What is the best degree path to becoming a marketing manager?

Pursuing a degree in marketing management degree is one of the best ways to prepare for an exciting career in marketing. However, not all degrees are created equal. While some programs may lure a student in with low tuition rates, the school's accreditation may be in question. Some programs may claim to be the best at offering networking or internship opportunities, yet their graduates do not report favorable ROI statistics. With factors like these in mind, here are just a few of the degrees one may pursue in marketing management with information about the potential results of graduating with them.

The Associate's Degree in Marketing

To best understand the associate's degree includes contrasting and comparing it to an undergraduate degree as many students out of high school spend time deciding which of these two programs will be best for them. One of the biggest differences between the degrees is a matter of time. A full-time student can earn an associate's degree in just two years. While an associate's degree requires less credits, it is a logically a less-expensive degree. Some schools actually offer associate's degree courses at lower costs than their bachelor's degree counterparts.

Most students who sign up for an associate's program do so with the plan to either focus on a specific field of study which will provide an employment opportunity in a trade or skilled vocation, or they see the two-year degree as a way to prepare for a bachelor's degree as often, classes are transferable. While a professional with only an associate's degree may have the opportunity to receive training in a specific trade, as an x-ray technician as an example, she may be limited in the future on what jobs she can be qualified for.

As one source puts it, "while there are many careers that only require an associate's degree, you may be competing for jobs with candidates who have bachelor's degrees. Generally speaking, an applicant with a bachelor's degree may be thought of as more qualified or more attractive to employers. Fields like accounting, finance, and business management often require a bachelor's degree at a minimum. These jobs typically offer more opportunities for career advancement and promotion. Depending on the position, some companies don't care what your particular area of study was; just having a four-year degree meets their requirement." While there are associate's degrees available in marketing, many believe that a four-year degree is the minimum one must attain before being able to be competitive in this field.

The Bachelor's Degree in Marketing

The Bachelor's in Marketing is viewed by many as the best entry-level degree for those seeking a progressive career in the field. This four-year program consists of "the basics" and offers coursework specific to marketing and business. Many employers will consider the bachelor's degree as the minimum educational requirement in order to be qualified for a position in their organization. As stated in the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics report, "Most marketing managers need a bachelor's degree. Courses in business law, management, economics, finance, computer science, mathematics, and statistics are advantageous. For example, courses in computer science are helpful in developing an approach to maximize online traffic, by utilizing online search results, because maximizing such traffic is critical for the success of digital advertisements and promotions. In addition, completing an internship while in school can be useful."

The Master's in Marketing Management

Building on the undergraduate degree, and with the potential to catapult a business professional into a successful career in marketing management, is the on-campus or online Master's in Marketing Management program. This degree is, for many, the apex of business leadership education as it develops a broad set of business skills that are easy to transfer to a spectrum of business opportunities. With a foundation of business theory courses which usually center on case studies, the Master's in Marketing Management offers specialized training. Many of the nation's best business schools have finely tuned these programs to offer students wonderful opportunities to learn from mentors in business and be able to build a healthy network through cohort environments and internship possibilities. Some graduate students pursue these degrees through traditional courses taken on campus while others pursue online degrees and are able to apply concepts learned through their coursework in real time while on the job.

There are several paths one may take in order to initiate a fruitful career in marketing management. While there are many levels of degrees available, students driven to reach the highest heights of leadership in marketing will do well to seek a graduate's degree in marketing management.