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

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What kind of job can you get with an associate or bachelor's degree in marketing management? Find out degree program requirements, online options as well as info on courses and marketing management training programs.
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Studying Marketing Management: Degrees at a Glance

Marketing managers plan and design the promotion of a product or service. Specialists in the field understand consumer behavior and build advertising campaigns designed to catch an audience's attention. The marketing management major provides a broad education in communications, merchandising and business regulations. Graduates of these programs work in purchasing, customer relations and promotions, to name a few.

An associate degree program offers a foundation in marketing theories and concepts; you will learn the promotional and advertising techniques employed in multiple industries. The bachelor's degree program provides a deeper understanding of the field through courses that emphasize the analysis of business administration concepts.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed that advertising sales agents and marketing managers could expect job growth of 13-14% from 2010-2020, while retail buyers could expect a 7% increase in job growth for the same time period (

Associate Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals interested in entry-level positions in sales, retail or advertising People who want to pursue a career in advertising or marketing management
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Demonstrator or product promoter ($28,000)*
- Advertising sales agent ($55,000)*
- Wholesale or retail buyer ($57,000)*
- Market research analyst ($67,000)*
- Marketing manager ($126,000)*
Time to Completion 2 years, full-time 4 years, full-time
Common Graduation Requirements Roughly 60 credits Roughly 120 credits
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent High school diploma or equivalent
Online Availability Yes Yes

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

Associate Degree in Marketing Management

An associate degree program can prepare you for entry-level careers in demonstration, promotion and advertising. Schools design their programs to offer a basic understanding of market research, advertising and digital marketing. You may choose from a specialization in industrial sales and marketing or advertising. Marketing requires creativity and solid communication skills; programs place emphasis on creative development and integrated communications. You can expect to take courses in psychology that examine human behavior in the context of buying habits.

Pros and Cons


  • Positions available to associate degree holders paid relatively competitive mean annual salaries in 2011
  • Some programs offer specialization, which provides flexibility and a customized learning experience
  • Some positions require a high school diploma and your degree can influence your marketability


  • Programs may not prepare you for a career in marketing management
  • Bachelor's degree holders will experience the best job prospects for advertising sales positions
  • Some programs do not offer coursework that emphasizes statistics or marketing research concepts

Common Courses and Requirements

Training in marketing research, promotional trends and visual merchandising is often included in these roughly 60-credit programs. Some programs offer a concentration in sports marketing, digital business, entrepreneurship or professional selling. You may be required to take an internship and apply your knowledge in a supervised, hands-on setting. Following are some common courses offered by these programs:

  • E-commerce marketing
  • Retail management
  • Consumer behavior
  • Services marketing
  • Buying and merchandising
  • International marketing

Online Degree Info

Online degree programs exist and some schools provide training through a complete online experience. Completing this degree can take 18 to 24 months, depending on your schedule. Distance-education programs usually offer coursework similar to traditional options. Some schools design courses that transfer to a bachelor's degree program and the curriculum accommodates working professionals.

Stand Out with This Degree

Experience in sales or customer service can influence access to job opportunities. The BLS reports that advertising sales agents with a proven record of accomplishment in sales techniques will enjoy better job prospects. Following are a few steps you can take to stand out:

  • Take internship opportunities at sales or marketing firms. Gaining experience during your time in school offers the ability to apply your training immediately and consult with your instructors if you have questions about the complexities of sales or marketing.
  • Enroll in customer service classes. If your college offers elective courses in customer service representative - also known as CSR - training, consider enrolling to increase your interaction skills.

Bachelor's in Marketing Management

The bachelor's degree program expands the marketing management education to include product management, distribution and strategic marketing. Schools design programs to deliver training in advanced communication, data analysis and finance. Some schools offer an accelerated degree program that requires applicants to have already earned an associate degree. You can find employment in fields like marketing management, market analysis or business development. Many universities offer enriching campus-based programs, including marketing competitions or access to student chapters of marketing associations.

Pros and Cons


  • Marketing managers - with the appropriate experience - earned a mean annual salary of $126,000*
  • Market research analysts could expect 41% job growth over the 2010-2020 decade**
  • Many programs offer specialization, which provides a highly flexible and tailored learning experience


  • Associate degree holders earned mean salaries comparable to bachelor's degree holders, for example: buyers earned $57,000*
  • Market research analyst positions may require a master's degree, especially those in leadership
  • You can expect strong competition against experienced specialists and managers for marketing manager, advertising or promotion positions

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures), **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010-2020 job growth projections).

Common Courses and Requirements

The bachelor's degree program may require major preparatory coursework in addition to core and general education courses. You may also take a capstone course and marketing electives to round out the roughly 120 credits required by the program. Some schools require a combination of advanced training, guided marketing classes and free electives. You will take courses in marketing principles, strategic management, sales and distribution management, business finance, brand management, business law and international business.

Online Degree Info

The online bachelor's degree program is usually designed for working professionals or people running their own business. Similarly to campus-based programs, online programs require roughly 120 credits in courses. You will study accounting and finance, marketing and communication, business law, ethics and economics. Some schools deliver their online programs in a non-credit format and require the completion of assessments to determine your progress. Keep in mind, this structure may be best suited to those with substantial work experience in the marketing field.

Stand Out with This Degree

Experience can influence how well you perform in the job market. Employers may prefer candidates who have some experience in sales, promotions or marketing prior to making a job offer. Following are some steps you can take to enhance your marketability:

  • Take courses in digital advertising and marketing. The newspaper publishing industry - one of the top employers of marketing managers - was set to decline by 22% over the 2010-2020 decade, due to the increasing popularity of electronic media. Experience with the languages used in digital advertising - like Flash, Javascript, CSS or HTML - may make job prospects more promising.
  • Take an internship in the industry that interests you. For example, if you want to work in retail, take an internship in a retailer's marketing department. Employers prefer to hire candidates with experience and a proven record of accomplishment.

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