Home » Marketing » Associate Degree

Your Guide to an Associate Degree in Marketing

A man studies with headphones and his laptop
A man studies with headphones and his laptop

An associate degree in marketing is a two-year degree that provides the foundation to start a career in this broad field, which has many subspecialties to choose from. Virtually all companies market their products and services, so you may be able to choose a career path based on your skills and a category of products that interest you.

In this Article

Associate Degree in Marketing

An associate degree in marketing will provide a broad overview of marketing concepts that will apply to your career regardless of your role, including product positioning, brand, customer service, and promotion.

The curriculum for an associate degree will combine marketing fundamentals with basic business principles to give a big picture of the marketing industry and its role in the economy.

Prerequisites

You'll need a high school diploma or a GED to be accepted into an associate program. There will likely be other prerequisites as well, but they will vary by program and school.

While some associate programs may require a minimum GPA, most don't require SAT or ACT scores.

Curriculum

The curriculum for an associate degree will combine marketing fundamentals with basic business principles to give a big picture of the marketing industry and its role in the economy.

Expect a mix of classes that might include:

  • Digital marketing
  • Finance
  • Business law
  • Sales fundamentals
  • Public relations
  • Customer service
  • Market research
  • Statistics
  • Advertising
  • Consumer behavior

Internships

Some programs include an internship. If an internship is optional, completing one can be a smart choice. An internship gives you real-world experience that could get you noticed when you begin your search for a job. The experience also can expose you to a variety of marketing roles and help you decide which one you'd like to pursue.

Program Length

An associate degree typically is 60 credits and takes two years of full-time study to complete. If you're a part-time student your time in school will depend on the pace of your studies.

For students who need to work while they're in school, there are online programs that allow you to plan classes around your work schedule and other responsibilities. They can also be a good choice if the program you want to attend is far from where you live, perhaps even in another state.

For students who need to work while they're in school, there are online programs that allow you to plan classes around your work schedule and other responsibilities.

What Roles Can You Pursue with an Associate Degree?

Your associate degree will allow you to pursue a number of entry-level marketing roles with varying salaries. Some of the fastest-growing specialties are in digital marketing. Here are three examples of roles for people with a variety of interests:

Social media specialist: Nearly all companies have an online presence today and need employees to manage their social media messaging and more. In this role, you might create content for Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook, engage with consumers, or track the performance of product promotions and campaigns.

PR specialist: If you like interacting with people, this might be the role for you. PR specialists help companies and organizations maintain a positive image with the public.

Market research specialist: Marketers need to understand consumer behavior, their competitors, and a lot more to sell their services and products. Research specialists provide the data to help them do that.

Associate Degree vs Bachelor's Degree

You may be wondering if your career will hinge on what degree you choose.

Laurie Ehrlich, founder and chief strategist at Elevate Marketing Strategy, says that while a bachelor's degree might provide a more comprehensive education, having an associate's degree shouldn't put you at a disadvantage.

"People pursue associate degrees for a number of reasons," says Ehrlich. "Would I discredit somebody that had an associate's degree instead of a bachelor'? No, absolutely not."

She says that job experience and skills are the top factors in hiring, and having the right experience might give you an advantage over someone with a higher degree but less experience.

Some employers looking to hire a marketing manager may expect job candidates to have a bachelor's degree. If your ambition is to be a manager, you can return to school to earn a bachelor's degree even as you continue to work and build your marketing career. In many cases, your associate degree will apply toward your bachelor's degree.

And if you have your eyes on a top spot at a company, such as chief marketing officer (CMO), you can pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in marketing.


Written and reported by:

Emily Price
Contributing Writer

With professional insight from:

Laurie Ehrlich
Founder of Elevate Marketing Strategy