Earning a marketing associate degree can open doors to exciting and lucrative careers in both marketing and sales. Marketing professionals help organizations present themselves in a positive light and encourage consumers to purchase goods or services. They also help companies figure out what customers want and what they are willing to pay.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects strong growth in marketing employment due to an increasing use of industry market research across the economy. The favorable job outlook for market research analysts includes an expected 23% growth rate between 2016-26, much faster than average.
As more organizations recognize the power of marketing to understand consumer behavior and meet strategic goals, holding a marketing associate degree can demonstrate your expertise in the field and help you stand out from other job applicants. As you gain professional experience, the door will open to more and better paying job opportunities.
Should I Get an Associate Degree in Marketing?
Prospective marketing associate degree students need to consider a variety of factors when making program decisions. Professionals already working in marketing might find an online associate degree appealing for its flexibility and convenience. On the other hand, recent high school graduates seeking entry-level positions in marketing might prefer the structure and familiarity of a traditional on-campus program.
When you earn an associate degree in marketing, you learn the fundamentals of marketing and gain a variety of useful skills. You also receive a thorough understanding of basic business principles and practices. Students learn to identify markets, use an effective marketing mix, understand legal and ethical marketing issues, and create strategic marketing plans. You also develop critical-thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills while learning to collaborate with others. Upon graduation, students qualify for entry-level marketing positions or, depending on their level of professional experience, promotions.
Associate in marketing students benefit from networking opportunities with classmates and instructors. Near graduation, learners can take advantage of internship and job placement assistance. Additionally, after graduation, students can often continue to use their school's career center, receiving help with resumes, job interview preparation, and access to job boards. Some programs continue to offer career assistance to alumni even years after graduation.
What Can I Do With an Associate in Marketing?
Almost any organization can benefit from improved marketing. A career in marketing typically suits individuals who enjoy working with people, hold leadership skills, and understand what it takes to successfully promote an organization across multiple platforms.
- Digital Marketing Associate
Digital marketing associates provide digital marketing assistance to organizations of all kinds. They create social media campaigns, plan search engine optimization, and develop text and banner ads strategy. These professionals often work under the supervision of a digital marketing strategist. Earning an associate degree in marketing increases your chances of working in digital marketing.
Median Annual Salary: $45,300*
- Retail Manager
Retail managers often start their careers as sales associates. They handle the day-to-day operations of a store and manage staff. These professionals monitor the financial success of the store and ensure consumer satisfaction. Retail managers often oversee product pricing and stocking, set sales targets, and maintain records.
Median Annual Salary: $45,205*
- Advertising Sales Representative
The best advertising sales representatives excel at building relationships with clients. Advertising sales representatives sell ad space to individuals and businesses, make presentations, work with client accounts, and contact potential clients. They also analyze sales data and prepare reports for clients.
Median Annual Salary: $35,326*
- Sales Manager
Sales managers direct and supervise sales teams for organizations across many industries. Most sales managers hold a bachelor's degree, but earning an associate in marketing can help you stand out for some positions. Sales managers often work to solve problems related to customer complaints. They also prepare budgets, analyze sales data, and develop sales plans.
Median Annual Salary: $57,582*
How to Choose an Associate Program in Marketing
Students must consider a variety of factors when choosing a marketing associate program, including degree length, cost, accreditation status, location, and curriculum. Full-time students complete degrees more quickly than students attending part time. Most associate programs take about two years to complete, but some programs offer students fast-track options that allow them to graduate faster by taking additional credits and attending class year-round.
One of the biggest concerns for many students, tuition can vary substantially by school. Prospective students must also consider other educational costs associated with each program, including material fees and living expenses. If you plan to attend an on-campus program, location can affect your cost of living, quality of life, and employment opportunities. Location even affects online associate in marketing program students, as some distance programs still require campus visits. Depending on the online degree, you also might need to pay non-resident tuition if you live out of state.
Associate in Marketing Program Admissions
The process of applying to marketing associate degree programs varies by school. Typically, the admissions process takes longer for on-campus programs, with online programs often offering simpler ways to apply. However, both online and in-person programs almost always request students to apply online.
Prospective students must fill out an application, request that any previously attended schools send transcripts, and submit any required application fees. Occasionally, you may also need to submit a short personal statement or answer essay questions, but most two-year colleges do not require this. Before you apply, thoroughly research prospective associate in marketing programs to ensure they meet your most important criteria. The number of schools you apply to depends on how many programs interest you and how competitive they seem.
- Application: Most applications take a couple of hours to fill out and may require a personal statement and letters of recommendation.
- Transcripts: Most schools require you to submit transcripts listing the courses you took at previous schools. You can usually order your transcripts through your school's website for a small fee.
- Application Fee: A typical college application fee sits around $40. Students who can demonstrate financial need may qualify for a fee waiver.
Application: Most applications take a couple of hours to fill out and may require a personal statement and letters of recommendation.
