How Do I Become an Account Manager?

Explore the career requirements for account managers. Get the facts about education requirements, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Sales & Marketing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is an Account Manager?

Account managers work in a variety of industries and serve as a client's main contact within a business or organization. They must be familiar with the details of a client's individual account so they can provide them with information, explain changes in the account and possibly provide advice and counsel to clients. Your specific duties as an account manager will likely change depending on your specific role and what kind of industry you work in. For example, account examples in the advertising and promotions industry may work with clients who want to plan new advertising campaigns. Within the finance industry, you may work as a financial analyst and provide clients with investment advice. See the table below for a brief outline of some career facts on account managers in two different industries.

Advertising and Promotions Manager Portfolio Manager
Degree Required Bachelor's Bachelor's
Education Field of Study Business administration Finance, accounting, mathematics, business or law
Key Responsibilities Meet with clients and company representatives to plan advertising campaigns, gather information, prepare budgets and coordinate marketing teams Evaluate clients' financial standings, guide clients' decisions on investments, insurance, pensions and real estate
Licensure N/A Required for many positions
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 5% for all advertising and promotions managers 12% for all financial analysts
Median Salary (2015)* $95,890 for all advertising and promotions managers $80,310 for all financial analysts

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does an Account Manager Do?

Account managers or executives work in many industries, often acting as their company's representative to particular clients. It's their job to oversee the details of each account, and they might work in advertising, promotions, public relations, marketing, sales and financial industries. Some account managers may be referred to as sales managers, account development managers, sales representatives or other titles.

Duties of account managers can vary based on your industry and company. As an account executive in advertising or marketing, you might gather information, prepare budgets and coordinate teams. You may be responsible for layout, copy, script, video and audio editing. You might meet with clients and company representatives to plan advertising campaigns. You may also work with sales and advertising agencies to develop promotional materials and keep an eye on competitors.

Account managers who work in finance are often called financial advisors. As a finance advisor, you guide clients while they make investment, insurance, pension and real estate decisions. You evaluate your clients' financial standings by appraising their liabilities, assets and cash flows. You may also broker financial products if you have the appropriate licenses.

What Kind of Education Do I Need?

Degree requirements for account managers vary depending on the field, but experience in your industry is often required to advance to these positions. You may need a bachelor's degree in business administration with a minor in marketing if you want to work in promotions management, sales or marketing fields. Financial advisors typically have a bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, mathematics, business or law. A master's degree in business administration may be required for some jobs or advancement opportunities.

How Can I Become Licensed?

According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, you must be registered if you sell or manage financial products (www.finra.org). There are several registrations and examinations available depending on the type of investments or securities. Examples of these are the registered options principal, investment company products representative and general securities representative.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

You may also be interested in a career as a budget analyst, which requires a bachelor's degree. These professionals work with private and public organizations and help them manage their finances, which includes creating budgets and overseeing company spending. Another option is a career as a financial manager. Managers are responsible for an organizations financial health in its entirety. They are responsible for making sure the company is operating within its financial means, investing wisely and developing obtainable long-term financial goals. This job also requires a bachelor's degree.

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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