The 15 Best Online Certificate in Marketing Programs
| TBS Staff
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An online marketing certificate can prepare you for entry-level roles with above-average salaries. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that advertising sales agents — a popular position pursued by marketing certificate holders — earned a median salary of $49,680 in 2017. This figure was nearly $12,000 more than the median salary in the U.S. in 2017. A marketing certificate can also serve as a steppingstone toward an undergraduate degree. Many schools allow you to apply credits earned during a certificate program to meet associate or bachelor’s degree requirements.
Accredited Online Schools
Online Certificate in Marketing Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected these accredited online certificate in marketing programs based on the quality of the program, types of courses provided, faculty strength, school awards, rankings and reputation, including the reputation for providing online degree programs.
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The value of any ranking list of schools and/or degree programs depends on having a methodologically sound assessment of each school’s/program’s characteristics, especially insofar as these can be objectively measured. A college or university is a complex entity, with numerous factors to consider, and distilling these down to the place where meaningful comparisons can be made to form a defensible ranking list becomes part science and part art.
To meet this challenge—and thereby provide you with the most useful and insightful educational rankings on the Internet — TheBestSchools.org formulates our rankings based on five informational categories (six, when considering online schools). The major metrics and qualities for which we rank are these (with expanded, detailed considerations and weights listed):
1. Academic excellence based on a school’s curriculum generally or within the selected discipline [weight = 25%]
- Weighs school against known leading schools in that discipline
- Weighs number of core curricula listed as advanced courses within that discipline and compares against introductory courses
- Weighs school’s curriculum against known knowledge needs of major employers in that discipline
- Considers number and types of specializations offered within that discipline
- Considers faculty expertise in that discipline
- Considers range of electives within that discipline
- Considers quality of online environment offered to students (if applicable), particularly within that discipline
2. Strength of faculty scholarship [weight = 25%]
- Considers education background of the faculty
- Considers years of faculty experience both inside and outside of academia.
- Considers faculty membership and leadership within relevant, prominent associations
- Considers academic papers published by faculty in relevant, prominent periodicals
- Considers awards and recognitions given to faculty members from prominent organizations and from other sources
3. Reputation [weight = 20%]
- Considers a school’s reputation among academic peers and employers regarding the following:
- “Freshness” of academic knowledge
- Adaptability to changes in employment sectors
- Suitability of graduates for the workplace
4. Financial aid [weight = 10%]
- Mandatory: Requires full accreditation from an agency endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and listed on the federal register to accept student federal financial aid
- Considers range of school-sponsored financial aid such as scholarships and grants
5. Range of degree programs [weight = 20%]
- Considers range of degree levels: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral and professional
- Considers range of degree subjects offered, such as art & design, computers & technology, education & teaching, criminal justice, and business
6. Strength of online instruction methodology (if applicable) [weight = 25%; subtract 5% from each of the above for online schools/programs]
Considers the following of the online classes:
- Types of online technology used to deliver content
- Pedagogy style: asynchronous, synchronous, or both (depending on the degree)
- Extent and quality of the online, community learning environment, including options for communication, interactivity, and collaboration between students and also between students and instructors
- Variety, breadth, and depth of coursework, and its support, including project options and online tutoring
Considers the following of instructors:
- Extent of training for teaching within an online learning environment
- Amount of timely, consistent feedback to students
- Extent of collaboration with prospective employers to ensure suitability of instructional materials for achieving desired skills
- Ratio to number of students in a class
- Number and quality of internships in a student’s geographical area for applicable degrees
Because students tend to review a variety of information when choosing a school, the weight a student gives any one criterion will vary. For instance, it’s not enough to offer a carefully constructed ranking of great schools if many are too expensive or too difficult to get into.
To better serve the needs of prospective students, we are therefore increasingly offering filters that help you better use our rankings to find the schools that match your specific needs. These supplement our ranking criteria and include:
- Public or private status
- Acceptance rate
- Retention rate
- Graduation rate
- ACT/SAT requirements
- Cost in-state / out of state
- Undergrad, grad, or both offered
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If you have any questions about our ranking methodology, please contact us.
