Is a Marketing Degree Worth It?

With many colleges offering 100+ majors, it can be tough to narrow your focus to just one. But, if you already have an interest in business, a degree in marketing might be worth considering. Marketing degree graduates can leave school with an education in statistics, public relations, finance, management and other areas. Exposure to various subjects can help graduates cast a wide net when seeking employment in a competitive job market.

The Online MBA From Syracuse University

Skip the GMAT and earn a world-class MBA online from Syracuse University’s AACSB-accredited Martin J. Whitman School of Management. The program features a rigorous curriculum with six career-focused specializations.

  • As few as 24 months to complete 
  • No GMAT required to apply 
  • Six concentrations available 
  • AACSB accredited


UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School – Online MBA

Kenan-Flagler Business School is STEM-designated and prepares professionals to lead in an evolving business landscape. GMAT waivers are available. 

  • Complete in as few as 18 months  
  • GMAT waivers for experienced professionals  
  • 25+ electives available across five concentrations 


The Online MBA from the University of California, Davis

The online MBA from UC Davis brings a culture of collaboration and Silicon Valley connections to students worldwide. Earn your MBA in as few as 24 months. 

  • The Graduate School of Management at UC Davis is AACSB accredited
  • Students can complete the program in as few as 24 months
  • Combine business with data in a STEM-designated online MBA


Things to Consider When Deciding if a Marketing Degree is Right for You

As you weigh the costs and benefits of a marketing degree, ask yourself questions like these to discover whether it would be a good fit for your personality, finances and career goals:

  • How quickly am I looking to enter the field?
  • Am I willing to relocate after graduation?
  • How will I pay for my education?
  • Would I enjoy working in the environment common to this occupation?
  • What certifications might I need if I want to specialize?
  • Do I have the emotional support, i.e., family, friends, etc., to pursue a degree?
  • Do I have or can I develop the soft skills required for this occupation?
  • Is this occupation expected to grow or decline over the next 10 years?


A successful and satisfying career in marketing is typically experienced by those who:

  • Enjoy taking a leadership role.
  • Are dependable.
  • Can take charge of situations and see them to completion.
  • Remain calm amid change.
  • Work well with teams and also enjoy autonomy.

Does this sound like you?

Career Goals

If your career goals include becoming a marketing manager, then also consider whether you possess or are willing to learn the skills the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) identified as important for marketing.

  1. Analytical skills: The ability to plan an effective marketing campaign based on an analysis of industry trends.
  2. Communication skills: The ability to effectively communicate with teams, including subordinates and coworkers, throughout the marketing process.
  3. Creativity: The ability to generate new and imaginative ideas to clearly communicate and persuade the public.
  4. Decision-making skills: The ability to select which strategies or campaigns would be most beneficial for the company when several are put forth by the staff.
  5. Interpersonal skills: Managers work with a variety of people inside and outside the organization. These include clients and media representatives. They need to effectively communicate and demonstrate empathy when dealing with people in different scenarios.
  6. Organizational skills: Marketing managers must balance their time, budget and projects while supervising and motivating staff members.

Can You Teach Yourself Marketing Instead?

Yes, it’s possible to teach yourself marketing. However, learning a new skill or increasing your knowledge on a particular subject can be overwhelming, which is why a degree or a certificate in marketing can be a beneficial route. You’ll benefit from a structured format that can help make sure what your learning is accurate and relevant.

Even after you receive a formal education in marketing, you will still need to “teach yourself marketing” in order to stay up to date with the latest trends and technology. Self-education is a lifelong process in any career. New technologies, theories and changing markets require it.

Financial Return on Investment for a Marketing Degree 

An undergraduate or graduate marketing degree can offer a good return on investment. But since degree program costs vary, compare schools to determine which one you can afford based on current and projected income. Figure how much you can set aside for educational expenses and how much won’t be covered by grants or scholarships. The difference may need to be paid using federal or private student loans.

The median annual salary for marketing managers was $136,850 in May 2019, according to the BLS, with the lowest-paid 10% earning $71,010 and the highest 10% making at least $208,000. Entry-level positions, which are typically the positions someone with an undergraduate degree would start at, may pay lower than the median annual salary. For example, a public relations specialist, median salary was $61,150 in May 2019. Remember that salaries may differ depending on the geographic location of the job.

Occupational TitleSOC CodeEmployment, 2018Projected Employment, 2028Change, 2018-28

Change, 2018-28

Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers
Advertising and promotions managers
Marketing managers

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Job Outlook for Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers,” Last modified April 10, 2020.

Some industries might mean even higher pay, depending on years of experience, geographic location, and title. BLS reports the top-paying industries for experienced marketing professionals are:

IndustryEmploymentPercent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage

How Could Life Change After a Marketing Degree?

1. Career options can increase with experience.

As you gain more experience in the field, this degree might help you land management positions that don’t have the term “marketing” in the title. Examples include account supervisor, brand manager, business development director, business development manager and product manager. You might also be able to focus on specialized marketing areas, such as public relations, analytic research and consumer behavior.

2. You might work in a field that rewards your creativity.

Applying a fresh take to product campaigns and exploring new media distribution outlets are just a few areas where you can use your vision to help organizations succeed. Companies are always looking for ways to keep consumers engaged while staying on brand. Your creativity might be what’s needed to bring new life to an old service or product line.

3. You will be working in a field with high job demand.

The employment outlook is good for marketing degree graduates. The BLS projects marketing-related jobs will increase by 6% through 2028, faster than the average expected growth for all occupations.

Alternatives to a Marketing Degree

If you’re looking to break into the marketing field but aren’t ready to commit to a degree program, consider other options that may allow you to test the waters. These alternatives may help you qualify for entry-level positions in the field.

Marketing Certificates

Certificate programs are usually less than a year, with some only lasting a few weeks. These programs are typically taught by practitioners who bring real-world experience to the classroom. Instruction may consist of one or several courses that provide specialized training. One of these programs might help launch your career within a specific niche, such as digital marketing, content strategy or web analytics.

Marketing Internships

An internship allows you to gain hands-on experience in the field. While internships are usually associated with marketing degree programs, you might find one via a job board or by networking with other marketing professionals. If you’ve already earned a marketing certificate, it could make securing a paid or unpaid internship easier. Employers may be open to hiring someone who has already demonstrated their commitment to learning the technical knowledge and concepts to help an organization.

Marketing Apprenticeships

Digital marketing or social media apprenticeships allow you to receive one-on-one training from a professional at the organization. You may be able to secure one of these positions without ever attending college. But, similar to internships, applicants with a marketing certificate might have a better chance of obtaining an apprenticeship.

Master of Business Administration

If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you might consider completing an advanced degree in business before entering the marketing field. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) can give you an edge over other candidates and may qualify you for management jobs. Some higher positions may even require an MBA. And according to the BLS, individuals with more education earn higher wages and are less likely to be unemployed.

Whether you’re contemplating a career change or recently graduated high school, obtaining a marketing degree might be worthwhile.

Last updated: August 2020