If you seek a career where creativity and business acumen combine, a marketing degree may be for you. Marketing is booming because of social media growth and technological advancements. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in marketing, advertising, and promotions will increase by 10 percent through 2026. Starting pay for marketing jobs is higher than many other industries: as of May 2017, median pay for marketing managers was $132,230, with the lowest 10 percent of marketing professionals earning $68,490.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in marketing, advertising, and promotions will increase by 10 percent through 2026.
Even better, marketing jobs are in demand, welcome news for new graduates. Digital marketing is ubiquitous because of the prevalence of smartphones, tablets, and computers. Consequently, many companies need savvy marketers to keep them relevant. A marketing career requires versatility, as marketing managers must switch between tasks like planning marketing campaigns and conducting marketing research. Marketing programs teach students to negotiate marketing contracts, spot marketing trends, and assess demands.
Should I Get a Bachelor's in Marketing?
Creative, business-oriented, and social people thrive in marketing programs because of the curriculum, which hones analytical, persuasive, and interpersonal skills. These skills, while crucial for marketing careers, are also applicable in other fields, especially since marketing incorporates concepts from business, advertising, psychology, and art. Thus, marketing graduates are not pigeonholed into one field and are prepared to succeed in a variety of different jobs.
If you are considering a marketing bachelor's degree, you have two options: online and on-campus programs. Working professionals or parents may find online classes are better suited to their busy lifestyles, whereas students graduating high school or transferring from community college may prefer on-campus classes, where they can interact with classmates in-person and attend campus activities. Because marketing careers often require strong networking skills, you should use college as an opportunity to form lasting connections with professors and colleagues. Some programs require internships and capstone projects, which may help students find jobs after graduation.
What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Marketing?
Marketing is a vast field, with room for many personality types. The nature of marketing naturally appeals to extroverts who enjoy the social demands of the field. Extroverts are great at public speaking, leading presentations, working with clients, and networking. Introverts, too, are welcome, as they are innately analytical and can lend insight into marketing campaigns. Introverts are also highly creative, observant, and focused, crucial skills in a fast-paced marketing department. Almost every company, nonprofit, and government agency has a marketing department looking for trained professionals in a host of careers.
- Market Research Analysts
Market research analysts work in many settings, including finance, insurance, and publishing. They collect and analyze data about consumer buying patterns and markets. These findings are compiled into reports and presented to their clients. Sometimes, market research analysts also create their own graphs and charts for presentations, though in some cases a graphic designer may do the work.
Median Annual Salary: $63,230
Projected Growth Rate: 23%
- Marketing Managers
Marketing managers have busy schedules that often exceed the typical 40-hour work week. They are employed in finance, wholesale trade, manufacturing, and other sectors. Their duties include spearheading marketing research and managing marketing plans and contracts. Marketing managers also monitor the market to see how companies can increase their market share.
Median Annual Salary: $129,380
Projected Growth Rate: 10%
- Internet Marketing Managers
Internet marketing managers, sometimes called online marketing managers or digital marketing managers, work within companies to develop marketing strategies and build market share in the digital space. They may focus on maximizing a company's search engine optimization or creating viral marketing campaigns.
Median Annual Salary: $129,380
Projected Growth Rate: 10%
- Advertising Sales Agents
Though a degree is not required, a bachelor's in marketing is preferred for advertising sales agents, who work in fast-paced environments within newspapers, magazines, TV stations, and ad agencies. Ad sales agents must meet sales quotas to sell ads and recruit new clients. They give ad estimates, send ad proofs, update media kits, and sometimes create sales presentations. The job often requires traveling and working on holidays or weekends.
Median Annual Salary: $49,680
Projected Growth Rate: -4%
- Marketing Specialists
Marketing specialists provide their expertise to companies on a contract basis or are employed on staff to develop, research, and implement innovative marketing plans which reach a targeted audience. These individuals have a firm grasp of consumer culture and market trends. They use their expertise to improve a brand's reputation or boost company profits.
Median Annual Salary: $63,230
Projected Growth Rate: 23%
How to Choose a Bachelor's in Marketing Program
Marketing programs vary in length, price, size, and curriculum. To ensure the program you choose is a good fit for you, consider some of the ways marketing degree programs differ.