Citations: For a broader account of our ranking methodology, especially as it relates to TheBestSchools.org's underlying educational philosophy and, in other ranking articles, looks beyond academic excellence (as here) to such factors as return on investment or incidental benefit, see our article "Ranking Methodology: How We Rank Schools at TBS." Reputation of schools and degree programs can at least in part be gauged through the school or department's publishing activity, citations, and desirability. At TheBestSchools.org, we keep track of such social and peer validation: "Making Sense of College Rankings." For nuts-and-bolts information about colleges and universities, we look to the National Center for Education Statistics and especially its College Navigator. Insofar as salary and inflation data are relevant to a ranking, we look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, nothing beats contacting schools and degree programs directly, which our researchers often do, with the result that all the entries in this article should be considered as belonging to this citation!
The Best Online Certificate in Marketing Degree Programs
Ferris serves more than 14,000 students annually. The school’s distance education offerings include an online marketing certificate that emphasizes concepts and practical applications related to database-driven direct marketing. The certificate program explores direct marketing as both an overall business model and as an aspect of marketing communications, covering topics in planning, promotion, merchandising, fulfillment, and customer service. Other topics featured throughout the curriculum include strategic business planning, business-to-consumer offers, turnkey catalog operations, direct marketing math, and media planning.
Certificate holders often pursue entry-level positions with advertising and marketing agencies or continue their studies to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree. The certificate program uses a fully online, asynchronous format, meaning students can access their coursework any time of day through the school’s online learning platform. Students must complete all required courses with a minimum 2.0 GPA in order to earn the certificate.
One of the seven members of the University of Maine System, UMM ranks among the smaller colleges in the state, enrolling around 800 students annually. The school hosts several distance education programs, including one of the best online marketing certificate programs in the state. The 18-credit certificate in marketing requires a total of six courses, including five core courses and one elective.
The certificate core covers major topics in marketing and entrepreneurship, advertising, personal selling, consumer behavior, and marketing management. Students can choose one of three courses to fulfill the elective requirement: marketing channels, marketing for nonprofit organizations, or marketing research. UMM offers a special “Mainers in exile” tuition rate that allows former in-state students who reside outside of Maine to pay the in-state tuition rate.
Operating multiple campuses around Macomb County in Michigan, MCC offers several online options for marketing students, including a certificate in marketing and a skill specific e-marketing certificate. Marketing courses available at the college include business enterprise, small business marketing, sports and entertainment marketing, and professional selling, making the certificates widely applicable to an assortment of industries.
Students who complete the marketing certificate program can apply their credits toward an associate degree in business management. MCC’s articulation agreements with several four-year colleges throughout Michigan also make it possible to transfer credits toward a bachelor’s in business, marketing, or a related field. Online students also receive support from the school’s career services center, which can connect graduates to job and internship opportunities. MCC provides affordable tuition rates as well, with 80% of students graduating without any student debt.
A major public college, OTC serves more than 15,000 students, with nearly half enrolled in at least one online course. The school’s 30-credit online marketing certificate explores foundational topics in accounting, business, marketing, communications, and management. Students also select one elective course in a related area, such as microeconomics, advertising, or consumer psychology.
Graduates of the certificate program often pursue entry-level work in retail, marketing, accounting, or management. Students may also apply their credits toward the school’s 61-credit associate of applied science in business and marketing degree. Those who wish to transfer to a bachelor’s program at a four-year college should contact outside institutions to determine their specific credit transfer requirements. OTC offers a variety of student services for online learners, including career employment services, writing tutoring, library resources, and testing services.
Founded in 1946 as Maryland’s first community college, HCC offers students one of the top marketing certificate programs online. The school’s certificate in management marketing option requires a total of 18 credits, building foundational skills in marketing that students can apply to professional work or further academic study. The certificate includes six courses covering business communication, macroeconomic principles, information technology, principles of management, and marketing.
The entire certificate curriculum uses a fully online format with an asynchronous delivery mode, enabling students to complete coursework at any time of day without ever visiting the school’s Hagerstown campus. While the program requires no set login times, candidates must still meet deadlines for submitting assignments. Students who complete the certificate program can apply their credits toward HCC’s associate in applied science in marketing degree.
Serving more than 12,000 students each year, MCCC operates a sizeable online program. The school’s 30-credit online marketing certificate emphasizes communication skills and fundamental marketing concepts, with a curriculum designed for both working professionals and students new to the business world. Comprising a total of 10 courses, the certificate curriculum explores major topics such as ethical decision making in business, advertising and promotion, personal sales management, and digital marketing.
Students can also complete an optional three-credit internship, performing supervised work in a professional marketing setting. The internship Typically, requires about 15 hours per week, and online learners can intern at local organizations in their own community. Those who complete the certificate can also apply their course credits toward MCCC’s associate degree in management, which Typically, takes just one additional year to complete.
