Marketing Degree Guide

by Genevieve Carlton
• 6 min read

Marketing graduates can work in many industries and fields. Learn about the various marketing degrees and what careers they can lead to.

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A marketing degree can lead to exciting careers in consumer retail, business consultation, public outreach, and brand management.

In the fast-paced world of marketing, professionals can find employment as market research analysts, marketing specialists, and marketing managers. This versatile major also leads to opportunities in advertising, sales, and public relations. Marketing professionals research consumer demand for products and services, investigate pricing strategies, and build interest in new product releases through social media and advertisements.

This guide explores different types of marketing degrees, plus available career paths and resources for graduates.

What Kinds of Marketing Degrees Are There?

Students can earn marketing degrees at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Many colleges also offer marketing certificates that provide specialized training. Each degree prepares graduates for different marketing degree jobs. For example, marketing specialists typically need bachelor's degrees, while many marketing managers hold master's degrees.

Associate Degree in Marketing

An associate degree in marketing introduces learners to foundational business concepts. Students take courses in business, accounting, and finance, along with classes like strategic marketing and integrated marketing communications.

Earning an online associate degree in marketing takes two years for full-time students. After completing the degree, graduates can transfer to bachelor's programs to advance their education. They can also pursue careers in direct marketing, sales, and administrative support roles.

Bachelor of Marketing Degree

Marketing majors study concepts like pricing strategies, consumer behavior, and competitor research. They also gain business skills through courses in business administration, management, finance, and accounting. Some programs incorporate real-world projects and internships to help strengthen marketing skills.

A bachelor's degree in marketing prepares graduates for many entry-level roles, like marketing specialist and market research analyst. With experience, bachelor's-holders can move into management roles. Earning a bachelor's degree generally takes four years for full-time students.

Learn more about how to find the right bachelor's degree in marketing for you with the following resources:

Featured Online Marketing Degree Programs

Master's Degree in Marketing

A master's degree in marketing offers advanced training in marketing research, strategic marketing, and marketing management. During a graduate program in marketing, students strengthen their analytical and research skills. Depending on the program, they may also complete internships to develop practical experience. Graduates can pursue careers as marketing managers, social media managers, and internet marketing managers.

Earning a master's in marketing typically takes two years, though some programs offer an accelerated option in which students can complete the degree in less time. In addition to online master's in marketing programs, graduate students should consider master's in internet marketing and dual master's degree programs.

What's the Difference Between a Master's Degree in Marketing and an MBA with a Concentration in Marketing?

A master's degree in marketing and a master of business administration (MBA) with a concentration in marketing both prepare graduates for supervisory positions in marketing department and agencies. However, a master's in marketing emphasizes marketing research and management, while an MBA focuses more on general business and leadership skills.

Students considering an MBA can research online MBA programs with no GMAT requirement.

Doctoral Degree in Marketing

A doctorate in marketing prepares graduates for the most advanced roles in the field. For example, marketing professors typically need doctorates before they can pursue tenure-track roles. Senior marketing executives and market researchers can also benefit from earning doctorates in marketing.

During an online doctoral program in marketing, graduate students specialize in areas like consumer psychology, pricing strategy, or business marketing research. After meeting coursework requirements, learners must pass comprehensive exams and complete original research projects or dissertations. Doctoral candidates must successfully defend their dissertations to graduate. Earning a doctorate can take 4-7 years.

Certificates in Marketing

A certificate in marketing typically focuses on a marketing specialty. For example, students can earn certificates in digital marketing or strategic marketing. Many professionals pursue certificates to add specializations to their training or help them transition into new fields. Some certificates require prior professional marketing experience or a bachelor's degree in marketing.

Earning an online marketing certificate can take several months or over a year, depending on the program. After completing a certificate, marketing professionals can move into specialized roles, like digital marketing specialist or social media specialist.

