How to Start a Career in Marketing

Want to start a career in marketing? This guide will help you understand the marketing career path.
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Bianca Gonzalez
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Bianca Gonzalez is a queer Latina brain cancer survivor who writes career readiness and corporate social responsibility content through the lens of accessibility and inclusion. You can find her at
Updated on September 26, 2023
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Amelia Buckley
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Amelia Buckley has worked as an editor for BestColleges, focusing on degree resources for prospective students. She holds a BA in global studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara....
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A career in marketing can take many forms. From social media to digital marketing, you can find the right path for you.

If you're interested in marketing, you'll need some level of related education. Whether that's completing a bootcamp, certification, or undergraduate degree in a relevant field, there are many ways to gain the knowledge you'll need.

What Does a Marketer Do?

Marketer Responsibilities

  • Perform market research to understand a company's current image and gain insight into competitors and the target market.
  • Develop marketing campaigns that reflect the brand's image, increase brand awareness, and connect with the target audience.
  • Collaborate with product managers and other members of the company to portray the product being marketed accurately, as well as understand the product's features.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

Entry-level marketers complete administrative tasks and develop marketing materials. After gaining experience, they can make a career pivot and serve as a marketing manager, where they'll oversee marketing strategies.

If you're interested in executive positions, you can pursue continuing education and eventually become a chief marketing officer (CMO). CMOs lead all areas of marketing and are responsible for the return on investment of marketing campaigns.

How Do You Become a Marketer?

There are a few steps you'll need to take before becoming a full-fledged marketer. First, you'll need to complete an undergraduate program or bootcamp. Second, you should gain entry-level experience before considering a master's degree and landing your ideal marketing job. Third, you can also consider continuing your education or earning a specialization.

Step 1: Earn an Undergraduate Degree in Marketing

While there are many online digital marketing bootcamps that will prepare you for a career in marketing, you can also gain the skills you need by completing an undergraduate program.

An associate marketing degree provides foundational knowledge that you can combine with internship experience to land entry-level jobs in marketing. However, a bachelor's degree in marketing will qualify you for higher-paying positions at the associate, senior, or executive level.

Other than marketing, common degree subjects for aspiring marketers include:

  • Business administration
  • Public relations
  • Communication

Degree concentrations that position you for a specific role in marketing include:

  • Social media marketing
  • Market research
  • Media studies
  • Public relations

Ultimately, while expanding your knowledge and hard skills are important, soft skills are also invaluable to marketers.

If you need help identifying the best major for your marketing career, a college career counselor at your school can help you pick what will suit you best. They can also connect you to relevant internship opportunities.

Step 2: Get an Entry-Level Marketing Job

Landing your first job in marketing will help you understand what it's like to work in the industry while gaining valuable experience. According to Feb. 2023 data from Payscale, marketing assistants earn an average base salary of $40,330, while social media managers earn an average base salary of $54,760.

If you're struggling to land an entry-level job in this field, consider pursuing internship opportunities, expanding your network, or participating in a career bridge program.

Step 3: Consider a Master of Marketing

While you don't need a master’s degree to pursue higher-level positions, there are many alternatives to grad school you can consider. But keep in mind: You should probably consider a master's in marketing if you want to hold an executive position someday.

According to Payscale data from Jan. and Feb. 2023, those with a BS in marketing earn an average of $68,000 per year, while those with an MS in marketing earn an average of $71,000. But the professionals who earn the most are those with an MBA with a concentration in marketing. Payscale reports that these degree-holders make an average base salary of $98,000 per year as of Jan. 2023.

The difference between a master's in marketing and an MBA in marketing is that MBA programs prepare you for business challenges beyond marketing through real-world examples. A master's in marketing focuses mostly on marketing theories.

Step 4: Get a Job in Marketing

You can find many opportunities for career pivots in marketing. Finding a job that is a good fit for your skill set depends on your educational background and relevant experience.

One career path for aspiring marketers is a marketing specialist. Responsibilities vary depending on a company's needs, as well as the structure of its marketing team.

According to Payscale, marketing specialists earn an average annual base salary of $54,320, with top earners making just over $70,000 as of Feb. 2023.

Step 5: Consider Continuing Your Education or Earning a Specialization

A doctoral degree isn't essential to work in marketing but will allow you to work in academia. But continuing education in other forms gives you the flexibility to develop specific skills needed for higher roles.

Consider looking into graduate certificate programs in marketing if you'd like to continue your education with a smaller time commitment. Continuing education can also help you specialize in the field, which can increase your earning potential.

How Can I Specialize in Marketing?

Digital Marketing

Those who specialize in digital marketing work in an online format. They work with brands to establish and maintain company websites, social media accounts, and search engine rankings. These tasks establish credibility among consumers and increase online presence.

If you're interested in this specialty, consider your options for online master's programs in digital marketing.

Content Marketing

Someone who specializes in content marketing manages articles, videos, podcasts, and other media creation to promote brand awareness and attract a brand's target audience. They oversee the editorial calendar and work with writers and creators to develop successful content.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing managers oversee and monitor a brand's social media accounts. They create relevant content that engages their followers, improves brand recognition, and increases customer loyalty. They also track analytics and optimize content for different social media platforms.

Pro Tip

You can learn social media marketing through online bootcamps.

Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketers harness the power of search engine optimization (SEO) to increase visibility on search engines like Google. Responsibilities include identifying and strategically placing keywords in online content and analyzing web traffic. They may also work with content marketers to ensure that marketing materials adhere to SEO best practices.

Product Marketing

Product marketers become familiar with the products a company sells to develop a marketing strategy to increase sales. They collaborate with design staff and content marketers on campaigns. And they monitor consumer reactions.

Research Marketing

Market researchers monitor market trends. They collect and analyze raw data, assessments, and surveys to gain information about their company's market. Market researchers also communicate their findings with other stakeholders in the company. Research marketers need good analytical skills.

What to Know Before Becoming a Marketer


It's important to choose an accredited marketing degree program. Accreditation ensures that the education you received to earn your degree meets certain quality standards. Both online and in-person learning can be accredited. Plus, you'll need a bachelor's degree from an accredited school to apply for graduate programs.


The cost of pursuing a degree, regardless of its level, will vary depending on whether you study in state or out of state. Because of the price of housing and other hidden college costs, the actual cost of your degree depends on the school you attend. Online programs can be less expensive and more flexible than traditional programs.


Marketer Salary By Degree Level
Education Level Average Annual Salary
Associate $57,000
Bachelor's $68,000
Master's $74,000
Doctorate* $90,000
Source: Payscale
*Based on data from a business administration degree.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Marketer

What skills do you need to work in marketing?

Because marketers create messaging designed to connect to an audience, you need strong writing and verbal communication skills. You also need a knowledge of rhetoric, as well as empathy and solid interpersonal skills. Other valuable skills for aspiring marketers include project management, automation, graphic design, and strategic planning.

What is the fastest way to become a marketer?

The fastest way to become a marketer is by completing online certification programs or bootcamps. These learning options tend to be a fraction of the cost and time commitment compared to a four-year degree.

How do I become a marketer without a degree?

You do not need a degree to work in marketing, though you do need to demonstrate a strong skill set for whatever marketing role you're trying to land. You can do this by gaining experience through internships, volunteering, online bootcamps, and online certification programs. Any other continuing education and professional development opportunities can help, too.

How much money can I make as a marketer?

The highest-paying roles in marketing are executive leadership positions. Chief marketing officers, for instance, make an average base salary of $178,480, according to Feb. 2023 Payscale data. They are responsible for the success or failure of different marketing initiatives and for analyzing data around marketing and sales. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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