A member of the expansive North Carolina Community College System, PCC hosts a substantial distance program that offers online marketing courses with certificates. The college’s business administration: marketing certificate builds foundational knowledge in marketing and retailing, training students to produce marketing plans, create advertisements, prepare sales presentations, and create product and logo designs. Students complete an 18-credit curriculum that includes six courses, covering the fundamentals of selling, marketing research, advertising and sales promotions, and office software applications.
Ideal for working students, the program uses a fully online, asynchronous format that makes it easy to balance classwork with professional obligations. Marketing certificate candidates at PCC can join the school’s chapter of DECA, a student organization focused on marketing and entrepreneurship. DECA members take advantage of professional support and development opportunities, joining a community of marketing students and businesses leaders.
Through a partnership with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, SCC is the country’s only public two-year college located on Native American land. The school serves more than 10,000 students annually through its on-campus and online programs, including a certificate of completion in marketing.
Students pursuing this 18-credit digital marketing certificate online complete six courses, including five core courses and one elective. The program core explores fundamental topics in business and marketing through courses in the principles of sales, advertising principles, the principles of marketing, and computer usage and applications.
Students can choose between several courses to fulfill the elective component, including human relations in business, marketing and social networking, merchandising, and introduction to public relations. Certificate holders often find work in retail, professional sales, entrepreneurship, and wholesaling. Many students also go on to complete SCC’s associate of applied science in marketing and sales.
A member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, DCTC offers technical and professional education through both its main campus and a distance education program that hosts one of the state’s best online marketing certificate programs.
The school’s marketing communications specialist certificate explores the foundations of marketing and professional communications, training students in the strategies and tools used to reach consumers. The 28-credit curriculum includes a total of 10 courses, covering topics in public relations, digital marketing tools, marketing research, and marketing communications writing.
Preparing graduates for professional success, the program includes a one-credit portfolio and interviewing course in which students compile a professional portfolio, develop interview skills, and hone their resume and cover letters. The certificate also feeds into DCTC’s associate programs in marketing or business marketing specialist, each of which require an additional 32 credits.
A public college, TESU emphasizes self-directed learning, offering a substantial online program designed for working students. The school’s 18-credit online marketing certificate offers a broad overview of the field in a fully online format.
The program splits its curriculum evenly between three required core courses and three electives. The certificate core covers topics in marketing, market research, and marketing communications. Electives offer the chance to explore a variety of related topics, including advertising, channels of distribution, marketing management strategy, sales management, and principles of sales.
All courses use an asynchronous format with no designated login times, which makes it easy for working students to complete coursework while maintaining a job. The certificate curriculum also segues seamlessly into TESU’s bachelor of science in business administration in marketing, with all certificate credits counting toward the degree.
Part of the Technical College System of Georgia, GPTC ranks among the top providers of technical and professional education in the state, serving students across four counties. The school boasts an over 99% job placement rate for its graduates. In addition to several on-campus marketing certificates, the college also offers an online diploma in marketing management.
The 43-credit marketing diploma explores the field in depth, covering topics in advertising, marketing research, retailing, selling, and consumer behavior. The diploma offers three specialization options in entrepreneurship, marketing management, or retail operations, with nine credits dedicated to specialization courses. Students can also participate in an optional three-credit practicum or internship experience. The program takes most students 54 weeks to complete. Program graduates often find work in green marketing, sales management, and advertising and promotions management.
Normandale enrolls more than 10,000 students annually. The school’s online marketing certificate offers a general overview of marketing principles, either as an independent certificate or the first part of an associate degree. Requiring 18 credits, the program includes six courses that cover major topics, such as social media marketing, information technology concepts, the legal environment of business, and professional selling.
Certificate students gain a versatile skill set applicable to many areas of business or to further academic study. The program serves the needs of working students, with a fully online delivery format and asynchronous courses that enable distance learners to complete assignments at their own pace.
One of the largest community colleges in Minnesota, NHCC also offers one of the best online marketing certificate programs in the state. The school’s marketing and sales certificate builds a foundation in marketing along with general business skills, such as communication, teamwork, and leadership. Students also gain the specialized skills necessary to prepare market research data and analyze marketing communications. Requiring a total of 14 credits, the program includes four courses: consumer behavior, advertising and sales promotion, professional sales and management, and principles of marketing.
