Study Marketing: Bachelor's, Associate & Online Degree Info

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What will you learn in a marketing program? Read about degree requirements, pros and cons of an associate's and bachelor's degree in marketing and potential careers for graduates of these degree programs.
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Marketing Associate's and Bachelor's: Degrees at a Glance

If you've often been told that you're persuasive, creative and have a talent for sales, you might be the perfect candidate for an associate's or bachelor's degree in marketing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects there to be some career hotspots in the field of marketing. One such field is market research analysis, which is expected to have the faster-than-average job growth of 41% during the 2010-2020 decade (www.bls.gov). The BLS also predicts a faster than average growth of 23% in demand for public relations specialists. However, other marketing careers will experience less growth. Positions expected to have average rates of growth include marketing manager at 14%, advertising sales agent at 13% and market research interviewers at 17%.

Graduates of associate degree programs may find entry-level positions as market research interviewers or in sales. Those who decide to earn a bachelor's degree and have some prior experience could have career options in specialist or management positions. Let's take a look at how these two degrees compare:

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals seeking an entry-level marketing position Experienced employees who want to move into a management role in marketing
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary) - Market research interviewer ($30,000)*
- Advertising sales agent ($45,000)*
Experience may be required for some positions:
- Market research analyst ($60,000)*
- Public relations specialist ($53,000)*
- Marketing manager ($116,000)*
Time to Completion 2 years (full-time) About 2 years with an associate's degree, 3-5 years without (attending full-time)
Common Graduation Requirements - Roughly 15-20 courses (general education/core requirements plus major)
- Satisfactory grade point average of 2.0
Students entering with an associate's degree may have already fulfilled some core requirements:
Most (or all) of the associate's degree requirements, plus:
- Roughly 12-13 university core courses
- Roughly 28 area and elective courses
-Grade point average of at least 2.0
-Internship/practicum encouraged
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent, placement tests High school diploma or equivalent, acceptable SAT or ACT scores
Online Availability Yes, limited Yes, limited

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

Associate's Degree in Marketing

An associate's degree program can provide you with the training and educational background to put your persuasive abilities and creative thinking to work in a marketing career. If you decide to earn an associate's degree in marketing, you'll probably attend a community or technical college. After completing your associate's degree, you'll have the option of either entering the workforce as a marketing professional or transferring to a university to further your education in a bachelor's degree program.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • An associate's degree qualifies you for many entry-level sales positions
  • It only takes about two years to complete, which allows you to start your career right away
  • You might have an easier time being admitted into a university or four-year college if you decide to either transfer or continue your education in the future

Cons

  • Most analyst and managerial positions require a bachelor's degree and, often, experience
  • Some of your career options may require less education than an associate's degree
  • Some community college courses may not transfer to a bachelor's degree program

Common Courses and Requirements

You'll be required to complete a variety of courses for an associate's degree in marketing, including:

  • Consumer behavior
  • Branding
  • Social media marketing
  • Global marketing
  • Business-to-business marketing

Additionally, you might take courses in other marketing topics such as direct marketing, retailing, accounting and public relations. You'll also have to complete several general education courses to hone your math and writing skills.

Online Degree Options

Online programs granting an associate's degree in marketing are offered by a few schools, but aren't widely available. Programs offering the option to complete some courses online, but requiring you to be on-site for others, are more common. In comparison with on-site programs at the same community or technical college, there are no differences in courses and degree requirements for online programs.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Help your associate's degree in marketing sell itself by increasing your technological savvy.

  • Be on the lookout for courses that increase your knowledge of e-commerce and electronic media marketing. The Internet and social media have become very important venues for marketing professionals.
  • Choose as many transferable courses as possible to make it easier if you eventually decide to earn a bachelor's degree.
  • If your school does not require it, consider assembling a portfolio of your best work to showcase your skills for prospective employers.

Bachelor's Degree in Marketing

Would you like to learn how to create a successful marketing campaign and turn consumers into customers? If you have experience or currently work in an entry-level marketing position and decide to enroll in a bachelor's degree program in marketing, you'll be taking an important step towards advancing into a management-level career. A bachelor's degree will include coursework designed to increase your analytical and communication skills as well as help you gain the insight required for effective marketing.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • A bachelor's degree can help prepare you for a management position, especially if you have some experience
  • Bachelor's degree programs in marketing frequently offer the opportunity to complete an internship, which helps provide experience in the field
  • People with a bachelor's degree or higher earn better wages and are less likely to be unemployed than those with lower levels of education

Cons

  • For some quickly growing fields, such as market research analysis, employers may prefer a master's degree
  • Prior work experience may be required for higher level positions, such as in sales management
  • A bachelor's degree may require you to attend college for up to five years

Common Courses and Requirements

Some of the courses required for a bachelor's degree in marketing are similar to the coursework in an associate's degree program. However, you will likely take a wider variety of marketing and business classes in a bachelor's degree program. The number of mathematically-oriented classes will also increase. Common courses in a bachelor's degree program in marketing are likely to include:

  • Advertising
  • Public relations
  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Marketing research
  • Sales management

You'll also complete core general education classes. In some programs you may be required to complete an internship. Even if it's not required, an internship is highly recommended for marketing students.

Online Degree Options

There are online programs leading to a bachelor's degree in marketing, but they're not widely available. Online programs are the same as their on-site counterparts at the same college or university in terms of course requirements, but some programs may require an extra class that teach you how to use your school's online course platform. One major difference between universities with online study in marketing compared to those that offer only on-site programs is that the latter frequently requires, or strongly encourages, that students complete an internship.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Make yourself stand out by becoming an expert in up-and-coming areas of marketing.

  • Choose electives that will contribute to your knowledge of Internet marketing. Excellent computer skills are a must for marketing professionals because advertising is increasingly becoming an electronic vocation.
  • If you're good at math, think about taking some extra statistics and research methods courses to gain a competitive edge in the growing field of market research analysis.
  • Join an organization for marketing or advertising professionals. There might be a chapter of one or more organizations on your campus.

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