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Bachelor's Degree in Marketing

A  team works on a project at a table with drawings and sticky notes
A  team works on a project at a table with drawings and sticky notes

A bachelor's degree in marketing is a four-year undergraduate degree that lays the foundation for a career promoting and selling services and products.

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With a bachelor's degree, you'll be able to step into entry-level roles in brand management, media planning, market research, social media, content writing, and more.

Many schools offer marketing programs online and on campus. However, you'll likely need to complete an internship in person at a company or organization.

Prerequisites

You'll need a high school diploma or GED to apply to a four-year program. You'll likely have to meet additional requirements, but they will vary by school. For instance, many programs will require a specific GPA, which could be 3.0 or higher for more competitive programs. You may also have to submit SAT or ACT scores.

References typically aren't required, but they might be for some institutions. If you already have an associate degree, you may be able to transfer some or all of your credits toward your bachelor's degree, depending on your program's criteria. This could cut the time it takes to each a bachelor's degree by two years.

Curriculum

A bachelor's in marketing will include not only coursework in marketing but also in other areas of business. As you advance in your career, your role as a marketer may intersect with finance, business administration, project management, and other business fields, so the general knowledge you gain will be useful.

"In order to be a good marketing professional, you need to be a good business professional," says Laurie Ehrlich, founder and chief strategist at Elevate Marketing Strategy.

A bachelor's in marketing will include general business coursework, which will be useful as you advance in your career and work with other areas of a company, such as finance and administration, that may cross into marketing.

Your coursework may include:

  • Digital marketing
  • Consumer behavior
  • Brand management
  • Channel marketing
  • Principles of finance
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Macroeconomics
  • Product management
  • Marketing analytics
  • Advertising

Internships

Most schools do not require bachelor's degree candidates to do an internship, but the real-world experience internships provide could give you an advantage when you hit the job marketing looking for your first position.

An internship at a content marketing firm, for instance, might give a student a deeper understanding of product branding, promotion, and messaging as well as the chance to work on an actual marketing campaign by writing content for social media, a company website, or a blog.

"I did an internship at an agency in D.C., and just being able to reflect on my education and apply it to what I was doing on a daily basis was really helpful," says Ehrlich.

Certification

Digital marketing has created many new marketing subspecialties, from search engine optimization (SEO) to social media marketing, paid search, email marketing, and search engine marketing (SEM). Most companies and marketing agencies use one or more digital marketing tools or platforms, and it's common for job descriptions to require candidates to be certified in one.

The American Marketing Association offers a variety of broad certifications in areas such as content marketing, marketing management, and digital marketing. Other certifications focus on a single topic, such as marketing analytics, SEO, and digital ads. Many of these certifications are offered by technology companies—Google, HubSpot, Hootsuite, SEMrush, and Facebook to name a few.

Most companies and marketing agencies use one or more digital marketing tools or platforms, and it's common for job descriptions to require candidates to be certified in one.

Which certification(s) you choose will depend on your passion and the type of position you're seeking. Most include a course that can be anywhere from 10 hours to 40 hours or more, followed by a test. Many certifications, such as the popular Google Ads Certification, are free, while others, such as those offered by the American Marketing Association, cost several hundred dollars.

Why Earn a Bachelor's in Marketing?

Since there are several degrees that apply to marketing, it might be worth considering the pros and cons of two of them. If you want to start your career as soon as possible, an associate degree in marketing will allow you to jump into an entry-level job in about two years.

A bachelor's degree, in contrast, can prepare you for management jobs. With its deeper, broader education, it can also lay the foundation for a career that can take you in several directions, from a creative role such as content marketing to a more numbers-driven role in marketing analytics. You may also command a higher salary with a four-year degree.

Advancing Your Career

Ehrlich says that while experience is the key to advancing your career, you could benefit from earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in marketing. While not necessarily required for management roles, she says deeper business knowledge can help you understand marketing's broader role in a company and give you an advantage in moving up, particularly into executive and leadership roles.


Written and reported by:

Emily Price
Contributing Writer

With professional insight from:

Laurie Ehrlich
Founder of Elevate Marketing Strategy