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What Education Is Needed for a Career in Marketing?

A bachelor's degree in marketing or a related field is often necessary to obtain an entry-level marketing position. Read on to learn about the skills and training you'll need when starting a career in marketing.

Starting a Career in Marketing

Marketing careers involve the planning and execution of public programs and campaigns, devised to generate interest for a product or service among consumers. These workers may work to identify their target market, estimate demand, set prices, and create and implement marketing plans.

Most jobs in this field require at least a bachelor's degree, such as one in business and marketing. Entry-level jobs in this field include market research analyst, marketing specialist, and account executive; after gaining experience, one may advance into marketing manager or marketing director positions. Some advanced positions may also require a master's degree. A marketing degree could also prepare you for a career in a related field, such as promotions, public relations, advertising, or sales. Here's a look at two career options for a marketing major:

Market Research Analysts Marketing Managers
Education Requirements Bachelor's Degree Bachelor's Degree
Average Annual Pay (2018) $70,960 $147,240
Job Outlook (2016-26) 23% growth 10% growth
Certification Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) offered by the Insights Association is an optional credential for analysts. None required for managers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Business and Marketing Education Requirements

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that many entry-level marketing jobs typically require a bachelor's degree. Undergraduate marketing education programs typically lead to a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing or a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing. Because marketers play many roles in diverse organizations, such degree programs often focus on a broad array of marketing skills and strategies and can help aspiring marketers perform their jobs more effectively. Students may also choose to specialize in specific marketing subfield, such as social media marketing, advertising, sports management, or international marketing. One could even choose a degree that focuses on music marketing or fashion marketing.

Marketing Classes in College

Marketing classes in college will typically explore different sub-specialties in the industry, including (but not limited to) marketing management, social media marketing, product management, and marketing research. Students could also choose to take business, communication or public relations courses to help them develop a wide range of business skills, such as those related to accounting, public speaking, product promotion, and customer service.

Common courses in a marketing degree program may include:

  • Strategic management
  • Marketing strategies
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Digital marketing
  • Consumer behavior

Required Skills for a Career in Marketing

Because professional marketers must be able to analyze international and national markets, aspiring marketers should be able to follow economic trends and developments. Many marketing professionals work in a team, so it helps to have skills as both a leader and a team player. As professionals who interact with consumers and brand managers, marketers also need strong written and verbal communication skills. Some of the additional capacities marketing professionals should exhibit include:

  • Ability to analyze what products will sell
  • Knowledge of product pricing and placement
  • Talent for understanding consumer choices
  • Creativity to generate new marketing strategies and campaigns

Marketing Manager Qualifications

Individuals may choose to pursue managerial positions in this field. Marketing manager education requirements also include a bachelor's degree, but some higher-level experience and knowledge in advertising, sales, and marketing campaigns may also be needed. Courses in business law, economics, statistics, and mathematics (along with others that add to their competitive marketing edge) may also prove beneficial when seeking this high-level position. They also have the ability to effectively direct their teams in executing the activities and strategies involved in business marketing campaigns, and possess sharp skills in decision-making, creativity, and analysis.