While NHCC offers courses online, certificate candidates must complete a four-credit course on campus as part of a required residency component. Students can work with the college to determine the most convenient time to complete their residency requirement. All credits earned through the certificate apply to many of the school’s associate degree programs, including the associate of applied science in marketing.
A two-year college, DCB offers an affordable, fully online marketing certificate for working students. The 31-credit advertising and marketing certificate trains students to develop consumer audiences and build relationships between businesses and consumers. The program requires two semesters to complete and includes a total of 11 courses, covering topics in management, entrepreneurship, public relations, business communications, and the principles of retailing.
Certificate students often pursue entry-level positions in advertising, communications, publicity, fundraising, and a variety of other fields. Alternately, students can apply their credits toward DCB’s associate of applied science in advertising and marketing, which requires just one additional year of coursework. DCB also maintains transfer agreements with many four-year colleges in the state, making it easy to move from the associate program into a bachelor’s in business or marketing.
NTC provides professional and technical training to students of all backgrounds, including two online sales and marketing programs: an 18-credit certificate and a 32-credit diploma. The certificate trains students to devise and implement marketing strategies and prepare small business plans, equipping graduates with the skills needed for entry-level positions in the field. Students complete six courses, including principles of marketing, retail management, and e-marketing.
The diploma features a more extensive curriculum, covering topics in business communications, advanced professional selling, and customer relations management. The program includes most certificate courses along with advanced courses, such as customer relations management and financial information for life. Students can apply credits earned in both the certificate and diploma programs toward NTC’s associate of applied science in either business or sales marketing and management.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Certificate in Marketing Program?
- Digital Marketing
- This concentration introduces students to new technologies and approaches in the digital marketing space. Coursework covers topics like email marketing, marketing for mobile applications, search engine optimization, paid search marketing strategies, analytics, and social media marketing. After earning a digital marketing certificate online, graduates can assume entry-level roles in many industries.
- Digital Marketing Assistant
- Digital Content Coordinator
- Business Marketing
- This concentration integrates foundational business topics into a more general marketing curriculum. For example, students may learn how to conduct market research to identify the appropriate price and distribution strategies for a good or service. In addition to entry-level jobs, this certificate can help prepare learners to pursue an undergraduate degree in business administration.
- Junior Market Research Analyst
- Business Marketing Associate
- Nonprofit Marketing
- Students taking the concentration develop marketing skills applicable to the nonprofit sector. They may learn how to engage volunteers, reach new audiences through fundraising appeals, and market their nonprofit’s services to members of the community. Students also learn to leverage earned media and use low-cost marketing tools.
- Marketing and Communications Coordinator
- External Relations Associate
Curriculum for an Online Certificate in Marketing
The exact curriculum covered by a marketing certificate program varies depending on the school; however, the five classes listed below represent common foundational courses popular among these programs.
- Principles of Marketing
- In this course, students receive an overview of core marketing concepts. Specific topics may include buyer behavior, market segmentation, marketing and branding strategies, and services marketing. As learners explore these subjects, they develop a basic understanding of exchange relationships and how these compare with communal relationships.
- Consumer Buying Behavior
- Building on introductory coursework, students in this class examine the science of how consumers behave and how marketers can leverage an understanding of this behavior to better sell products or convey ideas. This course touches on subjects like memory and learning, social class and income, and cultural influences on consumer behavior.
- Integrated Marketing Communications
- This communications class teaches students to ensure consistent messaging of an organization’s brand across several channels by using various marketing tools and best practices.
- Internet and Digital Marketing
- The internet represents the most powerful marketing platform in the modern world, and marketing professionals must understand its strengths and limitations to succeed. In this course, students explore internet revenue models, business-to-business and business-to-consumer digital marketing strategies, and methods to develop and maintain an effective web presence.
- International Marketing
- This course serves as an introduction to global marketing for learners who aspire to work at an international company. Students learn how cultural differences affect marketing strategies, what laws and regulations shape the flow of information around the world, and how approaches to market segmentation and targeting differ in various regions.
Choosing an Online Certificate in Marketing Program
Many schools offer marketing certificate programs online, although the length of these programs varies. Generally speaking, programs consist of 10-15 credits, and most students can earn their certificate in about one year.
Some programs feature self-paced classes that allow students to advance through course material once they demonstrate mastery of a subject. Students with previously completed college-level coursework in marketing or those who hold relevant professional experience can move through self-paced programs quickly to earn a certificate.
