Digital marketing professionals design social media campaigns, create content to promote products, and measure the effectiveness of a digital marketing strategy. The field attracts professionals with strong analytical and creative skills, including in visual design. This article explores the value of earning a digital marketing degree online, including the core skills gained during a digital marketing program, common courses for digital marketing majors, and professional organizations that help digital marketing students enter the workforce. It also covers how to choose the right digital marketing program, the application process, and job opportunities.
Overview of Digital Marketing Degrees
Digital marketing requires skills in technology, sales, and creativity. Digital marketing professionals design marketing strategies that include social media marketing and search engine marketing. In a digital marketing degree online program, learners gain skills in content marketing, video marketing, and digital media. These skills translate to the workforce, with graduates pursuing careers as digital marketing specialists, digital media managers, and digital marketing managers. In addition to digital marketing skills, digital marketing students also gain skills through foundational business classes.
An online internet marketing degree appeals to working professionals seeking the flexibility to balance school with work or family obligations. Marketing professionals can strengthen their skills by completing a digital marketing degree, and professionals seeking a career change can broaden their career opportunities and salary potential with the degree. After earning a digital marketing degree, graduates qualify for several career paths that offer above-average salaries, including as a marketing manager. With work experience, a bachelor's degree meets the qualifications for a marketing manager position, which offers an average salary of more than $130,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Digital marketing programs evaluate applicants on their academic record, work history, and potential to succeed in the program. Each school sets its own admission requirements, which often include a high school diploma or the equivalent. Applicants typically submit high school transcripts, and transfer applicants submit transcripts from previous colleges and universities. Many schools set a minimum GPA for admission, although schools may offer provisional admission for candidates who do not meet the minimum.
Many schools also require standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT. Transfer students with at least one year of college credits typically do not need to provide standardized test scores. Applicants may also need to submit a resume, a statement of purpose outlining their career goals, or letters of recommendation. Some online programs conduct interviews to determine a candidate's fit with the program. Online schools may provide an admission adviser to walk applicants through the process.
Prospective students considering an online digital marketing degree should research the application process for each potential school.
What Will I Learn?
While earning a digital marketing degree online, students study marketing principles, digital marketing strategies, and digital advertising techniques. Most bachelor's programs require 120 credits to complete the degree, including approximately 50 credits in general education courses, 30-40 credits within the major, and electives to customize the degree. Full-time students typically complete their bachelor's degree in four years. Students with an associate degree or significant transfer credits may be able to finish the program in less time.
The graduation requirements and curriculum for an online digital marketing degree vary by program. Some digital marketing majors may take a capstone course at the end of the program, and some may complete an internship to gain hands-on experience. While curricula vary, many programs include classes in marketing, advertising, business communications, and social media marketing.
Introduction to Digital Marketing
In introductory courses, students earning a digital marketing degree online study marketing principles that apply to internet and digital marketing. They also study digital marketing strategy, design, and execution. The course may cover business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing.
Digital marketing majors study traditional marketing as well, including marketing principles, consumer research, and competing marketing strategy analysis. Marketing courses may also incorporate managerial decision making, marketing research design, and marketing analytics.
Marketing professionals need strong business communication skills to communicate marketing plans and reach potential consumers. In business communications classes, students study written and oral communications, communications strategies for different business settings, and communications within teams.
During an online digital marketing degree, students may take classes on international marketing, particularly internet marketing in a global environment. The course introduces students to the role of globalization in business, how to reach global consumers with marketing plans, and the differences between marketing to developed and developing markets. Students also learn about cultural analysis, global market entry, and global marketing strategies.
Social Media Marketing
Students earning an internet marketing degree online may take classes on social media marketing, which emphasizes advertising, marketing, and strategy for social media outlets. Students learn to create social media marketing strategies, evaluate the effectiveness of a strategy, and use social media to promote a brand or product.
Digital marketing majors typically take a class on advertising, which introduces students to the principles of advertising, including the relationship between marketing and advertising. The course may cover advertising for various media, creative planning for advertising, and media buying.
What Can I Do with an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Marketing?
Earning a digital marketing degree online provides training for in-demand jobs, including digital marketing specialist, marketing manager, and digital media specialist. Digital marketing majors gain core skills in marketing, advertising, and research, which they apply in the business, nonprofit, and government sectors. The following section introduces the skills and competencies students gain in a digital marketing program, potential careers for graduates, and average salaries for digital marketing jobs.
In a digital marketing degree program, students build skills and competencies in business, marketing, and digital marketing. Many programs incorporate business classes to provide foundational skills in data analytics, business communications, and management. Digital marketing majors also complete traditional marketing classes, strengthening their analytical skills, exploring the role of advertising in marketing, and building problem-solving abilities.
