Is an Advertising Degree Right for You?
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If you plan to pursue a career in advertising, a bachelor's degree is essential. To excel in the field, you should have strong interpersonal skills, as you will be working with sometimes demanding clients and managers. The ability to use your creativity and channel it in the right direction is important as well. You will also be making many presentations, so you should be able to think on the spot and speak in front of groups without losing your cool. During your degree program, you will often have to conduct market research to understand consumers' needs and predict their responses to certain advertising methods. Communication and stress management skills are also very important to possess, both during your degree program and your career.
Advice for Earning Your Advertising Degree Online
You can receive an online bachelor's degree with a concentration in advertising, marketing or public relations. Because the field requires a lot of communication and presentations, it is good to make sure your online or traditional degree program makes you hone these skills. Also, if you plan to transfer from an online program to a brick-and-mortar school, you need to make sure the school you transfer to will accept your online credits. If you plan to pursue the degree entirely online, be sure that potential employers will find the program credible. You can do this by making sure your school of choice is accredited.
In order to excel in an advertising career, you must have a firm grasp of concepts including advertising theory, marketing strategy, media management, business management and design techniques. Some required courses in the field include account planning, advertising copy and design, advertising research and sales, consumer behavior, creative strategy, principles of advertising and retail advertising. After completing your basics, you may be required to put together a portfolio of advertisements. Usually employers will ask to see your portfolio, which should highlight your degree as well as your work experience.
Common Career Paths
Once you have earned your advertising degree, you can choose from many career options. There are a many nonprofits and Web development companies that hire advertising majors, in addition to corporate and sales positions. Some of the common career titles for advertising graduates include (but are not limited to):
After completing your bachelor's degree in advertising and a few years of experience, you can pursue a career as a creative director. You can choose to work in such industries as fashion, media or film. Companies within the entertainment sector are common employers, but you can also look into doing graphic design, Web development or software development in other fields. You will be in charge of reviewing product designs, usually submitted by a team you directly oversee. After some experience, you may even be in charge of creating full layouts for certain products. Most employers require at least a bachelor's degree in advertising (or a concentration in advertising) when recruiting for potential workers. Because this is a popular field, a few years of experience can be helpful to give you a competitive edge over other advertising majors. You are likely to start off as a copywriter and advance to creative director after showing your potential. Creative directors start off making about $30,000 to $85,000 a year as of June 2012, according to PayScale.com. After about 10 years, salary ranges increase to $50,000 to $138,000.
An art director usually works under a creative director for an advertising firm or section of a company. You will be required to work with an editor on an advertising layout before presenting it to the creative director. You will have to come up with ideas and/or creative concepts to promote various products. You may need these ideas to line up with certain forms of advertising, such as for television, Internet, brochures and mailings. To be an art director, you should have great presentation skills. Being able to sell your layout to your firm and clients is crucial to excel in this career. Entry-level art directors make $24,658 to $79,463 a year as of May 2012, according to PayScale.com.
As a graphic designer, you should be proficient in Adobe Creative Suite, HTML and XML. You will often be required to know how to produce and render different advertisements with new software. Aspects of the career include drawing, offset printing, photography and interactive media. You will usually have to produce layouts that help companies spread the popularity of their brand and their product.To be considered for a large company or firm, you often need to have a portfolio with a variety of completed graphic design products. Bachelor's degree courses in advertising (with a concentration in graphic design) will help you prepare an adequate portfolio. Entry-level graphic designers make $22,951 to $41,259 a year as of June 2012, according to PayScale.com.