How Long Does It Take To Get An Advertising Degree?

Businesses in the United States—and around the world, in fact—rely on advertising to introduce people to their products. Because it has been proven to be effective, companies have relied on advertising to lure customers to buy and grow their businesses profitably. And the brains behind these successful campaigns are advertising experts who know the fundamentals of advertising and the factors that affect the buying decisions of consumers. More importantly, they know the techniques that can prompt buyers to reach for their wallets and hand in their cash.

Students who wish to work in the fast-paced and highly-competitive world of advertising typically take up an associate’s degree in advertising or a bachelor’s degree in advertising. An associate’s degree usually takes two years to complete while a bachelor’s degree normally takes four years to finish. A high school diploma or its equivalent is the minimum educational requirement to gain entry into these programs.

Advertising courses introduce students to the history of advertising and how it has evolved over time, how to conduct market research and how to come up with campaigns that that would convince target populations to buy the product. It also teaches them how to write advertising copies, conduct retail advertising and how to create visual designs for various advertisements. Students also learn the ethics and laws that all advertisers must follow.

An advertising program teaches students how to think critically and develop effective communication skills. From writing to editing, they learn not only how to make grammatically correct ad copy but one that is persuasive and compelling. In order to achieve this, prospective advertisers need to know how to do surveys and read statistics and even understand the characteristics of various cultures. Programs also teach students how to plan advertisements for various types of media—from television to radio and recently, to new media like websites and blogs.

An important component of these advertising programs is that it gives students the chance to develop their own portfolios. This is what employers will ask for when they start applying for jobs since it showcases their abilities in conceptualizing designs and bringing these to life.

An associate’s degree prepares graduates for entry-level jobs in the advertising industry. It allows them to get employment as part of the advertising teams in ad agencies or large companies. However, a bachelor’s degree is preferred by a growing number of companies. For those gunning for managerial positions, a bachelor’s degree is a requirement. With experience, however, they can work their way up to the ladder to attain executive level positions. To further enhance their qualifications, advertisers can opt to get a master’s degree in advertising or a master’s in business administration (MBA). This will take another two more years of full-time study.

For professionals who want to teach at the university level, a doctorate degree in advertising or marketing is necessary. PhD programs typically take anywhere from five to seven years to complete, with a dissertation presentation and defense as a final requirement for graduation.

Advertising programs are offered online or on campus. For professionals who are already working in the advertising industry and want to enhance their credentials without disrupting their work, an Internet-based distance education program is a better option because it gives them the flexibility that their schedule requires.

Career Spotlight: Advertising Manager

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