Earning an Online Marketing
Bachelor's Degree

Professionals who earn marketing degrees online help clients design marketing plans to promote their products, analyze research on competitors, and measure the effectiveness of a marketing strategy. Combining creativity with data, marketing appeals to people with strong communication, persuasion, and analytical skills. This article explains how to choose the best marketing program, common courses offered for marketing majors, and the core skills a marketing degree provides. It also explores job opportunities for marketing professionals, the salaries for marketing careers, and professional organizations that can help students transition from school to the workforce.

Overview of Marketing Degrees

In marketing, creative professionals design plans to promote products and services to consumers. Marketing requires strong research and analytical skills, as professionals conduct consumer research and create marketing strategies for their clients. Earning an online marketing degree prepares graduates for multiple positions within the marketing field, including marketing specialist, account manager, and marketing manager roles. During the program, marketing majors gain core skills, which may include specializations in digital marketing, content marketing, and video marketing. These skills translate from a marketing program directly to the workforce, leading to careers in lucrative areas.

An online marketing degree appeals to working professionals seeking career advancement. Online programs offer the flexibility and convenience to balance school with work or family obligations. An online marketing program also benefits professionals considering a career change. Marketing offers a fast-paced, fulfilling career path for people with strong analytical, persuasive, and creative abilities.

With a marketing degree, professionals pursue careers as market research analysts and marketing specialists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these fields offer above-average salaries, with a mean annual wage of over $71,000 a year. A bachelor's degree also qualifies professionals for marketing manager positions, where the median annual salary exceeds $130,000.

Application Process

Prospective students submit an application package to gain admission to an online marketing program. Each school determines its application process, so prospective applicants should carefully research the requirements for their potential programs. However, most programs require transcripts demonstrating a high school diploma or the equivalent. Transfer students should also submit transcripts from each college or university attended. Schools may set a minimum GPA for admission and a GPA cutoff for earning transfer credits. Many programs also require standardized test scores, often the SAT or ACT. Some schools waive the requirement for applicants with at least one year of college credits or for applicants who have been out of school for a certain number of years.

During the admissions process, applicants may need to submit a resume outlining their work experience, an essay on their goals after earning their degree, and letters of recommendation. These letters should come from academic or professional recommenders who can speak to the applicant's qualifications. Online colleges and universities may also conduct an interview with prospective students to assess their fit with the program. In some cases, online programs assign an admission adviser to guide applicants through the process.

What Will I Learn?

Students earning an online marketing degree take classes in a variety of areas, including general education credits as part of their bachelor's in education. Depending on the program, marketing majors may take general business courses, including accounting and management, in addition to their specialized marketing classes. A bachelor's degree usually requires 120 credits of coursework, including approximately 50 credits in general education classes such as English, math, and natural science. Marketing students may complete an additional 20-30 credits of business courses and 20-30 credits within their marketing specialization, with the remaining credits coming from electives.

Each program sets its own graduation requirements to earn an online bachelor's degree in marketing. The curriculum may include principles of marketing, strategic business decisions, and digital marketing. Additionally, marketing majors may take classes on customer service, business communications, and advertising development, with a capstone or internship requirement depending on the program.

Introduction to Marketing

In introductory courses, marketing majors learn the principles of marketing, including how to analyze marketing plans, implement a marketing strategy, and evaluate the effectiveness of a marketing strategy. Students may also learn about market research, strategies to target buyers, and the consumer buying process.

Business Communications

Marketing professionals depend on strong business communication skills, which they build through business communication courses. The class introduces students to effective communication techniques and tools for business settings. This may include written, spoken, and customer communications.

Customer Service

During an online marketing degree, customer service courses train students in providing strong customer service for both consumers and business partners. The class offers an overview of techniques and tools to build customer loyalty, increase customer satisfaction, and manage customer expectations. A background in customer service prepares graduates for careers in many areas of marketing.

Advertising Management

Students learn about the principles behind advertising and managing an advertising team. They study the relationship between marketing strategies and advertising plans, learn how to target advertising to specific groups, and study different media outlets for advertising plans. The course may also cover measuring the effectiveness of advertisements, creative planning, and media buying.

Digital Marketing

With the rise of digital marketing, many online marketing degrees incorporate classes on internet and digital marketing. This can include social media marketing, designing digital marketing strategies, and the differences between marketing in traditional and digital environments. Students learn to implement a digital marketing plan, measure the effectiveness of digital marketing strategies, and perform business-to-business digital marketing.

Product Development

Marketing majors may take classes on product development with an emphasis on the role of marketing in new product development. The course may cover product design, market testing, and measurement of new product success. Students may also learn about innovation in product development and management of consumer expectations for new products.

What Can I Do with an Online Bachelor's Degree in Marketing?

Students who earn an online marketing degree build valuable knowledge of marketing principles, including marketing strategy, consumer research, and business analysis. These skills prepare graduates for careers as marketing specialists, account managers, and marketing managers. This section introduces the core skills gained during a marketing bachelor's degree online and how those competencies lead to careers in marketing. It also offers information about potential careers with a marketing degree, including the salary potential for marketing professionals.