However, before enrolling in a self-paced program, make sure to speak with an admissions counselor or faculty advisor. An advisor can offer guidance about managing stress and avoiding burnout when completing coursework at your own pace. Many students ultimately prefer learning alongside their fellow classmates rather than working through the material alone.Return to the top
Careers with a Certificate in Marketing
Even the best online marketing certificate programs only prepare graduates for entry-level roles. Additionally, most jobs in marketing and communications require a bachelor’s degree. However, this does not mean that a marketing diploma represents a bad investment. Beyond demonstrating your basic understanding of marketing practices, a certificate can also help you continue your education and earn a more advanced degree.
Earning an online marketing certificate qualifies you to take on a junior position selling advertising space for a newspaper, website, or event venue. Alternatively, you can help manage the social media presence of a nonprofit organization or small business. Individuals who continue and earn a bachelor’s degree may ultimately qualify for marketing positions at larger companies. However, no matter what path you choose, jobs in marketing require strong analytical, communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills.
- Advertising Sales Agent
- Advertising sales agents arrange for the sale of advertising space in various forms of media. Most roles require at least a high school diploma, although coursework in marketing can give you a competitive advantage over other candidates.
- Median Annual Salary: $49,680
- Projected Growth Rate: -4%
- Marketing Manager
- Marketing managers use their understanding of consumers to set prices, find new markets, and create promotional strategies. Most managers hold a bachelor’s degree, and an online marketing certificate can help you work towards this requirement.
- Median Annual Salary: $129,380
- Projected Growth Rate: 10%
- Public Relations Specialist
- Public relations specialists help organizations maintain a positive public image by working with members of the media or communicating directly with the public. These professionals Typically, need at least a bachelor’s degree.
- Median Annual Salary: $59,300
- Projected Growth Rate: 9%
- By organizing events and campaigns, fundraisers help generate revenue and awareness for nonprofit organizations. Employers generally prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree, although prior fundraising success may matter more than educational qualifications.
- Median Annual Salary: $55,640
- Projected Growth Rate: 15%
- Market Research Analyst
- Market research analysts study market data to learn more about what customers want and need. These analysts Typically, need to hold a bachelor’s degree, and some positions even require a graduate degree.
- Median Annual Salary: $63,230
- Projected Growth Rate: 23%
Educational Paths for Graduates of Marketing Certificate Programs
Students can often apply credits from online marketing courses towards a bachelor’s degree, unlocking the potential for a significantly higher salary. For example, marketing managers — who need to hold a bachelor’s degree or higher — earned a median salary of almost $130,000 in 2017.
- Bachelor’s in Marketing
- A bachelor’s in marketing provides a deeper exploration of the subjects covered in a certificate program. These four-year programs Typically, feature general education coursework in addition to foundational classes in business administration.
- Bachelor’s in Advertising
- A bachelor’s in advertising covers many of the same topics as a marketing degree, although it may also feature classes in advertising research and media planning. Students may also need to create an advertising portfolio.
- Bachelor’s in Public Relations
- Undergraduate students majoring in public relations learn to use social media and work with traditional media outlets to maintain an organization’s public image. Students often need to complete an internship or capstone project to demonstrate their understanding of key concepts.
- Bachelor’s in Communication
- A bachelor’s in communication prepares students for a variety of careers. For example, students interested in employee communication can pursue positions in human resources, while others can seek out jobs in the media.
- Bachelor’s in Journalism
- Students pursuing a bachelor’s in journalism learn how to research, write, and edit news stories for various media outlets. Most journalism programs place a premium on professional ethics, requiring students to take multiple courses in this area.
Accreditation for Certificate and Diploma Programs
When choosing a certificate or diploma program, make sure to confirm that your school holds some form of accreditation. The accreditation process ensures that an institution meets certain academic standards and adequately prepares its students to join the workforce upon graduation. If your certificate program does not hold accreditation, you may encounter difficulties transferring credits to another institution. Additionally, students attending unaccredited schools may not qualify for certain types of financial aid.
At the institutional level, colleges and universities can earn regional and national accreditation. Most nonprofit colleges and universities seek out regional accreditation, which tends to be more prestigious, whereas for-profit and vocational schools often receive national accreditation.
Additionally, programs in a discipline, such as counseling or public affairs, may also receive accreditation from a group specializing in that subject area. Because of the field’s close connection to business, marketing certificate programs can receive recognition from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s online directory of accredited institutions and programs makes it easy to determine whether your program holds regional, national, and/or ACBSP accreditation.Return to the top
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