What’s the Best Degree Path to Becoming a Marketing Manager?

Suppose you’re interested in deciding on a college major such as art and design, but you also have a passion for business and a desire to put your leadership skills to work. A career that combines these talents and interests, like that of a marketing manager in the field of graphic design, might be right for you. Marketing manager is among the top paying jobs for art and design majors, with experienced professionals earning a median salary of $73,000 per year. These professionals plan and manage marketing campaigns, including overseeing the work of the employees carrying out those campaigns. To begin preparing for this career, you will need to earn a college degree.

A Marketing Manager’s Education

A bachelor’s degree is essential for aspiring marketing managers and is often required even for entry-level marketing and graphic design positions. Your first choice of college majors might be to study graphic design exclusively, but while this educational path would certainly prepare you for a career as a graphic designer, it will not provide you with all of the knowledge and skills you will need to become a marketing manager. You might choose to major in marketing in addition to studying graphic design.

At the very least, students should take courses outside of graphic design that will aid them in their future work as a marketing manager. Some of the most beneficial courses for these students include consumer behavior, statistics, market research, sales, management, finance, economics and business law, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, that’s not to discount the importance of studying art and design. Subjects like art history, photography and visual arts are also important for aspiring marketing managers, the BLS reported.

Gaining Experience

As the job title implies, marketing managers have the important responsibilities of managing both projects and people. This is not an entry-level position. Instead, candidates must first gain several years of relevant professional experience in other roles, attaining knowledge and skills and proving their abilities. Your graphic design background can certainly help you prepare, but other jobs in fields like marketing, sales, advertising and promotions are even more closely related to marketing manager job duties. Many marketing managers began their careers as public relations specialists, sales representatives and advertising specialists, according to the BLS. One way aspiring marketing managers can help themselves gain a competitive edge in the job market even while searching for entry-level positions is by participating in an internship opportunity during college.

Marketing managers enjoy not only one of the highest rates of pay in the field, but several other perks as well. In fact, U.S. News & World Report ranked marketing managers 44th on its 100 best jobs list and seventh on its best business jobs list. The job outlook for these professionals is positive, with expected growth rates slightly higher than that of all occupations. The opportunity to be both creative and analytical makes this job fulfilling.

Brenda Rufener

Julie McCaulley

Carrie Sealey-Morris