Within their major, digital marketing students gain core competencies in content and social media marketing. Students learn how to design a digital marketing campaign and implement it using video, web content, blogs, and other forms of content. They also study core skills in search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). SEO and SEM training helps digital marketing students combine data-driven analytics with content to communicate client messaging.
The aforementioned skills apply to many marketing roles. For example, with content marketing skills, digital marketing professionals can execute an online marketing plan while data analytics skills help professionals determine the effectiveness of their plans.
Potential Careers and Salaries
After completing a digital marketing degree online, graduates pursue careers in digital marketing, social media marketing, and digital media. Graduates often qualify for positions as a marketing specialist, digital media specialist, or an account manager. These titles offer opportunities for career advancement. For example, candidates with work experience can become marketing managers or digital marketing managers.
Digital marketing professionals work in several sectors. While many pursue careers in the private sector, working for advertising firms, marketing agencies, or businesses, others work for nonprofit organizations or government agencies. Digital marketing professionals can also pursue job opportunities with colleges and universities, internationally recognized brands, and nongovernmental organizations.
Annual Median Salary: $48,700
Graphic designers visually communicate ideas with input from creative directors and marketing professionals. They develop designs for advertisements, brochures, reports, and other publications to transmit a client's or company's message.
Digital Media Specialist
Annual Median Salary: $45,476
Digital media specialists create and manage digital projects for their company. They may catalogue digital resources for various campaigns, create digital media aligned with the organization's brand identity, and maintain online content. Digital media specialists may create advertisements, promotions, or graphic designs.
Annual Median Salary: $52,245
Account managers in marketing are liaisons between companies and clients. They promote a marketing firm's services and products, pitch ideas to clients, and communicate client wishes to the production team. They may also travel to meet with clients.
Annual Median Salary: $132,230
Marketing managers design and direct marketing plans for their organization. They oversee a team of marketing specialists, design pricing strategies, and manage product development. Marketing managers must hold a bachelor's degree, and some employers prefer a master's degree.
Digital Marketing Manager
Annual Median Salary: $64,293
Digital marketing managers direct online marketing projects for a company. They create advertising strategies, design campaigns to increase brand loyalty, and apply their understanding of ecommerce to increase sales. Digital marketing managers may also oversee a team of specialists.
Will I Need a Graduate Degree for a Career in Digital Marketing?
With a bachelor's degree in digital marketing, graduates qualify for many entry-level careers in marketing, social media branding, and advertising. Potential positions include digital media specialist, digital marketing specialist, and account manager. Professionals interested in a leadership or management position benefit from earning an advanced degree. While many companies hire marketing managers with a bachelor's degree and several years of experience, a graduate degree increases a candidate's competitiveness in the job market. Similarly, professionals pursuing more specialized positions, such as digital marketing manager, benefit from a graduate degree.
Professionals with a bachelor's degree can also advance their careers without earning an additional degree by pursuing certification to demonstrate their qualifications. Work experience also helps marketing professionals advance in the field.
Accreditation for Digital Marketing Bachelor’s Programs
Prospective students should consider accreditation status when seeking a digital marketing degree online. Accreditation indicates that institutions and programs meet the highest academic standards. Nonprofit, independent accrediting agencies assess a school or program's graduation requirements, student learning outcomes, and faculty qualifications. Colleges and universities earn regional or national accreditation if they meet the agency's standards, while programs within an institution earn programmatic accreditation.
Many digital marketing programs fall within a business school and earn programmatic accreditation from one of three business accrediting agencies: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education. Accreditation expands financial aid, employment, and education opportunities for students.
Digital Marketing Professional Organizations
While earning an online internet marketing degree, students benefit from the resources offered by professional organizations. Many associations offer scholarship opportunities, provide discounted membership rates for students, and host job boards. Professionals also rely on these associations for webinars and training materials, current research, and networking opportunities.
American Marketing Association
Digital marketing professionals join AMA to access members-only articles and research, best practices, and webcasts. The association also hosts events, including an annual conference, which offer networking opportunities, and a job board.
Digital Marketing Association
An international association for digital marketing professionals, DMA offers a digital library with professional resources, training programs, and the certified digital marketer program. Members also benefit from networking opportunities and a professional directory.
Internet Marketing Association
IMA dates back to 2001 and includes professionals working in marketing, sales, business ownership, and programming. The association offers both a free and a professional membership, and confers the Certified Internet Marketer title, which recognizes digital marketing abilities.