Best Online Associate in Marketing Degree Programs

Oct 20, 2021

What is an Online Marketing Associate Degree?

An online associate degree in marketing will provide instruction in the basic elements of marketing, including the marketing mix or "five Ps" of product, price, place, promotion and people, as well as an introduction to advertising and promotions, sales, marketing research and analytics, finance and economics, and communications and public relations.

An associate degree provides students with the background necessary to seek positions in marketing roles. Associate degrees are available at various types of colleges, including community colleges, junior colleges and technical colleges.

An online degree program offers flexibility for students who also need to work.

An associate degree in marketing can either prepare a student for further study in in the field or provide them with the foundational skills and knowledge needed for entry-level marketing jobs.

Types of Online Marketing Associate Degrees

Associate degrees are the first level of post-secondary education. Under the umbrella of associate degrees there are three specific types, an Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Science (A.S.) and Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.).

An A.A.S. degree has more applied course requirements, which means they are more practical in nature and more focused on entering a specific career field such as marketing. These programs generally require students to complete fewer hours of general education coursework. As such they do not necessarily provide students with the required coursework towards earning a bachelor's degree.

A.A. and A.S. degree programs are also offered in marketing. Most also require students to complete several hours of general education courses in the liberal arts. These degrees prepare students to enter a bachelor's program for further study.

Who Should Pursue an Online Marketing Associate Degree?

For some students, an associate program provides preparation for a bachelor's degree, while for others it is a stand-alone qualification, helping to improving one's employment prospects.

Things to consider would include your current financial situation or past educational background. Associate degrees are a faster, less expensive route to career change or improvement than a traditional four-year degree. Online programs may offer courses at a lower cost than campus-based programs. You also may ideally want to get a full bachelor's degree but not have strong enough grades or simply like the idea of paying lower tuition fees for a few years before transferring into a bachelor's degree program.

Consider your ability to do the program full-time or only part-time if you are working or have children or family commitments. Online programs offer flexible curriculums that are ideal for working professionals, working at your own pace or at an accelerated rate or part-time. Or attend a school in another area of the country without the need to relocate.

Application, Admissions, and Enrollment for Online Marketing Associate Degree Programs

Start by completing the school's application form. Some will have a fixed deadline for applications to match their school calendar, while others accept applications on a rolling basis year-round.

Provide transcripts of your high school records and in some cases an election and attestation form that you've graduated from high school or received your GED. You may be asked to provide results from a standardized test such as the SAT or ACT and a copy of a government-issued ID for proof of identity. Some institutions may prefer that you also include a letter of introduction or personal essay as part of your admissions package.

To access your online classes, coursework, communications and resources, you will need a computer with an Internet browser such as Chrome or Safari and current antivirus software. You will need an internet connection, an email address, Microsoft 365 for access to key programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, a web camera for school conferencing via channels such as Zoom and a headset for best audio quality.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Marketing Associate Degree?

The typical online marketing associate program is 60 - 67 semester credits of study, equalling about twenty college courses. This generally takes two years to complete.

Some schools offer accelerated programs that allow students to graduate in 18 months. Courses in these programs may only last five or six weeks.

How Much Does an Online Associate Degree in Marketing Cost?

The cost of an online marketing degree depends on several factors. State residency is an important consideration, since many colleges and universities charge higher tuition for out-of-state students. However, some schools charge flat tuition for online students regardless of residency. In addition, public schools charge less than private schools.

Most online programs charge tuition on a per credit hour basis. There is a wide range of costs illustrating the variations between rates for in-state students at a public school on the lower end to more expensive private schools on the high end. Per-credit costs generally range from $69 to $570. Students should expect to pay between $4,200 and $34,000 in total tuition.

Technology fees often apply to online students but not their brick-and-mortar counterparts. These may be assessed on a per credit hour or per semester basis. Other fees that may apply are application fees, registration fees, student activity fees and graduation fees as well as the cost of textbooks and supplies.

