Marketing Education Requirements: How To Become A Marketing Manager

marketing education requirements

Introduction to Marketing Management Careers

Marketing management professionals are in demand in all types of for-profit industries but they must have acquired all of the proper marketing education requirements. Good marketing exposes any type of product or service to the right audience. This process will ultimately result in increased brand visibility, leads, referrals, and sales. 

According to the US BLS, marketing managers have an average annual salary of $157,620. Employment is expected to rise by 6 percent from 2022 to 2032. This means that a lot of high-paying positions will open up. Marketing Education requirements vary based on the specific role and industry. Yet, a bachelor’s degree is often preferred or required.

In this guide, we will discuss how to become a marketing manager. This covers educational requirements, costs, and continuing education. You’ll also learn about the alternatives for marketing manager education. 

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Understanding Marketing Education Requirements

Marketing management is more than just thinking of catchy slogans. It requires a multifaceted skill set, which you can only have upon earning a marketing manager degree.

Education plays a primary role in achieving success in every field, including marketing. Here are the steps you need to complete to become a marketing manager.

#1 Complete a bachelor’s degree.

Marketing manager schooling begins with earning a bachelor’s degree. You can pursue a major in marketing, business administration, or a related field. The important thing is that the degree gives you ideas of the following topics:

  • Brand Management
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Data Analytics
  • Internet-Based Marketing
  • International Marketing
  • Marketing of Emerging Technology
  • Marketing Principles
  • Marketing Research
  • Product Design and Pricing Strategy
  • Promotions
  • Sales Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Search Engine Optimization

#2 Gain hands-on experience.

This step involves completing an internship or volunteer work. In addition to gaining practical abilities, these are also great ways to start a professional network.

#3 Consider Continuing Education programs.

The field is competitive. A bachelor’s degree, usually, is the minimum requirement for entry-level jobs. Yet, many employers prefer candidates with advanced knowledge and skills.

Pursuing a master’s degree leads to specialized knowledge and skills that are sought after in the industry. A lot of marketing managers have an MBA degree. If you don’t want to jump into a master’s degree immediately, you can consider professional development courses. You can find a lot of courses and degrees online.

High School Preparation for Marketing Studies

Many students ask, “How long does it take to become a marketing manager?” The answer depends on several factors. But for some, it takes eight years (excluding time spent in entry-level jobs)! But why that long? 

Many successful marketing managers began their training in their junior year of high school. Starting early in high school sets the foundation for a successful career in marketing.

So, how can you start developing marketing skills while still in high school? 

  1. Start building a strong online presence. 
  2. Look for marketing projects at school or in your community. 
  3. Study free or low-cost individual online business, economics, psychology, and communications courses.

Choosing the Right College Program

What degree do you need to be a marketing manager? There’s really no strict education needed to be a marketing manager other than a bachelor’s degree. 

Some professionals have a marketing manager major, while others have a more broadened business administration major. The key is to pursue a program that aligns with your interests and goals while offering opportunities to learn marketing techniques. 

Regardless of what major you plan to pursue, you should consider the following factors: 

Course Content and Structure

Curriculum requirements will vary from program to program. If your main goal is to become a marketing manager but do not want to restrict yourself to a single field, consider a business degree that covers consumer behavior, advertising, and market research. You should opt for degrees with elective courses or concentrations. 

Learning Modality 

Evaluate your lifestyle and expectations. 

Do you thrive more in face-to-face interactions? Consider the traditional route. Are you in a remote area? Pursue online degree programs. 

Hybrid programs might be the best of both worlds, offering a blend of online flexibility and on-campus engagement. Additionally, consider factors like scheduling flexibility. 

Length of the Course

This is another important factor. There are bachelor’s degrees that last four years. There are also those with fast-paced learning options or intensive study tracks that last three years or less. Moreover, bachelor’s and master’s accelerated programs are increasing in popularity as they offer an expedited path to obtaining both degrees. 

Entry Requirements and Suitability

Entry requirements hint at the ideal candidate for a course. Scan the specific requirements and compare them against your own qualifications and experiences. If you’re up to par, then consider applying. However, if you’re just scraping by, perhaps look for other options. 

Also, evaluate the program cost. Do not pursue a degree that will require you to take on more loans. Graduating with a large amount of debt will hurt your ROI. 

