Overview of a Bachelor’s in Marketing
Marketing drives the capitalist economy. That’s a simple fact, and that is why marketing is so essential. Without marketing, there is no brand awareness and little opportunity for a business to develop a following. Marketing educates consumers; consumers tend to rely on the brands they trust and marketing serves as a huge influencer. Just as there are many different aspects to marketing, so there are also many jobs in this wide-ranging field.
If you’re creative and possess good critical thinking skills, you want a career in which your creativity can flourish. A marketing bachelor's degree offers a solid background for many positions. Keep in mind that every company or organization will market itself in some way so, unlike some majors, a concentration in marketing will not limit you to a few large industries. Some of the main courses you'll take in an on-campus or online marketing degree include:
- Strategic Marketing
- Principles of Marketing
- Advertising and Promotions
- Digital Marketing
- Public Relations
- Business Accounting and Finance
- Organizational Behavior
- Business Management
- Business Communication
If you want a successful career in marketing, a bachelor’s in this subject is your best bet. Many organizations will not consider a candidate who has not completed a marketing degree program at this level and, even if hired, the individual may find promotion difficult without it. When you have a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts marketing degree, your career and salary options immediately improve. You can also earn certifications to expand job opportunities. You will also likely earn more than those who have not completed bachelor’s programs in marketing. While an associate degree in marketing may help you get your foot in the door, it is unlikely to lead to more than an entry-level job, though master's or master of business administration (MBA) marketing degrees may help you get into management.
There is no real con for earning an undergraduate degree, except perhaps student loan debt. While you could work full-time during the four or more years it may take to complete this degree, you won’t earn as much in the long-term as a person with the degree and will have fewer opportunities to advance in your career, even after you gain experience. As noted, you are unlikely to find employment in the marketing field without a bachelor’s degree. However, many successful marketing professionals hold higher-level marketing degrees, such as master’s degrees in public relations, advertising, and similar fields. When you don’t have a higher-level degree, you are ineligible to take some certifications.
Certificate vs. Bachelor's
Marketing is ever changing, and that means professionals must stay abreast of the latest trends in the field. That means taking courses regularly and earning certifications in various specialties. For example, certification in digital marketing is a virtual necessity for marketers. Certifications often mean additional job responsibilities and salary boosts, but they are not a substitute for a bachelor’s degree. Most fields require continuing education, and certification serves this purpose in marketing. Many firms pay for employee certifications, which is an investment in their future.
What Marketing Bachelor’s Degrees are Available?
Bachelor’s degrees in marketing are either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS). Whether the school bestows a BA or BS on a graduate depends on the individual institution. The degree is referred to as marketing management at certain institutions of higher learning. Some schools may offer a BS or BA in business administration with a marketing concentration. Related fields and degrees run the gamut including Public Relations, Professional Sales, Sales Management, Advertising, Marketing Research, and more.
While in high school, those interested in marketing as a major should take classes in business, math, writing, and public speaking; all subjects necessary for a marketing career. High school graduates or students earning a GED may apply for admission to a bachelor’s degree marketing program. While exact admission requirement vary by school, in most cases the student should have a high school GPA of at least 2.5. The more selective the school, the higher the acceptable high school GPA. The student must also pay all applicable application fees and submit their SAT and ACT scores. Each school sets its own minimally-acceptable SAT or ACT score. In order to graduate and receive the marketing degree, students must generally earn a minimum overall 2.0 GPA. However, every school sets its own academic standards.
How long does it take to earn a Marketing Bachelor's?
Most students can earn a bachelor’s degree in marketing within four years if they attend school full-time. If the student attends school part-time, it may take between five and eight years to earn this degree. For students who must work or have children to care for, earning a degree online may prove their best option, as they can study at their own pace.
Some schools offer the opportunity to obtain a bachelor’s and master’s degree in marketing. Students may take some graduate courses during their junior and senior years, which qualify for both the undergraduate and graduate degree. The master’s degree is generally completed in one year, so the student spends five years obtaining a joint bachelor and master’s degree in marketing.
Potential Careers in Marketing with a Bachelor’s
A bachelor’s degree in marketing offers various career opportunities. The most common include:
- Advertising Manager
People in this role work for advertising agencies or media companies. Their responsibilities involve working with staff to develop advertising campaigns and the best way to deliver this information to the intended demographic. They may work with focus groups prior to a campaign launch.
The average advertising manager annual salary is $65,000.
- Management Analyst
Also known as management consultants, this job involves improving a company’s efficiency. This may include implementing cost and staff reductions and otherwise solving issues relating to operational problems. Since management analysts are generally self-employed, the work done with any company is temporary and travel is generally necessary.
The average management analyst salary is $67,400.
