Is a Marketing Degree Worth It? 5 Factors to Consider

Marketing degree worth it

Were you the kid in the lunchroom who somehow managed to cut deals and trades until you turned your banana into two pudding cups and a pack of fruit snacks? Or maybe you totally cleaned up when it came time to sell magazines or candy around the neighborhood for school fundraisers?

If these examples remind you of your own childhood experiences, you might just be a natural fit to work in marketing.

However, being naturally talented at something doesn’t mean you should just blindly jump into the field. There’s a lot to consider when trying to choose a career path. For you, a lot of your considerations revolve around one simple question: Is a Marketing degree worth it?

To help you get a better handle on the value of a Marketing degree, we took a closer look at some of the outcomes and the work it will take to succeed as a marketing professional.

How much do marketing majors make?

Generally speaking, marketing jobs can come with healthy earning potential. While it’s not easy to get an accurate view of every single marketing role and specialization, the BLS is able to shine some light on some prominent marketing positions.

The BLS reports that marketing specialists and research analysts earned a median annual salary of $65,810 in 2020.1 This sits comfortably above the national average for all occupations, which was $41,950.1

As you might expect, compensation levels can increase quite a bit for higher-level marketing positions. For instance, advertising, promotions and marketing managers earned a median annual salary of $133,460 in 2020, according to the BLS.1 A six-figure income and management position isn’t guaranteed by any means, but it does show there’s potential to earn an impressive paycheck if you’re able to climb the career ladder.

How strong is the demand for marketing professionals?

This is obviously an important question no matter which profession you’re considering. Why go through the effort of earning a Marketing degree if there’s very little demand in the workforce?

You’ll be relieved to hear that the marketing field appears to be in solid shape. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 18 percent increase in employment for marketing specialists and research analysts as well as a projected six percent increase in employment for marketing managers—both eclipsing the average growth rate of four percent for all occupations.1

Another factor to consider is that marketing tends to remain relatively resilient even in weak economic conditions. When money is tight, it makes sense for businesses to lean on the people who can help increase or maintain sales with their expertise. It’s true that there’s no such thing as a completely recession-proof job, but there is some comfort in knowing these positions are often depended upon to help keep get things turned around during tough economic stretches.

What can I do with a Marketing degree?

When you ask yourself, “Is marketing a good major?” it's important to consider what you picture yourself actually doing with the degree. There are lots of specializations within this field, and while you might not enjoy some, others could be exactly what you’re looking for.

  • As a market researcher, you could develop surveys and lead focus groups to discover information that informs messaging with certain audiences.
  • As a sales manager, you could oversee a team of sales professionals, divvying up territories and encouraging the team to meet sales goals.
  • As a content marketer, you could write blogs, create videos or produce helpful guides to draw people into your company’s brand.
  • As a social media marketer, you could work with influencers, boost customer loyalty and produce creative content for social platforms.

As you can see from just a handful of examples, there is more than one definition of what it means to work in marketing. In fact, there’s a lot more. Digital marketing alone contains multiple specialization areas, such as social media, database and search-engine marketing. Each niche comes with its own set of skills to master. While all of these options may seem a little overwhelming at first, they all build upon the same foundations of marketing.

How can I get started in marketing?

First and foremost, you’ll need an education. You may be wondering if it’s better for you to pursue a Bachelor’s degree or an Associate’s degree in marketing. To help you answer that, we used real-time job analysis software to examine more than 286,000 marketing job postings from the past year.2 The data helped us identify the minimum education requirements employers are seeking in marketing candidates.

The analysis revealed that 89 percent of job postings were seeking candidates with a Bachelor’s degree.2 It’s important to note that this is only a snapshot of marketing jobs across the country. Factors like experience and the conditions of the job market in your area may influence what employers prefer, but a staggering statistic like that demonstrates the importance of a formal education.

If you are wondering how long you’ll be working at your Marketing degree, the answer depends on your previous education, whether you attend full-time or part-time classes, and the level of degree you intend to earn. But if you already have an Associate’s degree, you could earn your Bachelor’s degree in as few as 18 months at Rasmussen University.3

Like many jobs, marketing experience is an important factor for employers. Budding marketing professionals might consider seeking out internships and personal development opportunities that align with their skills and interests. This extra effort can help employers see your dedication to the field and willingness to go the extra mile, which may lead to you landing the job.

Will I need to earn certifications?

While some marketing professionals may choose to pursue certifications, they are not typically a barrier to entry for most jobs. They can, however, help by serving as a differentiator when trying to land highly sought-after positions.

Just as there is a wide variety of marketing specializations, there is also a variety of certifications. The American Marketing Association’s® professional certifications may offer some appealing options. Otherwise, platform specific certifications, like those from Google® or Facebook®, may be worth your consideration. 

Is a Marketing degree worth it for you?

So is a Marketing degree worth it? The decision is based on what you hope to accomplish in a career. There’s certainly a demand for marketing professionals, and businesses will continue to employ professionals to focus on gaining and maintaining customers.

If you’re ready to take the first step on your marketing career path, it’s time to start researching your education options. Learn more about how the Rasmussen University Marketing program could help prepare you for success in the field.

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [accessed June, 2021] Information represents national, averaged data for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary. (analysis of 286,840 marketing job postings, June 1, 2020 – May 31, 2021).
3Completion time is dependent on the number of transfer credits accepted and the number of courses completed each quarter.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in 2017. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2021.

Google is a registered trademark of Google, Inc.
Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc.
American Marketing Association is a registered trademark of American Marketing Association, Inc.

Hannah Meinke

Hannah Meinke is a writer at Collegis Education. She enjoys helping people discover their purpose and passion by crafting education and career-related content on behalf of Rasmussen University.

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