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Getting education that meets the employment demands of a growing industry is generally a good idea, and marketing jobs are expected to explode over the next several years. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that nearly 140,000 new market research analyst positions will open up between 2016 and 2026, and the right education is essential for those hoping to get into the industry.
On this page, we'll give you some info about marketing certificate programs, online marketing schools and the market research profession in general. We'll also provide helpful tips for aspiring marketing managers and list salary figures calculated by the BLS. Read on to learn more about this booming career field.
What do marketers do?
Marketing professionals are employed in just about every industry, and the list of products and services that they market gets longer by the year. Regardless of the specific markets they work in, most market research personnel have day-to-day responsibilities like these:
- Collecting market data by using methods such as surveys and opinion polls
- Meeting with clients and management to determine the scope and goals of a project
- Planning promotional campaigns such as giveaways, contests and advertising pushes
- Evaluating the look and feel of campaign materials and monitoring their rollout
Some market research analysts work alone, while others work as part of a team that may include writers, designers and statisticians. Most jobs in the field are full-time positions.
How to Become a Marketing Research Analyst or Manager
Most marketing jobs require a fair amount of critical thinking and analysis, and a college degree program can help you develop the tools you need to come out ahead. Here's a quick list of steps that marketing professionals usually take on their way to the workforce:
- Earn a high school diploma or equivalency degree
- Enroll in a two- or four-year college program in marketing, communications or another related field
- Take courses in marketing techniques, research methods, social sciences and business
- Consider business- or marketing-related extracurricular activities and clubs
Each individual institution sets its own marketing degree curriculum, although there are several courses for marketing majors that most programs have in common. If you're wondering what you're likely to study in marketing schools, check out the list below:
- Consumer behavior
- Social media marketing
- Sustainable marketing
- Digital marketing
- Database management
- Promotional strategies
- Non-profit marketing
- Marketing communications
Marketing degree and certificate programs
The amount of education required for entry-level marketing jobs tends to vary from employer to employer, but most hiring managers prefer candidates with at least some formal training. Let's take a look at the three most common types of program at marketing schools:
- Undergraduate certificate. Marketing certificate programs offered either online or on campus may take as few as 12 credits to complete, but they tend to cover only the basics of the field. If you already have a business, math or communications degree, however, a certificate in marketing may be the right move.
- Associate degree. These two-year degrees offer a comfortable balance between courses in core marketing concepts and general education subjects. Graduates can either transfer their credits to a university and earn a bachelor's degree or test the waters for employment right out of community college.
- Bachelor's degree. Some employers require that candidates hold a bachelor's degree, while others are more interested in demonstrated competence than a specific level of education. Bachelor's degrees typically take around four years of full-time study and offer a wide range of electives.
These degree levels are commonly known in the U.S., but international students may need to search for their marketing programs under different names. In Australia, for example, marketing schools offer an advanced diploma of business or marketing instead of an undergraduate certificate. Master's degrees are available as well, for highly advanced marketing study.
Online marketing schools
There's good news for students looking into marketing degree and certificate programs online. Numerous colleges and universities throughout the U.S. serve as online marketing schools, providing the same level of education as brick-and-mortar programs while accommodating students with the added schedule flexibility of the virtual classroom.
Online students at marketing schools should be able to find bachelor's or associate degree programs in marketing, as well as short-term certificate plans to either introduce them to the discipline or train them in a specific marketing niche. Always check to make sure that your online school is accredited before enrolling.
Candidates for entry-level jobs in marketing aren't typically required to earn certification before they can be employed, but there are several available credentials that might be a good move for your career down the line. Google offers certification and individual qualification (IQ) in its Google Ads and Google Analytics products, respectively, and credentials such as Professional Certified Marketer (PCM) and Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) are available through industry groups.
Career advancement options for marketers
It's far from impossible to climb up the professional ladder in the marketing field. Building a solid career history and a reputation for creative and accurate work can raise your stock in the industry, for one, which can help you land positions of greater responsibility and increased compensation.
You can also go back to school and target a degree or certificate program that you know will add value to your existing skillset. If you want to move into high-level market research, for example, a master's degree can help; if you're hoping to try your hand at management, additional business courses might help push you over the hump.
Skills and Abilities for Marketers
Certain skills and abilities can be the difference between a competent marketer and an outstanding one. Here's a list of some of the top traits for market research analysts, marketing specialists and marketing managers, according to the Occupational Information Network (O*NET):
- Critical thinking has a high value in the marketing field, whether you're focusing on data analysis or working on a new campaign
- Fluency of ideas, or an aptitude for generating numerous ideas on a given subject, can provide plenty of material for your team to work with
- Complex problem solving isn't always necessary in a marketing job, but being able to do it when it comes up can earn you major office cred
- Written expression can help you write snappy copy, create catchy campaign slogans and draft concise and readable reports on your analysis
- Problem sensitivity allows marketers to detect when something is wrong or about to go wrong, potentially helping avert serious crises before they happen
Marketers and Marketing Manager Salary and Career Outlook
It's no secret that marketing is a hot job field, but just how hot is it? The answer to that question can depend on several factors -- geography, education level and industry tend to factor in, to name just three examples -- but national averages can give you a decent idea of what to expect from your first marketing job.
Here's a table of BLS data that shows marketers' and marketing managers' salary and job growth projections in today's career market:
|Career||Total Employment||Annual Mean Wage||Projected Job Growth Rate|
|Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists||638,200||$70,960||22.8%|
Professional Resources for Market Research Analysts
National professional associations are great resources for marketers and marketing students. They often advocate for the interests of their professions, as well as providing a range of membership benefits for those who pay their dues and join up. Here's some detail on a few professional groups you might join:
- Insights Association offers membership packages that include access to continuing education archives, national conference events and local engagement through supplementary membership in one of eleven regional association chapters.
- The American Marketing Association (AMA) provides its members with exclusive downloadable career tools, members-only webcasts and discounts on Professional Certified Marketer certification exams.
- The Professional Marketing Association (PMA) is an example of an organization that's regional, rather than national. It provides networking, peer recognition, community involvement and professional development opportunities for marketers in southwestern Ohio.