Cost is one of the most significant differentiating factors. A program's price can vary depending on format: online courses, like those listed here, often cost less than traditional on-campus classes. Additionally, you will not pay for transportation, parking, or room and board when you take online classes. Also be aware of cost variables between private and public institutions, as private schools are often more expensive.
Program length is another factor. How long it takes to complete a program -- and how much you eventually pay -- depends on the program's required credits. On average, you will need to complete 120 credits to graduate.
Consider each school's curriculum. Many marketing programs are actually business degrees with concentrations in marketing, which means classes will be heavily focused on business concepts and practices. Programs also offer specializations like internet marketing and graphic design, allowing students to customize their education to suit their interests. Make sure to look at a program's core coursework to see which classes you will be required to take, including whether you must complete a practicum or internship course.
Programmatic Accreditation for Bachelor's in Marketing Programs
On average, students in the United States graduate almost $40,000 in debt, according to the LendEDU's survey of 1,400 college grads. With that price tag, you will naturally want some assurance that your money is well spent. Accreditation provides that assurance.
Colleges are either accredited regionally or nationally. Vocational schools typically receive national accreditation, whereas public and private universities are regionally accredited, which is more prestigious and is overseen by regional accrediting agencies across the country. When you go to a regionally accredited school, you can be assured that the curriculum and programs have been reviewed and approved by an independent body. This is also important for job seekers after graduation, as your future employers will likely favor a graduate of an accredited school over a graduate of a non-accredited school. In addition to regional accreditation, marketing degrees are also sometimes accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, or AACSB.
Bachelor's in Marketing Program Admissions
Wading through the college admissions pool is a challenge for anyone. It's easy to second-guess yourself, questioning whether you meet the admissions qualifications. At minimum, you must meet entrance prerequisites and your application must contain all required application documents, like essays, letters of recommendation, and transcripts. To increase your chances of acceptance, you should also apply to between five to 10 programs. Here are some tips to help you get into the program of your choice:
- Minimum GPA: On average, programs ask for a minimum GPA between 2.25 and 3.0. In some instances, if your GPA is lower than the requirements, you may be accepted on a provisional basis. Work experience or internships may also help offset a low GPA, in which case admissions officers may ask for a professional resume and statement of purpose.
- Application: College applications are available online and vary in length. Some require one or more essays and other supplementary materials, which can take days or weeks to complete. A handy (and free) research tool is CommonApp, which helps students search for and apply to multiple colleges. It also lets students track deadlines, compose admissions essays, and understand admissions requirements.
- Transcripts: A college application always includes transcripts from high school or college. If you are still in high school, be sure to contact your counselor for your transcripts. For college transcripts, email or call the admissions office.
- Letters of Recommendation: Often, you must submit two to three letters of recommendation from professional references. Possible references could be former counselors, teachers, or bosses. Sometimes character references are permitted, in which case you can get a letter from a friend or a colleague.
- Test Scores: The most commonly required test scores are the SAT or ACT. Generally, SAT scores of 1100 and ACT scores of 22 are acceptable. Applicants with 30 to 60 transferable college credits do not need SAT or ACT scores.
- Application Fee: College application fees can be pricey, especially when applying to multiple programs. Application fees for bachelor programs run between $25 and $50, with an average cost of $35 for undergraduate applications.
What Else Can I Expect From a Bachelor's in Marketing Program?
Marketing is an interdisciplinary major that overlaps with business, advertising, communications, arts, and psychology. The approach to teaching marketing will vary from school to school. For example, one program may focus on digital marketing, whereas another may be steeped in business principles. In this section, you will learn more about what to expect from a marketing degree program, including details about the curriculum you will study.