Careers in Marketing

A marketing degree prepares graduates for roles in marketing, advertising, public relations, and sales. Marketing majors work for marketing firms, advertising agencies, and public relations agencies. They also work as marketing managers and supervisors.

Below, you'll find more information about the job duties, earning potential, and projected job growth rates for common marketing degree jobs. In addition to these marketing careers, graduates can pursue opportunities in event planning, project management, media planning, and search engine optimization.

What Kind of Marketing Degree Jobs Are There?

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers
Median Salary (2019): $135,900 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 6%

Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers develop and implement promotional strategies for their organizations. They identify trends in consumer demand, make suggestions for the development of new products, and create pricing strategies to maximize profits. They also identify new markets for their organizations.

Sales Managers
Median Salary (2019): $126,640 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 4%

Sales managers oversee a team of sales professionals. They develop policies for the sales team, set goals, and analyze data to find opportunities for improvement. Sales managers also create training and reward programs for their sales teams.

Public Relations and Fundraising Managers
Median Salary: $116,180 Projected Job Growth: 9%

Public relations and fundraising managers oversee an organization's public image and its fundraising strategies. They manage a team of specialists, set public relations or fundraising goals, and report to top executives on the progress and outcomes of their campaigns.

Top Executives
Median Salary: $104,690 Projected Job Growth: 4%

Top executives create long-term development strategies for their organizations. They may work as general managers, organizational managers, CEOs, CFOs, or chief marketing officers. Top executives work with other executives and managers to identify areas for growth and to implement new policies.

Sales Engineers
Median Salary: $103,900 Projected Job Growth: 6%

Sales engineers market scientific or technological products directly to businesses. They explain how products and services work, recommend upgrades, and help research new products.

Technical Writers
Median Salary: $72,850 Projected Job Growth: 7%

Technical writers create documents to help users operate technical equipment or understand technical information. They may create instruction manuals and guides for consumers or write technical documents for internal use within an organization.

Market Research Analysts
Median Salary: $63,790 Projected Job Growth: 18%

Market research analysts collect and analyze data to determine consumer demand for products, potential sales for a new service, and pricing strategies. They measure interest in new products and help companies increase their market shares.

Public Relations Specialists
Median Salary: $61,150 Projected Job Growth: 7%

Public relations specialists are in charge of brand image for their employers. They develop a public relations strategy, manage social media programs, and write media releases to build positive public perception of their organization.

Accreditation for Marketing Programs

Prospective marketing majors should research accreditation before applying to marketing programs. Regionally accredited schools meet high standards for educational excellence. Many employers only hire graduates with accredited marketing degrees, and professional certifications may also require an accredited degree.

Some marketing programs also hold programmatic accreditation, usually through the business school. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business grants accreditation to business programs, including marketing programs.

Frequently Asked Questions

true Is a Career in Marketing Stressful?

Marketing can be a fast-paced career with long hours. As a result, some find a career in marketing stressful. However, others find that it is an exciting career path.

Is a Marketing Degree a BA or BS?

Marketing majors can earn a BA or a BS in marketing, depending on their school and program. Typically, a BA includes more foreign language, humanities, and social science courses, while a BS includes more math and natural science courses.

Does Marketing Pay Well?

Many careers in marketing pay above-average salaries. Market research analysts earned a median pay of nearly $64,000 per year in 2019, while marketing managers took home a median annual income of nearly $136,000.

Are Marketing Majors in Demand?

Many marketing jobs report strong demand. BLS data projects that employment for market research analysts and marketing managers will grow at faster-than-average rates between 2019-2029.

What Is a Marketing Degree Good For?

Marketing majors can use their analytical and research skills to pursue careers in business, sales, public relations, advertising, and marketing.

Is Marketing a Good Career Choice?

Careers in marketing report above-average salaries and strong projected job growth rates, making marketing a strong career choice. Many entry-level positions require a bachelor's degree in marketing.

Header Image Credit: PeopleImages | Getty Images

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