As long as there are businesses and customers, there will be a demand for marketing professionals. Marketing degree programs aim to help students acquire the knowledge and skills they need to confidently work in a variety of marketing roles at different stages of their careers.
From retail and manufacturing to information technology, education, and financial services, marketers can practically work in any industry that needs to promote its products and services and engage with customers. As reported by the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), marketing professionals can look forward to a 7% job growth from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations (BLS, 2020).
Marketing is one of the highest-paying college degrees and is also one of the most demanding. A typical day for a marketer involves a combination of creative and analytical tasks, such as conceptualizing promotional campaigns, writing creative copy for products, analyzing and reporting statistical information on consumers, and devising market strategies. As you can imagine, your creativity, communication skills, organizational, and analytical skills will all be necessary to succeed as a marketer.
In this document, you can find out more about what it takes to pursue marketing and gauge whether it is the right degree for you.
A marketing degree is a popular business major that studies strategies on branding and promotion of products and services to the public with the goal of getting customers to buy them. This is a simplified marketing definition but majoring in marketing covers more than promoting products. Marketing has a wide scope of study, including market research, advertising and promotions, marketing strategy, public relations, consumer behavior, and management and sales.
A marketing degree can lead to a career in consumer retail, advertising and promotions, brand management, and business consultation. Most advertising, promotions, and marketing managers and professionals find work in a marketing agency but many are also employed in corporations and SMEs. As mentioned previously, the overall employment of marketing professionals is projected to grow 7% from 2019 to 2029 (BLS, 2020). This is faster than the average growth rate for all occupations, which is at 4%.
Online is the way to go for businesses with digital advertising spending worldwide estimated to reach $526.17 billion by 2024 (eMarketer, 2020). That is why a marketing degree is also very useful if you want to go into digital marketing, ecommerce, and market research and analytics.
Moreover, your marketing degree can help prepare you for other specializations in digital marketing such as pay-per-click advertising (PPC), search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, data analytics, and social media management. It can also be a stepping stone to other related careers. For example, you can work as a media planner, public relations officer, sales representative, and fundraiser.
Marketing degree tuition and fees are what students first look at when checking the cost of their degree. But there are other expenses, such as room and board, textbooks and supplies, and transportation that you need to consider when calculating how much you will need to fund your education.
Colleges and universities use the Cost of Attendance (COA) to indicate the total annual cost of attending their institution (tuition and fees and room and board). This is also known as the “sticker” or published prices. If you intend to study marketing at a four-year public college, the average COA is $10,560 for in-state students and $27,020 for out-of-state students. For four-year private colleges, the average COA is $37,650 (CollegeBoard, 2020).
Aside from the sticker prices, it is also important to check the net price—the average price students pay after factoring in financial aid, such as scholarships and grants. The average net tuition and fee price in public four-year institutions was $3,230 in 2020-21. Meanwhile, it was $15,990 in four-year private institutions (College Board, 2020).
With a projected job growth faster than the average for all occupations, marketing is a specialization that will continue to provide more opportunities for employment in the future. However, just knowing the basic principles of marketing will not be enough to thrive in the workplace of the future.
In order to maximize your marketing degree, you will also need to learn the digital marketing skills and tools necessary to create, implement, and analyze marketing campaigns. According to 74% of marketing executives, there is an ongoing talent shortage in marketing organizations due to the lack of digital skills of its workforce (Digital Marketing Institute, 2019).
There are specific digital marketing skills on the rise, so working on these skills can increase your employability as a marketing professional. Most of these skills are in social media marketing, ecommerce, and data analytics, such as social media coordinator (19%), community manager (18.1%), social media assistant (16.5%), freelance marketing (14.9%), and chief marketing officer (13.8%) (Tesseras, 2021).
|Job||National Average Salary|
|1. Content Writer||$17.54 per hour|
|2. Staff Writer||$38,335 per year|
|3. News Producer||$46,900 per year|
|4. News Editor||$47,686 per year|
|5. Freelance Writer||$25.07 per year|
|6. Copywriter||$50,992 per year|
|7. Social Media Planner||$54,053 per year|
|8. Content Manager||$56,771 per year|
|9. Digital Strategist||$60,078 per year|
|10. Communications Manager||$60,571 per year|
|11. Public Relations Specialist||$62, 679 per year|
|12. Corporate Communications Specialist||$65,267 per year|
|13. Journalist||$36.26 per hour|
|14. Product Marketing Manager||$106,726 per year|
Your marketing degree can open up opportunities in a variety of sectors. The type of marketing degree jobs students might get ultimately depends on their unique set of skills, personality, values, and interests. Some jobs that demand more interaction with clients may appeal to some individuals, while others might prefer jobs that entail more data analytics and research skills.