|Public Relations||Public relations is a writing-intensive field where students learn the art of communicating through multiple platforms. Students hone their technical writing skills, which they will use to create press releases, newsletters, and editorials. This concentration teaches students about media relations, public policy, and how to conduct opinion research.||Public relations prepares graduates for jobs in the media, politics, and PR firms. Graduates find jobs as PR specialists, search engine optimization specialists, event coordinators, and press representatives.|
|Advertising||A concentration in advertising focuses on teaching undergraduates about the principles of advertising, including research methods, brand strategy, economics, and consumer analysis and research.||With a specialty in advertising, students can work as advertising managers, market research analysts, or advertising sales representatives.|
|Hospitality and Tourism Management||This concentration appeals to students who want to learn more about travel and develop solid interpersonal skills. Hospitality and tourism management teaches students about the basics of business management and managerial economics, hospitality and tourism law, food and beverage management, and human resources.||Students who have completed a concentration in hospitality and tourism can find work as event planners, cruise line directors, restaurant managers, and hotel managers.|
|Business Administration||Business administration concentrations provide a cross-disciplinary education in the basics of business law, human resources management, marketing, and accounting. Students learn to analyze financial data and implement strategic business plans.||With a specialty in business administration, students can land entry-level career opportunities, in sales management, human resource management, and account supervising.|
|Innovation and Product Management||A specialty in innovation and product management teaches students about the steps of introducing a new product. This concentration teaches students problem-solving, analytic process techniques, and idea generation.||Having a speciality in innovation and product management prepares students for careers in merchandising, senior product and design management, and materials management.|
Courses in a Bachelor's in Marketing Program
Across institutions, marketing programs use different teaching approaches. However, there are core courses you can expect to encounter at most universities.
- Introduction to Marketing
One of your first classes in your marketing program will be introduction to marketing, which provides an overview of the basic principles of the industry. Students will become familiar with the four P's: product, place, price, and promotion. Introduction to marketing teaches students to understand buyer behavior, promotion, and how to conduct marketing research.
- Digital Marketing
This course teaches students to understand the strategies of digital marketing via social media, video, and email. Students learn about the stages of creating a digital marketing project, from planning to implementation. Students also analyze digital marketing from an ethical standpoint in digital marketing courses.
- Brand Management
Having a successful, profitable brand is everything to a company. Students enrolled in brand management courses learn to measure and craft brand strategies in order to maximize profits for a company and build brand equity. This course typically requires written assignments, case studies, and brand plan creation.
- Consumer Behavior
What makes consumers tick? Students enrolled in consumer behavior classwork learn to interpret consumer behaviors to craft marketing strategies. Students will study tools like social media to gauge how consumers make decisions. This class often incorporates principles of psychology, sociology, and economics.
- Media Planning and Buying
Introductory classes like media planning and buying examines how different media -- print, radio, and TV -- function in advertising. Students will learn to develop strategic media plans with simulation projects. They will also learn to analyze and apply planning theories to media problems.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor's in Marketing?
The time required to graduate with a bachelor's degree in marketing depends on several variables. Typically, a bachelor's degree takes four years to complete. Marketing programs are, on average, 60 credits. Additionally, universities often require 60 credits of general education requirements, for a total of 120 credits to graduate. Some marketing programs require 64 or more credits, including capstones or internships, in which case the program may take longer to complete.
If students take the maximum number of courses each semester, pursue accelerated tracks, and take assessment exams when available, they will be able to graduate quickly. Going to college full-time rather than part-time will also expedite your time in school. Be aware that attending college part-time can make school more expensive and delay your graduation.
How Much Is a Bachelor's in Marketing?
Once you pick a program, you will need to know how much that program costs. To get an idea of what you will pay, look at the cost per credit. In addition to tuition, you will also have to pay for books, materials, parking, fees and possibly room and board, if you are attending on-campus classes.
The cost of a bachelor's marketing degree ranges from $129 to $542 per credit hour, often depending on whether the degree is conferred by a public or private institution. In- or out-of-state school is another factor to consider: note that out-of-state tuition is considerably more expensive than in-state tuition, often hundreds of dollars more per credit. Students looking to attend out-of-state should also consider moving expenses and higher costs of living. Once you fill out your FAFSA, you will know how much "free" financial aid you will receive. After subtracting that from your total tuition, the remaining figure is what you will ultimately owe.
Certifications and Licenses a Bachelor's in Marketing Prepares For
Having a bachelor's degree in marketing is the minimum qualification for jobs in the field. You may also want to consider additional marketing certifications that demonstrate your specialized credentials. Here are some possible marketing certifications that will add value to your resume.
