Graduate Certificate in Marketing Program Guide

A graduate certificate in marketing can advance your career at a lower cost than an MBA. Read our guide to learn more.

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by Staff Writers

Updated May 6, 2022

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Graduate Certificate in Marketing Program Guide

Students who already hold a bachelor's degree can apply to graduate certificate in marketing programs, which teach learners to promote goods and services in a variety of different settings. These short-term programs often require students to complete 12-16 credits. Learners can often graduate in 1-2 semesters.

The skill set that you learn in these programs is applicable to almost any business-related career, so graduates can often find stable jobs in high-demand fields. For example, between 2020 and 2030, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 22% job growth for market research analysts, which nearly triples the average projected growth rate (8%) across all occupations during that period.

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Average costs vary widely by program, but graduate certificates are generally more affordable than master's degrees. According to the BLS, professionals in business and financial occupations earned a median annual wage of $72,250 as of May 2020. Graduate certificate-holders in marketing can expect similar salaries after they gain a few years of experience.

Read on to learn more about graduate certificate in marketing programs.

What Is a Graduate Certificate in Marketing Program?

A graduate certificate program in marketing is a specialized course of study that provides students who already hold bachelor's degrees with advanced, focused knowledge.

A graduate certificate is different from a certification or license. Certificate programs are for-credit courses of study offered at colleges and universities. Certifications are professional credentials awarded by organizations in specific fields. Licenses are credentials awarded in specific fields — such as teaching — by state governments. Licenses allow professionals to practice in their field in certain states.

A graduate certificate also differs from an associate or bachelor's degree. Associate and bachelor's degrees are undergraduate programs, while graduate certificates serve learners who already hold four-year degrees.

Popular Online Marketing Graduate Certificate Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Should I Get a Graduate Certificate in Marketing?

A graduate certificate in marketing is an excellent alternative for business-minded students who do not want to pay for a master of business administration (MBA) degree. Students in certificate programs learn many of the same skills, while generally paying less money and spending less time in school. Students can usually earn a certificate within one year, or 1-2 semesters of part-time study.

Furthermore, distance learners can usually keep their full-time jobs while enrolled part time in online graduate certificate in marketing programs. As such, these programs are often a good fit for parents and working professionals.

Almost all business can use qualified marketing professionals. As such, a graduate certificate in marketing sets students up for careers in several different in-demand fields. These programs are usually a good investment for committed students.

A graduate certificate in marketing still requires a significant investment of time and money, so make sure you really aspire to a career in marketing or business before you enroll. After you graduate, you can earn several professional certifications from the American Marketing Association to further demonstrate your skills in the field.

Find the Best Online Graduate Certificate in Marketing Programs

What Will I Learn in a Marketing Graduate Certificate Program?

A graduate certificate program in marketing provides high-level, focused coursework in a single area. Students take similar core marketing courses to those offered in MBA programs. Possible course titles and focuses include marketing management, consumer behavior, brand management, quantitative research methods, and international marketing.

Students develop a broad marketing skill set, learning how to promote, advertise, and sell different types of products and services. They also learn to use data to evaluate marketing approaches and how to best sell those products and services.

Some certificate programs include a broad marketing focus. Others concentrate on a more specific field within the discipline. Below are five possible concentration options for graduate certificate in marketing programs.

Concentrations

International Marketing

In the age of globalization, companies must understand how to market their services to consumers worldwide. Students in this concentration develop expertise in marketing to clients with different political, economic, and cultural backgrounds and perspectives.

Promotions and Advertising

Advertising is a core competency for any successful marketer. This concentration prepares graduates for future careers at advertising agencies as sales agents and managers. Students learn best practices in advertising, delving into modern digital marketing.

Marketing Management

According to the BLS, advertising, promotions, and marketing managers earned a median annual salary of $141,490 as of May 2020. This is likely the highest-paying career in the field, and this concentration prepares graduates for managerial jobs through management-focused coursework.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is the present and future of the marketing field. This concentration equips learners with foundational knowledge in search engine optimization and social media marketing, placing them at the forefront of the field.

