Advertising Management Degrees: Bachelor's, Associate & Online Class Info

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What will you learn in an advertising management degree program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of an associate's and bachelor's degree and potential careers.
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Studying Advertising Management: At a Glance

Advertising managers may oversee strategies, budgets, staff and other aspects of advertising campaigns. Students who pursue a degree in advertising management will learn management skills and how to market and sell products, services and brands. A curriculum in an advertising degree program may include classes in consumer research, marketing and communications. Schools may offer programs with similar degree names (such as advertising, public relations or marketing).

Typically, a bachelor's degree is the minimum education requirement for most careers in advertising, including advertising management. Entry-level positions, particularly those in advertising sales, may not require a bachelor's degree; however, due to the competition among applicants, it may be challenging to secure a position without it. Senior positions may require a graduate degree.

The employment outlook for advertising managers was expected to grow by 14% from 2010 to 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Job applicants with a combination of relevant work experience and education credentials are most poised for success.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? - People who want entry-level careers in advertising
- Students who want to prepare for a bachelor's-level degree program
- Experienced workers who want professional development or advancement opportunities
- People who are new to advertising or are making a career change
Common Career Paths (with approximate annual salary) - Advertising Sales Agents ($55,400 - typically commission-based)*- Media Buyer ($56,600)**
- Junior Copywriter ($42,500)**
- Advertising and Promotions Managers ($103,400 - may require additional education)*
Time to Completion Typically 2 years (full-time) Typically 4 years (full-time)
Common Graduation Requirements - Satisfy coursework (approximately 60 credits)
- Maintain GPA standards
- Satisfy course requirements (approximately 120 credits)
- Complete internship requirements
- Maintain GPA standards
- Complete academic portfolio, if applicable
Prerequisites - High school diploma or equivalent - High school diploma or undergraduate transcripts
Online Availability Yes, currently degree programs are rare Yes

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 mean figures). **Salary.com median salary figures.

Associate's Degree in Advertising Management

In an advertising management associate degree program, you will learn the foundations of communications, advertising and business. Typically, associate degree programs are intended to prepare students for entry-level careers or for further education, such as a bachelor's degree. Since most advertising positions require a bachelor's degree, graduates of associate's degree programs may need to pursue a higher degree to increase their promotion and earning potentials. However, some schools allow students to transfer academic credits from an associate's program to a bachelor's program.

Advertising degree programs are typically structured as an Associate of Arts (or Science) degree, which typically require 60 credits and may take two years to complete.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Associate degree programs can be more flexible than bachelor's degree programs, with daytime, evening or weekend courses.
  • If you are unsure about pursuing a career in advertising, an associate's program can provide an opportunity to test your interest and skill level.
  • If you think you might pursue a higher degree at some point, you may be able to transfer credits to a bachelor's degree program.

Cons

  • Advertising management positions usually require applicants to have at least a bachelor's degree in a related field.
  • Entry-level workers, particularly those in advertising sales, may have unclear salary expectations because performance-based (or commission) pay can make up a large portion of their salary.
  • Many advertising sales agents work long and irregular hours, including weekend and holiday hours, to keep up with client demands.*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Common Courses and Requirements

In an associate's degree program, you will learn the principles of advertising theory and practice. In addition to a degree program's core advertising courses, students will likely need to complete general education courses and some business-focused courses. Additionally, some associate's degree programs may encourage students to complete an internship.

Students can expect to complete courses on the following topics:

  • Introduction to business
  • Principles of marketing
  • Management
  • Introduction to media production
  • Consumer analysis and behavior
  • Business strategy

Online Course Options

Many individual advertising courses are readily available online. These online courses are aimed at both students who are interested in pursuing a degree in advertising and those who are experienced professionals wanting to expand their current skill sets.

Currently, there are some distance learning degrees available; however, most are focused purely on advertising, not advertising management. If you are interested in fully online associate's degrees in advertising, you should thoroughly research the program to ensure it is accredited by the U.S. Department of Education or one of its accrediting agencies.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

If your school does not offer an internship, you can pursue professional experience on your own. Consider volunteering for on-campus publications that use advertisements, such as a school newspaper. You can gain valuable experience by selling and formatting advertisements while you continue your academic studies. Alternatively, consider web or print advertising for a local a business if you cannot find an opportunity on campus. In addition to gaining practical work experience, you will learn how to work with clients.

Bachelor's Degree in Advertising Management

A bachelor's degree is required for most advertising positions and related careers in public relations, marketing and communications. In an advertising management bachelor's degree program, you learn to hone your creative and business skills and apply them in practical applications.

The format of a degree program varies with each school, but most require at least 120 academic credit hours. Some advertising management bachelor's degree programs require students to obtain a minor in a related field or complete supplementary courses in business. Curriculums commonly include internship and/or portfolio requirements.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Most advertising positions require at least a bachelor's degree.
  • Many bachelor's degree programs include an internship requirement, which provides inexperienced students with relevant work experience.
  • Those who plan to continue their studies in graduate school are well-poised for admission; competitive master's degree programs typically require a bachelor's degree in a relevant field.

Cons

  • The job market for management positions in advertising is very competitive, and most employers prefer job candidates to have a master's degree.
  • Professional experience is very important to employers, and it can be difficult to land your first relevant job even with a bachelor's degree.
  • Careers in advertising can be stressful because they are client-focused and deadline-driven.

Common Courses and Requirements

You can expect a variety of communications, marketing and business courses in an advertising management bachelor's degree program. Typical courses may include consumer behavior and customer satisfaction, media planning, advertising law, advertising sales, media strategy and market research.

In addition to academic coursework, your advertising management bachelor's degree program will likely require you to satisfy an internship requirement, where you will apply their academic knowledge to solve an advertising problem facing a local organization or business. You may also be required to submit an academic portfolio by the end of their senior year. Generally, a portfolio shows a student's range and flexibility through a variety of advertising copy, design or multimedia examples.

Online Course Options

There are online course options if you're looking to pursue a bachelor's degree in advertising. Some academic institutions offer a handful of online advertising courses to supplement their traditional on-campus courses, while other schools offer bachelor's degree programs are entirely online.

Depending on the curriculum, online programs may not require you to complete an internship. If an internship is required, you will likely be able to complete your internship at a business or organization in your local area.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Due to the growing online presence of many businesses, you should consider becoming knowledgeable about web technologies and social media to better serve potential clients and make yourself more marketable. If you're interested in enhancing your web skill, you can take additional courses in web and graphic design or multimedia programs. You may also want to consider joining on-campus or professional organizations, where you can benefit from guest speakers, professional development and networking opportunities.

Popular Schools

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Featured Schools

Full Sail University

  • B.S. - Media Communications
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Colorado Technical University

  • BS - Business Administration - Marketing
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Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Marketing
  • BS - Communication

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Grand Canyon University

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