- Google Certifications
Digital marketing skills are invaluable in today's world. A certification in digital marketing shows your employer that you are an expert in online advertising. Google offers numerous free certifications in AdWords, Publisher, and Analytics. Getting certified in AdWords, for example, requires passing the 100-word fundamentals exam and another specialty exam with a minimum score of 80%.
- Hootsuite Academy
Hootsuite Academy offers numerous paid marketing and advertising certifications, including platform and social marketing certifications. Fees range from $99 to $999. To become certified, applicants must pass an online exam and score at least 75%. Certification, once received, never expires.
- HubSpot Inbound Sales Certification
HubSpot Academy offers free online training courses to help graduates and professionals hone their digital skills in social media, Facebook ads, SEO training, and inbound marketing. Courses are comprised of eight to 12 lessons with videos and an exam in the end. You must pass the HubSpot Marketing Software Certification to get the Agency Partner Certification.
- Professional Certified Marketer
The American Marketing Association offers a Professional Certified Marketer program, with different tracks and specialities to suit individual interests. Graduates or professionals can become certified in content marketing or digital marketing, which teaches students about SEO best practices, email marketing, and metrics and optimization.
- Project Management Professional Certification (PMP)
The Project Management Institute offers eight certifications, including the Project Management Professional certification. Applicants must meet the prerequisites and pass a 200-question multiple choice exam. To keep the certification, you are required to complete 60 professional development units every three years. The certification costs $405.
Resources for Marketing Students
MediaBistro is the go-to website for "savvy media professionals." Students and working professionals can take career training courses to strengthen their digital skills. Paid courses are offered in copywriting, SEO metrics, and public relations. There are also job postings and tips for resumes and interviews.
Working professionals regularly read Ad Age, founded in 1930. You can subscribe to the print magazine or go online to AdAge.com to read the latest industry news. In addition to the news coverage, you can also find job openings in the "Career" section. Ad Age also hosts numerous industry events each year for professionals to network.
Looking for a trusted resource for free marketing research and case studies? MarketingSherpa offers free access to marketing resources, including marketing how-to-guides. There are also online and in-person certifications and an annual summit.
More than 400 free marketing videos and 40 videos are available on Marketing Teacher, a marketing resource for students, working professionals, and teachers. The website also hires marketing writers to create content for its website.
AdWeek is primarily a publication dedicated to advertising. On their website, you can find the latest new and innovative commercial advertisements. You can also access job postings, webinars, and events listed on the AdWeek's website.
Professional Organizations in Marketing
Marketing is a competitive field. Therefore, the importance of professional memberships as they relate to the growth of your career cannot be overstated. For current students and graduates, it is invaluable to join organizations that offer access to internships, scholarships, and job openings. As a fledgling marketer, you will want to make industry connections, and marketing conferences are a prime environment for networking. Below are five prominent marketing organizations to consider joining.
The Data & Marketing Association (DMA) is an organization of more than 100,000 industry members, including affiliations with 1,400 membership companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook. The organization was founded in 1917 and currently has headquarters in Washington, D.C. and New York. Membership provides discounts to DMA events, marketing education courses, and certificate programs. DMA also advocates on behalf of all marketers on key policy issues.
The American Marketing Association (AMA) is an organization of about 30,000 members with more than 70 chapters in the United States and Mexico. Members get exclusive access to research articles, white papers, and webcasts. For career advancement, the organization offers the AMA Marketer's Toolkit with calendar and budgeting templates and the Career Resource Center, which features job postings and certification programs. The AMA also offers educational courses and discounted conference fees for members.
The Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) boasts 7,185 members and serves as a career development association and marketing resource hub. Joining this society gives marketing students and graduates the opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals and access industry jobs and other opportunities via the Marketing Resource Center.
The Association of National Advertisers (ANA), which includes the Business Marketing Association and Brand Activation Association divisions, was founded in 1910. ANA has 50,000 members, who stay active with events like webinars, workshops, and free regional conferences.
Insights Association is a global marketing research and analytics company, launched in 2017 after the CASRO and MRA merger. There are currently 12 chapters. Members get access to live and archived webinars and a subscription to Alert!, the organization's quarterly magazine. They also receive discounts to industry events, including the annual Insights Association conference.