In an associate’s degree program in marketing, you cover a lot of general education coursework and a smattering of classes in marketing principles, marketing communication management and other business topics. That may sound like a lot to cover in a short time, especially through one of the fastest online associate’s degree programs, but it’s still not nearly as comprehensive as a four-year degree with double the number of credits. The best job prospects in marketing belong to graduates of a bachelor’s degree program, but an associate’s degree in the field can help you get started in full-time entry-level roles in companies’ in-house marketing departments or in agencies’ sales divisions. From there, all it takes is hard work, great ideas and enthusiasm to work your way up into professional marketing positions. Students who complete a marketing internship as part of their studies have more experience to draw from in interviews and on the job.
The Marketing Jobs That Require More Education
For a lot of roles in marketing, you’re going to need more education than an associate’s degree. Employers seeking to fill most of the job titles you think of in relation to marketing – like marketing manager, market research analyst, marketing specialist, marketing coordinator and marketing associate – often either require a bachelor’s degree or prefer one. Even social media specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This isn’t so much because a bachelor’s degree is crucial for employment, since you generally don’t need specific professional credentials to work in this field, but because the more comprehensive marketing curriculum found in a bachelor’s degree is appealing to employers and because there is plenty of competition for the best marketing jobs.
The majority of wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives, too, have a bachelor’s degree, according to O*NET, but 22 percent of that occupation reported having only a high school diploma.
Jobs You Can Get With an Associate’s Degree in Marketing
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If so many marketing jobs are out of reach without a four-year degree, exactly what can you do with an associate’s degree in marketing? You may need to adjust your job search to look at entry-level opportunities – often denoted by terms like “assistant” and “junior” – that prioritize energy and attitude over education and proven experience. Instead of going straight into a role squarely in the field of marketing, you might end up in a job area adjacent to marketing, such as administrative support, in an assistant role, or advertising sales.
One option for graduates from an associate’s degree program is to look for a job as a marketing assistant. The job duties of a marketing assistant are varied and not necessarily glamorous. Your assigned tasks could range from analyzing and organizing market research data and brainstorming with the marketing team to managing spreadsheets and outsourcing creative work, according to USA TODAY. However, working in close proximity to full-fledged professional marketing personnel allows you to learn more about the business, engage in valuable networking and prove your skills to become a bigger part of the team. Once you have your foot in the door – which, admittedly, can be more difficult to accomplish without a four-year degree – your success in marketing hinges more on your ideas and their results than on formal education and credentials. You could move up from marketing assistant to junior marketing associate.
You can also use your marketing background to get a job as an advertising sales agent. This is a sales role in which you persuade companies to purchase advertising or marketing services. These services may include that range from traditional print ads to billboards, radio spots, television commercials, webpage ads, traditional banner ads on websites and apps and “geofencing” location-specific ads on mobile devices. To sell advertising packages and options, you need to persuade sometimes dubious business owners that the return on their investment will be worthwhile. Doing so requires researching prospective clients so you can understand their needs and problems and create or tailor a sales pitch that shows how advertising with your company can solve those problems, the BLS reported. Every step, from initial research on a client to the content and delivery of your sales pitch, draws on the same skills you learned from your associate’s degree studies in marketing.
Although 52 percent of advertising sales associates have a bachelor’s degree, 30 percent have only a high school diploma and 13 percent have some college studies but no degree, O*NET reported.