Transcripts: Most schools require you to submit transcripts listing the courses you took at previous schools. You can usually order your transcripts through your school's website for a small fee.
Application Fee: A typical college application fee sits around $40. Students who can demonstrate financial need may qualify for a fee waiver.
Educational Paths for Marketing Associate Programs
Typically, earning a bachelor's degree makes you a more desirable job candidate when compared with other similarly-qualified individuals who only hold an associate degree or high school diploma. Depending on the position, professionals who hold a bachelor's degree earn more money than those with an associate degree.
- Bachelor's in Marketing
Earning a bachelor's in marketing gives students the opportunity to explore the field more thoroughly. They learn the foundations of business, while delving into marketing strategy, social media, consumer behavior, market research, analytics, promotion, and SEO. Students take courses like integrated marketing, search engine marketing, digital marketing, and complete a marketing internship.
- Bachelor's in Business Administration with a Marketing Concentration
Many bachelor's in business administration programs offer a marketing concentration. Students who earn this degree learn the major theories and practices of marketing in the context of business administration. They develop skills in market research, product management, marketing strategies, and marketing channels. The business side of the degree promotes management, leadership, and communication skills.
- Bachelor's in Digital Marketing
Students who pursue a bachelor's in digital marketing study practices of business administration, consumer behavior, web development, advertising, and web design. Digital marketing explores technologies and how to use them to effectively market products, organizations, and services. Topics explored include viral marketing, web analytics, email marketing, online automated tools, and digital content production.
What Else Can I Expect From an Associate Program in Marketing?
All marketing programs strive to give students an understanding of the foundational principles of marketing and the practical skills necessary to obtain entry-level employment. Many associate programs in marketing give students the chance to get practical experience through internships.
Courses in an Associate Program in Marketing
All marketing programs require students to complete classes in introductory marketing, marketing strategies, and communication. Most marketing degrees also require basic coursework in business and accounting. See below for a sample curriculum.
- Social Media and Marketing Communications
Students learn how to effectively use social media as a marketing tool for organizations, exploring the differences between social media marketing and traditional marketing. The course focuses on researching, planning, and the analysis of social media strategies to reach promotional objectives. Other topics covered include social media marketing ethics, social media monitoring, and marketing through social networks.
- Principles of Integrated Marketing Communications
This course explores integrated marketing communications strategies, such as public relations, advertising, sales promotions, and corporate communications. A writing-intensive class, students learn the skills necessary to effectively plan and research for integrated marketing communications objectives. Learners complete a final project with a group and give a formal presentation describing their findings.
- Financial Accounting
Marketing majors learn how to prepare accounting information necessary for evaluating the financial health of organizations. Students receive an introductory overview financial accounting theory and practices. Topics explored include interpretation of financial accounting information, financial health evaluation, and communicating information.
- Consumer Behavior
This course explores the most popular behavioral science theories of why consumers behave the way they do. Students learn to predict and direct consumer behavior using a variety of tools and delve into the ways that attitude formation, learning, perception, motivation, personality, and group dynamics impact individual behavior in the marketplace.
- Strategic Marketing
Students explore the strategies marketing managers use to develop effective marketing plans. Topics explored include product planning, pricing, market research, communication, e-commerce, and services delivery. Students learn how to help organizations -- both for-profit and nonprofit -- create value for customers and stakeholders. This course's final project requires students to create a strategic marketing plan with their classmates.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate in Marketing?
On average, full-time students spend two years completing an associate in marketing program. Most programs require students to complete around 60 semester credits to graduate. Colleges that use the quarter system may require closer to 90 credits.
The amount of time it takes you to finish your degree depends on how many courses you take each term. Full-time students who attend school year-round can finish an associate degree much more quickly than part-time students who take the summers off, for example.
To accelerate degree completion time, look for schools with fast-track programs that offer required courses all year. If you need a slower pace to continue working full time or maintaining other responsibilities, make sure your prospective schools offers this option.
How Much Is an Associate in Marketing?
Most students worry about paying for college. To earn your degree in the most affordable way possible, attend a public two-year college where you qualify for resident tuition. The College Board reports average yearly tuition and fees at public two-year schools at $3,440. If you finish your associate in marketing degree in two years, that brings your total cost to less than $7,000. If you attend school part-time and take longer to earn your degree, the total cost will likely rise.
When projecting the cost of your degree, consider additional educational expenses. This includes the cost of living, housing, additional technology, and material expense. Remember that most students qualify for some form of financial aid, such as student loans, grants, scholarships, or the work study program.
Professional Organizations in Marketing
Joining professional marketing organizations offers many benefits to students and recent graduates, such as networking opportunities, continuing education programs, and discounts on annual conferences. Oftentimes, professional marketing organizations also give members access to private job boards and assistance through career services, including mentor programs and volunteer-based resume editing. If the price of membership deters you from joining, know that many professional groups offer heavily discounted rates for students and recent graduates.