Online Marketing Associate Degree Coursework

Online associate degree in marketing programs generally include a core group of business, marketing and general education classes, then provide the opportunity to delve into areas of personal interest through elective choices.

Core business courses may include:

  • Accounting Principles
  • Managerial Communications
  • Macroeconomics
  • Principles of Management
  • Principles of Finance

Courses focused on marketing and related disciplines may include:

  • Introduction to Marketing
  • Advertising and Promotions
  • Marketing Research
  • Consumer Behavior

Elective courses allow students to delve into areas of marketing that are of particular interest such as digital marketing, in which students learn about such topics as mobile marketing, social media, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Some programs may require that students complete an internship or capstone project as a synthesis of all that they have learned in the program.

What Can I Do With an Online Associate Degree in Marketing?

Marketing studies can help students obtain jobs in marketing management, sales, customer service or advertising. Although the most lucrative positions require a bachelor's or master's level degree, those with an associates degree in marketing can secure a variety of entry-level positions.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts the marketing and sales industries will experience job growth between 2019-2029. Marketing, promotions and sales managers could see a 7 percent job boost over that time period, with median pay in 2020 reported as $141,490.

Some prominent job paths for marketing graduates include:

  • Advertising, promotions or marketing manager
  • Market research analyst
  • Sales manager

Other prospective areas include direct marketing, business marketing, digital marketing and product management. Potential jobs could include account manager, marketing associate, product manager, digital marketing manager, social networking specialist, mobile marketing coordinator, e-commerce specialist or SEO analyst.

Begin a Career as a Marketing Manager

Marketing managers help drive new business, expand market share and increase revenue through the setting of pricing strategies, establishment of marketing plans, and development of promotional campaigns. Their job setting is usually a corporate or regional headquarters.

Although a bachelor's degree is the minimum educational requirement for a marketing manager role, often an MBA is preferred along with specific marketing work experience for higher management positions. Preferred attributes would include analytical abilities, good communications skills, creativity, decisiveness and organization.

As a rough idea of the type of salary a person with an associate degree in marketing can expect, according to Payscale, a marketing assistant can make between $29,000 and $46,000. A marketing coordinator makes between $32,000 and $59,000 annually.

Begin a Career as a Market Research Manager

Market research managers help measure the effectiveness of marketing efforts and business strategies, analyzing market conditions and studying customer data to provide management with actionable findings. The job setting may a corporate headquarters as a member of the marketing or management team.

A bachelor's degree is the minimum educational requirement for a market research manager, but often an MBA is preferred. Desired attributes would include strong analytical abilities, good communications and critical thinking skills and a detail orientation.

According to the BLS, the May 2020 median salary for marketing research analysts was $65,810 per year. Job growth is forecast at 18% in the 2019-2029 time period.

What Is the Difference Between a Content Marketing Strategist and an Online Marketing Manager?

Digital marketing has opened up a new path for marketing careers. Two management positions from the digital marketing arena are Content Marketing Strategist and Online Marketing Manager.

Content marketing strategists may perform content audits of websites and social media accounts, create editorial content calendars, develop promotional strategies using such channels as social media and email marketing. Most content marketing strategists work full-time in an office setting.

Key job skills would include creativity and technical knowledge plus strong communications, analytical and organizational abilities.

An online marketing manager may be in charge of tracking and evaluation of marketing initiatives, collaborating with designers, working with the sales and client support teams and identifying new online marketing opportunities and trends. They must exhibit flexibility, creativity, project and time management skills, business savvy and excellent verbal and written communications skills. Experience with social media and search engine optimization (SEO) is also preferred.

Accreditation for Online Marketing Associate Degree Programs

Accreditation is a process conducted by an outside authority to ensure that a school and degree program meet certain standards.

Accreditation status is one of the most important considerations for prospective students. Colleges and universities in the U.S. receive accreditation from agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the nonprofit Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

The accreditation process involves an extensive review of a school's educational programs and student services. Accreditation impacts course credit transferability, as well as eligibility for federal financial aid, so students should ensure the school offering the program has earned national or regional accreditation.

