 degree in marketing, 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 Courses Will I Take?
- Strategies in Marketing Management
- Consumer Behavior
- Applied Microeconomics for Business
- Ethical and Legal Business
- Advertising and Promotion
- Applied Technology for Managers
- International Issues in Business
- Marketing Research
What’s the Difference between a BS in Marketing and a BBA with a Concentration in Marketing?
If you’re interested in a career in marketing, the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) may be a viable alternative. The BBA provides a greater emphasis on core business principles. Here, you’ll develop managerial, communication, and leadership skills. From there, you’ll have the opportunity to choose courses with a concentration in marketing and consumer behavior.
Now that you know a bit more, check out The 20 Best Online Bachelor’s in Marketing Degree Programs.
You might also want to check out The 7 Best Online Bachelor’s in Internet Marketing Programs here.
Master of Marketing
A master’s degree 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 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 degree will put you in a competitive position in a field brimming with well-paying opportunities, including marketing management, public relations, agency representation, or fundraising management
What Courses Will I Take?
- Marketing Strategy and Planning
- Marketing Information Management and Research
- Buyer Behavior Theory
- Global Marketing
- Business Statistics
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- 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 is a popular option if you’re making the transition after recently completing your undergraduate studies.
Now that you know a bit more, check out The 50 Best Online Master’s in Marketing Programs.
We also recommend taking a look at The 15 Best Online Master’s in Internet Marketing Programs.
A Marketing PhD is recommended if you envision a career dedicated to research. Understanding the “why” and “how” behind consumer behavior, brand success, and campaign effectiveness is a complex subject, one that demands constant investigation. If you wish to contribute to this investigation as part of a research institute or university, earning a PhD 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 PhD will also qualify you to contribute research to scholarly journals or teach marketing principles at the university level.
What can I do with a Marketing degree?
Your Marketing degree can be the key to diverse range of career opportunities, from advertising, public relations and sales to research analysis, finance and media relations. Here are a just few of the top careers in your field:
- Advertising Sales Agents
- Insurance Sales Agents
- Market Research Analyst
- Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents
- Sales Engineers
- Securities, Commodities and Financial Services Sales Agents
- Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives
What kind of salary can I earn with a Marketing degree?
A degree in marketing can be a pathway to a highly lucrative career. There are a number of different career opportunities within the scope of marketing, sales, and advertising that offer a particularly high earnings upside. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a few illuminating Mean and Median salaries for relevant careers:
- Sales Managers — Median Pay, 2016: $117,960
- Market Research Analysts — Median Pay, 2016: $62,560
- Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing — Median Pay, 2016: $127,560
- Technical Writers — Mean Pay, 2016: $73,160
- Commercial/Industrial Designers — Mean Pay, 2016: $70,880
- Agents/Managers of Artists, Performers, and Athletes — Mean Pay, 2016: $86,560
- Public Relations and Fundraising Managers — Mean Pay, 2016: $123,360
- Marketing Managers — Mean Pay, 2016: $144,140
Are There Professional Marketing Associations or Societies I 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)
Now that you know what to look for, check out The 25 Best Online Associate in Marketing Programs, The 20 Best Online Bachelor’s in Marketing Degree Programs, or The 50 Best Online Master’s in Marketing Programs and find the best school for you!