Based on BLS reports, marketing professionals will continue to be essential to organizations as they try to grow their market share. As long as there are products and services to sell, marketing skills will be needed. However, as cited earlier, digital roles in marketing are the ones that are really going to be in demand in the future as more and more companies shift their campaigns online.
The median annual wages for marketing managers in 2020 was $142,170 with the lowest 10% earning less than $74,620 and the highest 10% earning more than $208,000. Other related job roles that also provide generous compensation include sales managers ($132,290), public relations and fundraising managers ($118,430), art directors ($97,270), and market research analysts ($65,810) (BLS, 2021).
Positions for marketing degree holders are usually full-time jobs and it is not uncommon for managers to work more than 40 hours per week. Marketing managers working in top sectors also receive good compensation. For example, those working in the Finance and Insurance industries had a median annual salary of $150,280 in 2020. On the other hand, marketing managers employed in scientific, and technical services had a median salary of $150,840 (BLS, 2021).
There are different marketing degree types. Colleges and universities usually offer a four-year Bachelor’s degree in Marketing under their business departments. Students can take further studies by enrolling in a Master’s degree program or taking a Doctorate degree. You can also start your marketing education with a two-year Associate degree.
Average time to complete: Two years
An associate degree in marketing is a program at the undergraduate level that covers basic business theories and marketing principles and provides students with the transferable skills they need to immediately apply to entry-level jobs. The scope of the subjects that students study varies depending on the educational institution but can include Business Communication, Macro/Microeconomics, Financial Accounting, and Customer Behavior. After finishing an associate program, students can either enter the workforce or pursue a Bachelor’s degree.
Entry-level jobs: Customer service, public relations, sales, social media, and digital marketing
Average time to complete: Four years
A bachelor’s degree in marketing equips students with the necessary marketing, business, and technology skills that can help them qualify for jobs in a wide range of industries. Many bachelor’s degree programs also require students to take internships and participate in marketing projects in different business setups. In 2019, 88.6% of degrees awarded to marketing students were bachelor’s degrees, and 75.3% of marketing professionals in the workforce held a bachelor’s degree (DataUSA, n.d.).
Marketing majors take up subjects on management, business administration, accounting and finance, and market research, among others. With the emphasis on digital marketing, some programs have also included courses in social media marketing, ecommerce, and search engine optimization.
Entry-level jobs: Communication specialist, marketing specialist, social media coordinator, and marketing analyst
Average time to complete: Two years
A master’s degree in marketing aims to help students get a deeper understanding of complex and technical marketing concepts. It often involves the in-depth study of innovative marketing techniques and skills that can help students advance their careers in marketing.
MA programs usually require that you already have a bachelor’s degree, while others also assess the professional/actual work experience of candidates. Sample courses in an MA program include strategic marketing, branding, organizational behavior, marketing analytics, strategic marketing, and marketing research.
A master’s degree in marketing and a master of business administration (MBA) with marketing concentration both prepare students with the education and skills that can qualify them for managerial or supervisory positions. The difference is that an MA program focuses on marketing research, theories, and strategies related to the field, while an MBA focuses on case studies to examine real-world business challenges. MBA students also learn more about leadership skills.
High-level positions: Marketing research analyst, marketing director, marketing manager, and fundraising professional
Average time to complete: Four to five years
A doctoral degree in marketing is the highest degree given in postgraduate studies. In this program, students are required to produce a thoroughly researched and analyzed work on a problem that offers solutions and will have a significant contribution to the field. Ph.D. programs draw on a variety of disciplines, such as economics, psychology, behavioral theory, etc. to address immediate and future problems in their field.
