Become an Advertising Director in 5 Steps

Advertising directors, often working in conjunction with marketing and public relations professionals, develop and manage various strategies for promoting a product or service. Advertising directors focus on the creation and placement of ads. Generally, a bachelor's degree is required, and directors usually work their way up through the ranks of an advertising agency. Schools offering Advertising degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Do Advertising Directors Do?

Advertising directors create and execute campaigns to bring attention to a product or service. They oversee all aspects of the advertising process, often working with art directors, financial managers and sales staff. Advertising directors need to have a good knowledge of consumer trends and understand how to create interest in their product. They must have strong communication skills, a good understanding of business and be good at overseeing many different aspects of a campaign at once. In the table below, you can learn some details about a career as an advertising director:

Degree RequiredBachelor's
Education Field of StudyAdvertising, journalism
Key Responsibilities Design advertising campaigns and promotional products, coordinate market research studies
Job Growth (2014-2024)*5% (for advertising and marketing managers)
Median Salary (2015)*$95,890 (for advertising and marketing managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Research Advertising Director Roles and Education Requirements

The advertising director is responsible for the promotional department and its endeavors. As an advertising director, you may oversee design staff as well as advertising account executives, creative directors and media directors. You and your staff may be involved with advertising campaigns for television, print, radio, Internet and a growing number of multimedia applications. Advertising directors generally hold a bachelor's degree in advertising, marketing, journalism or a related area.

Step 2: Earn a Degree

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many employers prefer to hire advertising directors with degrees in advertising or journalism. These types of programs are offered widely at colleges and universities. Advertising programs teach students to use media for promotional purposes. Programs might cover copywriting, advertising sales, consumer behavior, principles of advertising and creative strategies.

Step 3: Get a Job in Advertising

You might start out in an entry-level position as a copywriter, advertising sales agent or market research analyst. Per BLS statistics, employment of advertising sales agents is predicted to decrease slightly by -3% from 2014-2024. However, much faster than average job growth of 19% is expected for market research analysts during the same time.

Step 4: Attain an Advanced-Level Job

Most advertising directors do not enter the workforce at the executive level. They must work their way up to a director position. After starting out in entry-level positions, they may work their way up to account executive or sales manager before reaching the director level.

Based on online job advertisements for advertising directors in February 2014, companies seeking to hire advertising directors required a bachelor's degree, several years of work experience and familiarity with a wide variety of advertising tools, like Adobe Creative Suite, as well as coding programs. Some employers only required a year of experience, while others requested between 2-5 or even 8-10 years of experience and preferred that applicants have a master's degree.

According to the BLS, employment for advertising and promotions managers is expected to increase 5% between 2014 and 2024. Job growth is affected by the decline in the newspaper industry, although more jobs will be created in online news sectors. Competition is strong for many advertising roles. Those with knowledge or experience in using the Internet for marketing and advertising purposes may have an advantage.

Step 5: Consider Professional Organizations and Continuing Education

Joining a professional organization, such as the American Association of Advertising Agencies, can show employers and clients that you have a high level of dedication and competency. Additionally, these organizations often sponsor opportunities for continuing education through conferences, courses and workshops.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A bachelor's degree-level education is also beneficial if you want to work as a market research analyst, evaluating products against market conditions and advising on best advertising practice. Marketing directors perform similar roles to both advertising directors and market research analysts, overseeing all aspects of a product's or service's marketing process and estimating demand in the market. If the communication aspect of becoming an advertising director is appealing, consider studying to become a public relations specialist. These professionals generally hold a bachelor's degree in public relations, business, communication or a similar field, and are in charge of handling communications with the public for an individual or organization.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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