Online learners need to be sure that their prospective program has both institutional and programmatic accreditation. Institutional accreditation applies to the entire school, while programmatic accreditation validates particular degrees, departments or schools, including online programs.

Transfer Options After Completing an Online Marketing Associate Degree

Individuals who graduate with an online associate degree in marketing may wish to transfer their credits to pursue a bachelor's degree in marketing or a similar program, such as a Bachelor of Science in Business.

Many four-year colleges give students the option of earning an associate degree en route to a bachelor's degree. These are often called 2+2 programs. After a student completes the first two years of their four-year degree, they have earned their associate degree.

Transferring is often very simple. As long as your course credits are relevant and accepted by the university offering the bachelor's degree, you can transfer them and join the bachelor's program halfway through, either continuing in an online format or moving to a brick and mortar setting.

An articulation agreement is the bridge between an associate and a bachelor's degree. Many four-year institutions offer articulation agreements to community college and online college students. It is a guarantee that a student will be able to complete their bachelor's degree at a larger college or university if they meet the course requirement stipulations.

What Are Other Marketing Degree Paths/Options?

An associate program offers the shortest path to a marketing degree, usually taking two years to complete. A typical timeframe for completing a bachelor's degree would be 4 years. A master's degree in marketing, or an MBA, takes an additional two years after completion of a bachelor's program. A doctorate in marketing would generally take another 6 years after the completion of a master's level program. Obtaining a marketing certificate can take less than a year of study, depending on the number of skills the student wishes to obtain certification in.

Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Marketing

Students generally need to complete 120 to 124 credits in order to earn an online bachelor's degree in marketing. Full-time students can typically expect to graduate within four years, two if they transfer from a completed associate degree.

A bachelor's degree in marketing positions graduates for marketing roles with higher pay and more responsibility than a marketing associate degree. According to the BLS, most employers in the field require a bachelor's degree, which helps ensure that candidates possess a deeper understanding of marketing, advertising, management, and general business skills.

Online Master's Degree Programs in Marketing

Both an MBA with a marketing concentration and a marketing master degree will prepare the student for marketing leadership positions across a spectrum of businesses and industries. While each program offers advanced training in marketing, they each have a distinct objective:

  • A marketing MBA trains you to develop a broad set of business skills that you will be able to apply and transfer to other business settings.
  • The more specialized marketing master degree takes a less general path by offering students the opportunity to focus almost exclusively on marketing-related studies.

Students may choose to focus on a more operational track with their master's degree studies.

Online Doctoral Programs in Marketing

Earning a Ph.D. typically requires about six years. The beginning of your doctoral study focuses on your chosen field of marketing. You'll broaden your knowledge through scholarly writing, improve your research skills and deepen your understanding of your field of specialization.

The final few years of doctoral study will be focused on the preparation of your doctoral dissertation or thesis. Ultimately you must orally defend your dissertation to your committee before a decision is made regarding the granting of your doctorate.

Online Certificate Programs in Marketing

A graduate certificate in marketing offers a focused program to enhance your professional marketing expertise. Certificate programs provide you with core technical, strategic, and analytical skills. Most programs require 12-18 credits to complete, and are usually offered as asynchronous online courses, which can be started immediately and completed as your schedule permits.

A digital marketing certification will generally take between one to six months to earn, depending on how many skills you are looking to acquire. Most courses build a specific skill set, such as Pay Per Click, SEO, content marketing, web analytics, or social media marketing. Here are some of the best certification programs.

Several professional organizations offer marketing certificate programs.

Scholarships & Financial Aid for Marketing Online Associate Degrees

Marketing students can take advantage of several funding opportunities to offset the cost of tuition. They can take out federal loans with low interest rates, be awarded grants or participate in work-study programs, and apply for scholarships.

The completion of a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in looking for any financial aid support.

Schools may offer scholarships through their own foundation or through state-specific programs.

Here are details on several external scholarship opportunities for marketing associate students.

Additional scholarship opportunities specifically for the digital marketing field include the following:

There are many online resources to learn more about scholarship opportunities.

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