The first two years of Ph.D. work are typically spent on submitting coursework requirements and passing comprehensive exams. The remaining years are dedicated to fieldwork and dissertation research and writing.
High-level positions: University professor of marketing, chief marketing officer, and market research analyst
The general requirements for admission to marketing degree programs include academic records and other application documents, such as essays and letters of recommendation. ACT and SAT scores are also valued by educational institutions though there are colleges and universities that maintain a test-optional admissions policy.
Marketing degree prerequisites for an associate’s and bachelor’s degree will vary, so it is important to check the requirements of the school and program you wish to enter. However, in general, a good academic performance in high school will help with your application to undergraduate marketing programs.
Master’s degree programs mostly require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree. Some doctoral degree programs might require students to hold a master’s degree but most accept a bachelor’s degree. For all types of degrees, other requirements, such as transcripts, admission essays, letters of recommendation, interviews, and admission tests may also be required.
Most universities will require applicants to submit their GPA. In general, you would want to show more As than Bs. If you are applying to more selective universities, such as Ivy League schools, ideally your GPA should be closer to 4.0.
As for SAT and ACT scores, as you might imagine, the higher your score the better the impact it can have on your application. The average SAT composite score is 1051 (CollegeBoard, 2020) and the average ACT score is 20.6 (ACT, 2021). So, any score more than these averages will already be above average and can be a good score for your application.
Take note that due to test-optional admissions policy and the difficulties in taking reviews and accessing test sites, many universities have de-emphasized SAT and ACT scores. Currently, there are more than 1,200 test-optional universities in the US.
Marketing campaigns often require catchy slogans and unique approaches, so your creativity will definitely be necessary as a marketing professional. Even before you enter the workforce, you can already exercise your creative juices in college through the projects and activities you will do in your courses.
A marketer will need to have good verbal and written communication skills to get their message across to their target audience. For example, content marketing requires writing copies and articles for a product or service. It also involves conceptualizing taglines and writing content for your organization’s website or social media accounts. When you need to represent your organization in a marketing event or speak to stakeholders about a campaign, you will need to have good verbal communication and presentation skills as well.
Digital marketing is here to stay, that is why marketing students need to equip themselves with digital and content marketing skills that are very much in demand in many industries. Important digital marketing degree skills include social media, SEO, and email marketing. It will also be beneficial to learn about emerging technologies used in tools that aid marketers in predicting trends or analyzing consumer needs. For instance, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) is used in copywriting tools, ecommerce platforms, and other software that help companies offer personalized product recommendations.
Marketing is never constant. There are always new products to market and new customer needs to be met. Marketers need to be curious by nature to stay on top of marketing and social media trends and technology developments. It is also important to read up on marketing strategies and follow reports or research about consumer behavior.
All marketing degree programs have their own curriculum, so it can be hard to say which one is the better one. However, there are certain elements that should be in all quality marketing programs.
Marketing programs should cover business basics and have subjects on management, accounting, and finance. Though a big part of marketing is about promoting products to a target audience and creating brand awareness, students will be able to understand more about marketing once they have basic business principles covered.
With more and more consumers shifting their activities online and with the increase in technology use in many businesses, marketing programs have also evolved to include digital marketing as one of their concentrations. The demand for marketers who have digital skills and know-how will also continue to rise, so a good marketing program to take would be one that offers courses on digital marketing.
Data created in 2020 was at 59 zettabytes (1 zettabyte is equal to 1 billion terabytes) and is projected to reach 149 zettabytes by 2024. That simply means there is a lot of data that companies are collecting from their customers and they need marketers who know how to make sense of this data to gather insights on customer needs and untapped business opportunities. A good marketing program should have courses that can help students become comfortable in working with data. Examples of subjects to look for include data analytics or statistical analysis.
Working as a marketing professional in today’s business landscape means you not only understand marketing principles and strategies but also have the digital and analytical skills to help you effectively execute and manage marketing campaigns. With this in mind, make sure you get the most out of your marketing program by choosing those that include courses designed to meet the future demands of the workplace.
Also, make sure you set aside ample time to research and prepare all the requirements needed for your application to marketing degree programs. If you are still searching for a good place to study marketing, you may also check the best colleges in America and create your shortlist of educational institutions to apply to.