A recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report stated that career growth in marketing was projected to grow by 10% in 2031. These figures include jobs related to advertising, marketing, and promotion at the managerial level. Marketing is made up of a wide range of communication activities that involve planning and executing programs and campaigns to generate interest from the public.
When starting out in this career, many professionals begin as market research analysts, marketing specialists and account executives. Most of these positions require individuals to have earned a bachelor’s degree. This degree opens the door to many entry-level jobs, and today’s marketing field provides professionals with diverse and exciting career choices. Some of the careers within this field include social media marketing, digital marketing, marketing communications, SEO marketing and content marketing management.
To advance in the field, today’s marketing professionals must be savvy enough to navigate the changing communications environment, which mandates that marketing professionals be able to communicate effectively with others around the globe and in other industries.
Advancing in marketing, for some positions, also requires an advanced degree. In most cases, this will be a master’s degree. Some positions that typically require an advanced degree include post-secondary business teacher, marketing director, vice president of marketing and chief marketing officer. Regardless of the entry point, the first step in advancing one’s career in marketing through education is knowing what degree is required for the type of work you want to do in this field.
What degree is required for the job I want in marketing?
Marketing programs typically offer four degrees, beginning with an associate’s degree. Before deciding on a career, spend some time taking inventory of your career aspirations and matching these goals with degree programs. Here is a look at some of the marketing jobs in the current market and the degrees required to perform the duties of the position.
Students in an associate’s degree program have received their high school diploma or an equivalent. Most of these programs require the student to complete at least 60 credits, and many of these credits are general education requirements. However, students might find themselves taking courses such as statistics and other business-related courses as a part of their degree requirements.
This program usually takes full-time students two years to complete. Through their course of study, students learn foundational marketing concepts that will allow them to work in marketing-related positions in general business operations, best practices for communication, and promotional campaigning and planning.
Students who stopped at the associate’s degree level to work in the field for a few years might consider going back to school to advance their education. The next degree is a bachelor’s degree, which typically takes a student who already has an associate’s degree two years to complete 60 additional credit hours toward a marketing degree; it will take four years for a student who has just graduated from high school. When the program is complete, the student will have finished 120 credit hours.
However, these last 60 credit hours focus on the specifics of the student’s major, which in this case is marketing. Furthermore, in addition to the coursework students must complete, they also are exposed to experiential learning where they work alongside professionals already in the field as part of paid and unpaid internships. During their bachelor’s degree education, students will learn subject matter that will allow them to work in positions related to business-to-business (B2B) consumer marketing, market research and analysis, brand strategy and management, digital and traditional marketing, and professional selling.
Many students choose not to pursue a master’s degree in marketing until they have spent a few years in the profession. A master’s program usually adds 30 or 40 credits to the total educational program, and the number of credits required depends on the academic institution. However, when completed, students can go into fields involving marketing statistics and analysis, consumer insights and decision-making, digital marketing methods and strategies, and advertising and social media communications.
Those who pursue a degree at the doctorate level usually find themselves teaching at the university level, becoming a researcher, or working as a head for top leadership organizations. Pursuing a doctorate can be very demanding, requiring the person to commit to earning up to 120 credits and participating in in-depth research to write and defend a dissertation. This degree prepares the student to work in fields related to data analytic measurements, information processing in marketing, advanced consumer research, and consumer-centered marketing design.
Before deciding on a degree program, however, prospective students should consult with others to get more direction. This is also the perfect opportunity to learn more about your marketing field of choice. Seeking out other professionals in the field or advisors at the institution you plan to attend is one of the most important steps in advancing your career in marketing.
If you are looking to advance your career in marketing, you have likely already spent time working with other marketing professionals. The workplace can be a good source of mentors who are further along in their marketing careers. Whether the relationship is formal or informal, mentors can offer you words of wisdom regarding which career track to choose. They can be a source of information regarding connecting with others, and because they have been where you are, they have practical experience to draw upon when helping you.
The next stop is the career advisory office that can be found at most educational institutions. A career advisor has information and resources that can help you make the best decision regarding your education. They not only have information relevant to degree programs and courses, but they can also tell you how long the program might take to complete, the requirements for getting into the program, and job opportunities that are available to you once you have completed your program.
Choosing between online and face-to-face courses
While speaking with the career advisor at any educational institution, think about the type of program you want to attend. Today, going to college has become more accessible for professionals who might not return to school because time or finances do not allow them to attend a program in person. You can choose between traditional face-to-face learning and online programs.
Face-to-face learning involves attending courses that are scheduled at a specific time and are taught by someone who stands before the class and lectures on any given topic. Some academic institutions offer classes that can be taken outside of normal business hours, such as early morning, evening, or weekend classes.
Another option some marketing students have is online education, which provides them with more flexibility when it comes to their schedule. The great thing about online educational programs is that they allow students to take courses through the virtual landscape, which can solve many logistical problems students encounter in attending classes in person. Because the instructor communicates with students online, they can essentially attend class from anywhere in the world, whether it is their living room, a café, the library or the breakroom at their workplace.
Two types of online education a student might encounter are synchronous and asynchronous online educational programs. Synchronous online education programs require students to log on to the course learning management system at a scheduled time, whether it is to participate in lectures, discussions or other course activities. Conversely, asynchronous online educational programs allow students more flexibility in the sense that they can work at their own pace and sign on to the course shell at their convenience.
Most universities offer online educational programs or courses that are synchronous or asynchronous. For example, Walsh University in Ohio offers an online MBA program for professionals who are looking to advance their careers. One of the career tracks offered is in data analytics, which is part of the marketing field. Ultimately, online programs make it possible for professionals advancing their career to work full-time while attending a program, which is often more financially feasible.
Financing your education
Another consideration involves financing your education. You can take out student loans, but it is best to discuss your options with a financial aid advisor first. Depending on the case, you might also qualify for grant programs, which are usually income dependent. Finally, many employers will pay for their employee’s education if the program of study is related to the field in which they work.
The bottom line
Modern marketing presents professionals in this field with exciting career pathways. Marketing professionals no longer need to worry about time or financial constraints because the online landscape makes it possible to attend school while working. However, when choosing a course of study, prospective students should look at all the degree programs to get an idea of the educational requirements they might need to advance.