Accreditation and Recognition

Regardless of what education is needed to become a marketing manager, it’s important to ensure that the program or institution is accredited and recognized. Accreditation guarantees academic quality by confirming that a school meets specific standards. 

Non-accredited degrees and institutions will hurt your reputation. Large employers will question your skills, hurting your opportunities. Moreover, you won’t be able to transfer credit hours or get into grad school.

Financial Planning for College

Beyond learning about the education requirements for marketing manager positions,  financial planning for college is crucial. The average yearly cost of tuition in US institutions is $37,650. Adding other educational expenses, such as transportation and school fees, you’re looking at paying up to $40-45k a year. 

To ensure better ROI, consider these few tips for managing college costs: 

  1. Choose a college within your budget or at least one that doesn’t seem too out of reach. 
  2. Prioritize in-state schooling.
  3. Use tuition payment plans. These are usually free of interest if paid within due dates. 
  4. Apply for federal financial aid six months before college applications. 
  5. Apply for as many scholarships as you can. 

Leveraging Scholarship Opportunities

Scholarships provide free financial aid, reducing college debt and offering opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds. They alleviate the need for part-time work, support academic performance, and can lead to internships and job opportunities. 

Scholarships are not exclusively offered by the federal government. You can also apply for those offered by independent organizations, corporations, and foundations.

  1. Use online databases dedicated to compiling scholarship opportunities.
  2. Join marketing organizations and participate in events or workshops where scholarship opportunities may be announced or discussed. 
  3. Network within your community and academic circles. 
  4. Seek specialized scholarships catering to your unique background, identity, or interests. 
  5. Apply for as many scholarship opportunities as possible. 

Exploring Financial Aid Options

There are several types of financial aid:

  • Grants
  • Scholarships
  • Work-study
  • Federal and private loans 

To ensure that you’ll receive federal aid, you should complete the FAFSA application early. Try one or more of the following tactics to make sure you’re receiving the best assistance possible:

  1. Put your college savings into a parent-controlled 529 plan to be assessed at a lower rate.
  2. Put financial gains into a 401(k) or IRA since those won’t count against you.
  3. Utilize savings for tuition/books in freshman year to increase chances of scholarships/grants later.
  4. Attach supplementary letters for changed financial situations.
  5. Appeal unfair financial aid decisions by contacting the school’s office politely.

Gaining Relevant Skills and Experience

Marketing managers must possess a diverse set of skills tailored to the needs of the company’s size. But regardless of the scope of their responsibilities, these skills are essential for success in the role.

Hard Skills: 

  • Content strategy and content management
  • Data analysis
  • E-commerce
  • Research and analytics
  • Responsive design and responsive marketing skills
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Social media
  • Technological proficiency
  • UX design
  • Writing and content creation

Soft Skills: 

  • Leadership 
  • Creativity 
  • Teamwork 
  • Adaptability

In addition to formal education, other ways to gain practical skills include internships, part-time jobs, and volunteering. 

Alternative Pathways to Marketing Careers

Another answer to the question of “How long does it take to be a marketing manager?” can also lie in exploring alternative pathways to marketing careers. Understandably, not everyone has the time and resources to take the traditional bachelor’s and master’s route. Here are a few alternative pathways to becoming a marketing manager: 


Apprenticeships give you a chance to get hands-on experience, guidance from a mentor, and exposure to real marketing projects. Usually, apprenticeships last from six months to two years. 

Online Courses

Online courses provide students with a convenient way of learning marketing at home. Depending on how much time you put in, finishing a bunch of courses can take a few months to a year.

Vocational Programs

Vocational programs at places like technical schools or community colleges focus on teaching specific marketing skills like advertising or graphic design. These programs can last from a few months to two years.

Conclusion: Charting Your Course to Marketing Success

To become a successful marketing management professional, you must have a combination of formal and informal learning. Formal learning teaches you the foundational theories, frameworks, and strategies. On the other hand, informal learning allows you to put those theories to the test and gain practical skills. 

So, how many years to become a marketing manager? It depends. But it generally takes six years (four years bachelor’s and two years master’s). If you want a quicker route, you can consider alternative pathways. However, the alternative pathways may make it hard for you to compete against candidates with formal and practical training.