Is a Marketing Degree Worth it? 4 Things to Consider
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 strong is the demand for marketing professionals?
This is obviously an important question no matter what 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 for marketing, that’s just not the case. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 19 percent increase in employment for market research analysts as well as a 9 percent increase in employment for marketing managers—both eclipsing the average growth rate of 7 percent for all occupations.
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 in economic crises.
Do marketing jobs pay well?
Generally speaking, marketing jobs come with healthy earning potential. While it’s not easy to get an accurate view of every marketing role and specialization, the BLS is able to shine some light on two prominent marketing positions.
The BLS reports that market research analysts earned a median annual salary of $62,150 in 2015.1 This sits comfortably above the national average for all occupations, which was $36,200.
As you might expect, compensation levels increase quite a bit for higher-level marketing positions. Marketing managers in 2015 earned a median annual salary of $128,750, 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 willing to put in the work.
What do I need to do to work 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 200,000 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 required a bachelor’s degree. 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, preferred class schedule pacing and the level of degree you intend to earn. But if you already have some college experience, you could earn your bachelor’s degree in as few as 18 months.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.
What about marketing specializations? Will I need to earn certifications?
One big plus to pursuing a degree is all of the marketing specializations out there. Not everyone loves working in market research, but that doesn’t mean they’re stuck where they are. 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.
While some marketing professionals may choose to pursue certifications, they are not typically a barrier to entry for most jobs. They can, however, serve 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 Certified Marketer certification is a sound option for someone looking for a broad marketing focus. On the other hand, a niche certification like Google’s AdWords certification can also be a helpful addition to your marketing resume, depending on your desired position.
The decision is yours
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 College Marketing Program could help prepare you for success in the field.
1 Salary ranges represent national averaged earnings for the occupations listed and include workers at all levels of education and experience. Ranges do not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.
2 Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 207,052 marketing job postings, February 01, 2016–January 31, 2017).
3 Time to complete is dependent on accepted transfer credits and courses completed each quarter.