Marketing Analytics

Marketing increasingly relies on data to determine how to best sell goods and services. This concentration teaches students key quantitative research and evaluation methods to determine the success of different marketing campaigns.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs

What Can I Do With a Graduate Certificate in Marketing?

Graduates with a certificate in marketing can pursue careers in almost any field, as most businesses rely on marketing to sell their products. Possible occupations include positions in advertising, marketing, marketing research and analytics, and management.

Below are several career and continuing education paths that professionals with a graduate certificate in marketing can pursue.

Popular Career Paths

Popular Continuing Education Paths

How Much Money Can I Make With a Graduate Certificate in Marketing?

According to the BLS, business and financial professionals earned a median annual wage of $72,250 as of May 2020. However, salary potential for graduates with a certificate in marketing can vary widely. For example, managerial roles in the field paid a median annual salary of $141,490 as of May 2020, while market research analysts made a median annual wage of $65,810.

Keep in mind that no certificate or degree can guarantee you a job, and salary potential varies widely based on factors like a worker's location, employer, experience level, education, and professional certifications.

How Do I Get Into a Graduate Certificate in Marketing Program?

Admission requirements for graduate certificate in marketing programs can vary from school to school, but the core elements are often similar. Since these are graduate-level programs, all applicants must hold a bachelor's degree to qualify for admission. Prospective students must fill out an application on each school's website.

Most programs require applicants to submit official undergraduate transcripts, and some schools require a minimum undergraduate GPA, often 3.0. Some schools also require applicants to submit GMAT scores. Application essays and letters of recommendation are also common requirements.

In some cases, applicants may be able to earn credit for prior life and work experience. Most schools require students to submit a resume for this purpose. Some programs actually require relevant professional experience from prospective students.

Frequently Asked Questions About Graduate Certificate in Marketing Programs

How much does it cost to get a graduate certificate in marketing?

Costs vary widely by school. Make sure to research individual program costs on each school's website.

The main appeal of graduate certificates in marketing is that they provide some of the same knowledge at a much lower cost than MBA programs. Furthermore, students who know they want to pursue careers in marketing can gain concentrated knowledge in the field without having to take courses in other areas.

Is a graduate certificate in marketing program worth it?

Yes. If you're not sure if you want to commit the time and money required to pursue an MBA, a graduate certificate in marketing can provide an excellent alternative. In these programs, you can gain some of the same knowledge you in an MBA program, and you can qualify for many of the same jobs.

Furthermore, if you ultimately decide to pursue an MBA, you can likely transfer the credits you earned during your graduate certificate in marketing program toward that degree.

What is a graduate certificate equivalent to?

A graduate certificate is its own type of program, so there is no real equivalent. A graduate certificate's closest comparison is a master's degree, as both involve graduate-level coursework. However, a graduate certificate typically requires students to earn fewer credits, and it costs less money than a master's degree.

For comparison purposes, you can think of a graduate certificate like a focused cross section of a master's degree. For example, a graduate certificate in marketing sometimes covers the marketing portion of a general MBA.

Does a graduate certificate mean anything?

Yes. A graduate certificate demonstrates completion of graduate-level coursework in a specific discipline. As such, a graduate certificate demonstrates high-level competency in that specific field. While not as prestigious, a graduate certificate program in marketing teaches many of the same core marketing competencies that learners would develop during an MBA program.

Furthermore, graduate certificate programs are often more specialized than MBA programs. If you know you want to focus on a career in digital marketing, marketing analytics, or international marketing, a graduate certificate in the field could provide the best option.

Is it worth getting a marketing certificate?

For the right type of student, yes. If you know you want to pursue a career in marketing but don't want to commit significant time and money to an MBA, a graduate certificate in marketing is often worth getting. Furthermore, graduate certificates are often good fits for working professionals and parents, since they often only take one year of part-time coursework.

A marketing certificate is also a good fit for students who want to pursue careers in specific marketing subfields, such as digital marketing, international marketing, marketing management, or marketing analytics.

Feature Image: Tom Werner / DigitalVision / Getty Images

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