Top Online Colleges for Marketing

Marketing is a wide and diverse field that offers a number of different career options. In most organizations, entry-level marketing employees will perform tasks put in place by other managers that typically involve gathering data, interpreting the data, or using the data to develop new campaigns to gain a bigger customer base for goods and services offered. The field takes a distinctive type of worker, one who is creative and can quickly think of new and different ways to package new ideas and products, while also being able to possess a mind for business, and understanding the bottom line.

Students should be able to understand technology, and move fluidly with the advent of new technology, while also seamlessly integrating various written and visual communication methods in reaching the public. Regardless of what type of marketing you want to pursue, a number of degrees are available at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s level for students to choose from. The best online colleges for marketing will provide curriculum on par with that of traditional universities, and should ideally be accredited by the Associate to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Marketing Course Work Basics

When it comes to pursuing an online degree in marketing, programs can be found at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. While there are some online associate degree programs available in marketing, they are most commonly offered at the bachelor’s level. Online bachelor’s degree programs in marketing include both general education requirements and courses specific to the field. General education, or basic-level courses, are intended to give students a sound educational foundation and include ├┐courses in English, mathematics, speech, natural and behavioral sciences, arts and humanities, composition, and computer courses. The courses are generally taken during the first two years of a program before students move on to major courses. In a marketing program, these can include business-related courses in management, basic accounting and economics, as well as courses that teach advanced principles of marking. These courses can include the following:

  • Intro to Market Research: This course is designed to provide students with an overview and application of contemporary methods for gathering, analyzing, and preparing market research on various groups.
  • Intro to Global Marketing: Students in this course learn about the fundamentals of trade, finance, and investment in the context of international business practices.
  • Advanced Market Research: This course teaches students to use software to extract and analyze data, find patterns, and interpret results to develop marketing strategies.
  • Channel and Value Networks: This course allows students to examine the fundamental principles of marketing via the Internet. Students will develop new media communication campaigns that include traditional web sites, blogs, social networking, and more.

Post-graduate degrees in marketing are most commonly available at the master’s level. One of the more common degrees available for bachelor’s degree holders is a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing. These degrees not only combine other advanced business principles like management, accounting, and economics, but will provide students with advanced marketing techniques and skills. Additionally, many schools now offer master’s degree programs specifically in online marketing, or e-marketing, which focuses on teaching students how to mine for customer data, connect with new customers, and sell services or products through various Internet mediums. While marketing programs are available at the doctoral level, the degree is usually only required if you plan on teaching the subject long-term at a major college or university.

Careers for the Marketing Graduate

While an online degree in marketing can prepare students for a number of different careers in business, one of the most common is as a market research analyst, also known as a marketing specialist. These types of employees study market conditions for various types of business in local, regional, or national areas to better understand their client or customer base. These individuals usually work under the supervision of a marketing head, or manager, and obtain information from reports and analysis, or dealing directly with individuals, to better understand what products and services people want, who will buy them, and at what price. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, market research analysts typically need a bachelor’s degree in marketing or a related field to gain entry into the field. However, some more advanced positions, like that of a marketing manager, may require advanced degrees like master’s degree in marketing or analytics, or an MBA.

In addition to possessing a degree in the field, it can also be beneficial to gain a certification in the field as well. Certification can be gained through the Marketing Research Association in the form of the Professional Researcher Certification (PRC). Candidates for the PRC must be a member of a professional organization, have at least three years of work experience in opinion or market research, and pass an examination. Once an individual obtains the certification, they usually take continuing education courses and apply for renewal every two years.

The BLS also reports that the median annual income for market research analysts and marketing specialists was $60,250 in May 2011. Those in the lowest 10% of the profession earned less than $33,490 annually, while those in the top 10% earned $112,560 per year. One major upside for the profession is that the BLS predicts that employment within the field will grow by 41% through the year 2020. The BLS’s research indicates that new jobs will come from an increased demand of various companies and businesses relying on market research to better understand consumer behavior. However, since many positions in the field require a master’s degree, those with a bachelor’s degree are expected to face strong competition for jobs. For this reason, the BLS reports that bachelor’s degree students should gain as much knowledge in statistical analysis as possible.

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