What Is the Best Degree Path for Becoming a Market Research Analyst?

If you like working with numbers but are also fascinated by people – particularly, by the reasons they buy things – consider a career as a market research analyst. This professional puts statistics to work determining what a business should sell, who will buy it and how to promote it. Not only will the career let you combine your analytical skills with your curiosity about people, but it comes with benefits like a booming job outlook.

A Market Research Analyst’s Role

Not quite sure what a market research analyst does? These business professionals don’t launch advertising campaigns themselves, but the work they do plays an important role in how a company markets, sells and prices its products and services.

Market research analysts investigate and evaluate market conditions. They explore sales trends, research what competitors are doing and collect demographic information and survey responses from consumers. They use statistical software to analyze data and present it in formats like graphs, charts and tables.

The purpose of all of this work is to help companies figure out what products and services to sell, who their target audience is and how much they can charge, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Market research analysts assess how effective a particular marketing campaign has been and who to advertise a new product or service to, which helps the marketing team create more effective promotional material and advertising strategies.

An Education in Market Research 

To develop the skills necessary for success in market research analysis, you’ll need a college education. A bachelor’s degree in market research is a popular path into this career, but aspiring market research analysts also major in mathematics, statistics and computer science, the BLS reported. Even a background in communications, business administration or the social sciences can be adequate preparation for the career, as long as students take necessary courses such as statistics, marketing and research methods. Other subjects of study that can prove useful include psychology (particularly consumer psychology), sociology and economics. During your education, you may get to gain hands-on experience through an internship.

A high chance of upward mobility into management and senior research roles is just one of the perks of this career, according to U.S. News & World Report. To improve your options for career advancement, you can pursue a graduate degree in a field like marketing research, statistics or business administration. Once you have some experience under your belt, you can earn the Professional Researcher Certification from the Marketing Research Association.

Work as a marketing research analyst can be rewarding. These professionals earn a comfortable median salary of $60,300 per year and can often advance into leadership roles with even higher salaries. The BLS expects opportunities in the field to increase by 32 percent over 10 years. U.S. News & World Report ranked the career number one on its list of the Best Business Jobs and highly among the 100 Best Jobs.

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