Core Skills

During an online marketing degree, students gain core skills and competencies that prepare them for a career in marketing. In most programs, students take foundational business classes to build skills in management, analytics, and business communications. Within the marketing major, students gain valuable skills in content marketing, data analytics, and research. Students often study advertising techniques to learn how to carry out a marketing plan, complete real-world projects to strengthen their problem-solving skills, and build abilities in creating data-driven marketing strategies.

Marketing majors may learn how to implement a marketing strategy, design a social media marketing campaign, and communicate a brand's message and value to consumers. Many marketing programs also incorporate digital marketing courses, where students learn how to create and carry out a digital campaign, study search engine optimization (SEO), and build search engine marketing (SEM) skills. By gaining digital marketing skills, graduates widen their career opportunities.

The skills and competencies gained during a marketing degree allow marketing professionals to assess a client's strengths and weaknesses, design a marketing strategy to achieve the client's objectives, and carry out a data-driven campaign. These core skills translate directly into several marketing career paths.

Potential Careers and Salaries

Graduates with an online marketing degree pursue careers in several growing sectors. Entry-level positions in the field include marketing specialist, account manager, and marketing project manager. Each of these career paths offers opportunities to advance. For example, with several years of work experience, a marketing specialist can advance to the title of marketing manager, which typically requires a bachelor's degree. Many of these careers offer above-average salaries, with marketing managers earning over $130,000 annually on average, according to the BLS.

Professionals who earn online marketing degrees pursue careers in several sectors. While many work for private businesses, marketing professionals also work for nonprofit organizations and government agencies. With their skills, marketing majors can work on political campaigns, as advertising executives, and in communications. Many of these positions hire candidates with a bachelor's degree in marketing.

Career Profiles

Marketing Manager

Annual Median Salary: $132,230

Marketing managers oversee an organization's marketing strategy and programs. They research demand for products and services, create pricing strategies, and design marketing campaigns to increase sales and promote the brand. They also oversee a team of marketing specialists who carry out the manager's plan.

Marketing Specialist

Annual Median Salary: $63,230

Marketing specialists conduct research on market conditions, project potential sales for products and services, and create marketing campaigns. They research competitors, monitor prices, and carry out the marketing manager's strategy.

Project Manager, Marketing

Annual Median Salary: $58,949

Marketing project managers ensure that a project runs smoothly. They oversee the project from its conception to its implementation, working to keep it on time and free of disruptions. They may work on marketing projects, advertising projects, or other projects.

Product Marketing Manager

Annual Median Salary: $86,148

Product marketing managers use their detailed knowledge of a company's products to design a strategy to sell those products. They create an advertising strategy, design press releases, and promote the product to the public. Product marketing managers typically hold a bachelor's degree in marketing.

Account Manager

Annual Median Salary: $52,343

Account managers within marketing or advertising firms connect the firm to its clients, overseeing the creation of products or services for the client. They pitch marketing plans, work with the production team to design campaigns, and oversee the implementation of a project.

Will I Need a Graduate Degree for a Career in Marketing?

Earning a marketing bachelor's degree online prepares graduates for several entry-level positions in marketing. For example, marketing majors pursue careers as marketing specialists, account managers, and marketing project managers. Marketing professionals can increase their earning potential and advance their careers by pursuing a graduate degree. Some positions, including marketing managers, hire candidates with a bachelor's degree and work experience but may prefer to hire professionals with an advanced degree. After completing a bachelor's in marketing, professionals may pursue an MBA or a master's in marketing to further specialize their skills and apply for mid-level or management positions.

However, professionals with a bachelor's degree can pursue career advancement without earning an additional degree. For example, completing a certification can demonstrate skills without requiring a graduate degree. Similarly, work experience helps marketing professionals advance their careers by showing their marketing results and qualifications.

Accreditation for Marketing Bachelor's Programs

Accreditation acts as a marker of academic excellence. It also benefits students in several ways. Students attending regionally accredited institutions qualify for federal financial aid. Accredited degrees meet the requirements for most licenses and certifications. Credits earned from an accredited institution are also easier to transfer between schools. In addition to regional and national accreditation, which reviews an entire college or university, programmatic accrediting agencies assess specialized programs. This can include teacher preparation programs, counseling programs, and business schools.

At most institutions, marketing departments fall under the business school and earn programmatic accreditation through one of three business accrediting agencies. These agencies are the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education. Prospective students should always check for accreditation status before applying to a marketing degree online program.

Marketing Professional Organizations

Marketers join organizations to connect with other professionals and gain access to professional development resources that help them stay current in the field. Students pursuing an online marketing bachelor's degree benefit from discounted membership costs, scholarship opportunities, and career services. Many professional organizations also offer certifications, which can increase a candidate's competitiveness on the job market, and host annual conferences that provide networking opportunities.

American Marketing Association
Marketing professionals benefit from the networking opportunities at AMA's annual conference and events, professional development resources, and publications. Members receive access to articles and research, live webcasts, and e-newsletters on marketing. AMA also offers a career center with job listings.

Association of National Advertisers
ANA offers training sessions for marketing professionals who represent 10,000 different brands. They also provide a library of professional resources, host annual conferences with networking opportunities, and run the Business Marketing Association for specialists in business marketing.

Digital Marketing Association
Specialists in digital marketing benefit from the resources offered by this global association. DMA provides training opportunities, a digital library with tools and resources, and the certified digital marketer program.