- Marketing Manager
The marketing manager implements marketing initiatives and keeps track of their progress. They oversee their company’s marketing campaigns, create budgets, coordinate with sales teams, and supervise the marketing department. They may also determine the pricing strategies for the items or services their company markets.
The average salary for a marketing manager is $65,900.
- Sales Manager
The sales manager oversees the sales team, assigning sales territories, developing sales quotas and goals, and hiring and firing sales team members. Motivating the sales team is a crucial factor in the sales manager’s and the team’s success.
The average sales manager salary is $61,300.
- Sales Representative
A sales representative is a salesperson, selling the goods or services offered by their company. They must know their customers and their needs, and how these goods or services can improve their customer’s business or lives. Inside sales representatives work from a corporate office, while outside sales representatives travel to customers.
The average sales representative’s salary is $48,000.
- Social Media Marketer
This relatively recent position entails managing social media campaigns and developing content suitable for the client’s customers. They must understand their audience and know the best social media platforms for targeting them. They must keep up with social media trends and relevant algorithm changes.
The average pay for a social media marketer is $52,600.
Options to Advance
The many certifications required in marketing also give employees opportunities to learn about different aspects of the business and concentrate on certain niches. If you specialize in an in-demand area, you may find you can advance from your current position, either at your present company or with a firm looking to fill a role requiring your type of expertise.
One of the best ways to advance in this field is by earning a master’s degree in a specific area. That gives you needed expertise in fields such as consumer behavior, production innovation and planning, global marketing, internet marketing, or one of marketing’s many sub-specialties. Expect to take approximately two years to earn a master’s degree. The master’s degree gives the candidate the potential to move into the executive suite, perhaps rising to positions such as Chief Marketing Officer, Brand Manager, Advertising Account Executive, and many more. A role such as Chief Executive Officer is also possible with a higher-level degree.
Best Bachelor of Science in Marketing Programs
If you prefer a brick-and-mortar education, here are some of the top schools offering traditional bachelor’s degrees in marketing:
Through its Kelley School of Business, Indiana University prepares marketing majors for jobs with top employers. The undergraduate program includes intensive workshops in Corporate Retailing and Global Sales. It also offers majors within marketing, internships with Fortune 500 companies, and the opportunity to create a marketing campaign for a client.
- BS in Marketing
- BS in Professional Sales
- Co-major in Digital and Social Media Business Applications
New York University
New York, New York
NYU offers an undergraduate marketing degree through its Stern School of Business. The degree requires the completion of 12 marketing program units, along with required business core courses. Program units include Consumer Behavior, Marketing Research, and six units of advanced marketing electives.
- BS in Marketing
University of Pennsylvania
Long considered the top undergraduate marketing program in the country, the marketing major is offered through the university’s prestigious Wharton School of Business. In addition to a marketing major, the school offers two dual concentration majors, as well as a secondary concentration in retailing.
- BS in Marketing
- BS in Marketing and Communications (dual concentration)
- BS in Marketing and Operations Management (dual concentration)
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin offers marketing majors through its McCombs School of Business. Requirements for the degree include successful completion of an International Business course and nine semester hours of various marketing courses, as well as the core curriculum.
- BA in Marketing
With its marketing management major, Virginia Tech offers students programs in Digital Marketing Strategy and Professional Selling. Students develop marketing analytics skills along with a broad business education. The emphasis is on sales and marketing careers in manufacturing, service industries, and non-profit organizations.
- BS in Marketing Management
Traditional Schools Offering a BS in Marketing
If an online bachelor’s degree in marketing better suits your needs, here are some of the top choices:
Arizona State University
This highly-rated program requires 120 total credit hours, consisting of 41 classes with 7.5 weeks per class. Courses include Consumer Behavior, Marketing Research, Services Marketing Strategy, Business to Business Marketing Strategy, and Applied Marketing Management and Leadership.
- BS in Marketing
A business degree with a marketing specialization is offered through the university’s School of Business and Technology. Along with core business classes, students take classes in sales, marketing research, brand identity, and channel management processes.
- BS in Business, Marketing Specialization
Florida International University
FIU states that its marketing degree provides students with a “solid understanding of business activities under the marketing umbrella—from the identification and selection of target markets, to the development, pricing, placement and promotion of goods and services, and the management of relationships among business partners and their customer.”
- Bachelors in Business Administration – Marketing
Penn State World Campus
University Park, Pennsylvania
Penn State World Campus is the online version of Penn State University. It offers top-ranked marketing and communications degrees for undergraduates, and the curriculum is the same as that of students attending the brick-and-mortar campus.
- BS in Marketing
- BA in Strategic Communications
Southern New Hampshire University
Manchester, New Hampshire
SNHU’s online tuition fees are among the country’s lowest for programs of its caliber. U.S. service members, and the spouses of those on active duty, receive a 30% tuition discount. SNHU is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
- BS in Business Administration with Marketing Concentration
Business Degrees & Career Paths