Commercial Advertising Jobs: Salary and Career Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in commercial advertising. Read on to learn more about career options along with education and salary information. Schools offering Advertising degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Commercial Advertiser?

Client-side occupations in commercial advertising can work as advertising sales agents, ad and promotions managers, or freelance artists working for an ad agency. Commercial advertising isn't just the 30-second spots you see on television; it can also include print and web-based advertising, signs and banners, or events and displays. And not all jobs in commercial advertising require you to have mad creative skills - some non-creative jobs are available in sales, research, and supervision. The following chart provides an overview of the education, job outlook and average salary for a few occupations in this field.

Ad Sales AgentAd and Promotions ManagerFreelance Artist
Education Required HS diploma Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Sales, marketing, customer relations Advertising, marketing, project management, business administration Art, media design
Key Responsibilities Set up and track sales accounts with customers Create, plan and oversee advertising campaigns to brand and market products or services; hire and coordinate personnel Create works that meet ad campaign and clients' objectives
Job Growth (2018-2028)* 2% decline 3% growth 3% growth (includes all graphic designers)
Median Salary (2018)* $51,740 $117,130 $50,370 (includes all graphic designers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are Some Jobs in Commercial Advertising?

In the field of advertising, you could pursue a number of job opportunities. A common entry-level job is an advertising sales agent, a person who sets up advertising accounts for websites, newspapers, phone books and other forms of print and electronic media. Common employers include Web content publishers, broadcast media outlets and cable television program distributors.

Management-level jobs in advertising generally involve working with companies to coordinate marketing and advertising campaigns. Employment opportunities can be found with advertising firms and with large companies that oversee their own advertising campaigns.

What Do I Do If I Work In Marketing?

Professionals who work in marketing positions consult with market researchers and product developers to identify new client markets, maximize profits, determine pricing and monitor trends to identify potential for new product development. Professionals who work at this capacity must have strong proficiencies in math, statistics and finance in order to analyze the market and effectively interpret customer databases. You must be able to provide analysis reports, develop marketing campaigns and calculate financial forecasts that will help your clients identify strategic opportunities and help optimize marketing program performance.

What Do I Do When I Work In Sales?

Typical advertising and promotion departments include sales agents and account executives. Sales agents work to increase a company's revenue by targeting new clients to broaden the customer base of a company for which you work. This means researching new clients and gathering information about potential customers. To do this effectively, you'll typically be trained by a sales manager in new strategies and sales plans during weekly sales meetings. Sales agents who advance to sales manager positions assist in managing operational functions of the office. They report sales metrics, growth, retention, anticipated churn and other critical data.

How Much Will I Make?

As of May 2018, the median income for advertising sales agents was $51,740 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( Those in the civic and social organizations field made the most, with the average wage of $96,770, reports the BLS. Those in management positions in advertising earned a median annual salary of $117,130. In a more creative role, graphic artists earned a median salary of $50,370.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

For those with a flair for the creative, there are quite a few jobs in commercial advertising that fall into more of an artist category. They span a vast pool of specialties that include filmmakers, video editors, photographers, illustrators and graphic designers. Typically, an advertising agency hires a string of artists that they work with interchangeably on a freelance basis. These artists are hired based on their portfolios of relevant work; many of these individuals secure these positions through their agents. Those interested in commercial advertising but not necessarily art could work as researchers or data analysts, accountants, lawyers or paralegals, telemarketers, or demonstration workers.

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