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Advertising Consultant: Education and Career Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an advertising consultant. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs and job duties to determine if this is the career for you.

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An advertising consultant works with a clients to promote effective advertising, employing multiple strategies. To work in this field, a bachelor's degree in advertising is typically essential, and a graduate degree is offered. These consultants usually work for a firm.

Essential Information

Advertising consultants are experienced advertising professionals who help clients develop and implement effective marketing strategies using broadcast, print, and digital media formats. They may own or be partners in consulting firms. Employees of advertising agencies also assist clients with advertising campaigns. Employees at larger firms may be involved in only one part of the overall process, while those working at smaller ad agencies may take on a broader scope of responsibilities.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Industry experience
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 5% for advertising and promotions managers
Median Annual Wage (2015)* $95,890 for advertising and promotions managers

Source: *U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education for an Advertising Consultant

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that education for aspiring advertising professionals begins with a bachelor's degree. While a four-year degree is not required for all entry-level positions that lead to advertising management roles, a relevant degree may help management applicants distinguish themselves from candidates with similar experience. Graduate education is also not a requirement for advertising management or consulting jobs, but it can provide helpful preparation.

Undergraduate Degrees in Advertising

Undergraduate advertising degree programs may be offered through university journalism or communications departments. They generally incorporate courses in advertising research, media planning, sales, and copywriting. Advertising campaign planning is another typical course for this major, and students may be required to submit advertising portfolios as well. The BLS suggests that undergraduate courses in market research, communication techniques, and consumer behavior may also be helpful.

Graduate Advertising Degrees

Master's degree programs in advertising generally offer both thesis and non-thesis options. The non-thesis option may require additional coursework or an examination in lieu of the thesis. Courses for graduate degree programs in advertising may cover topics taught at the undergraduate level in more depth, and they may also include coursework in public relations, visual communications, and advertising management.

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Career Information for an Advertising Consultant

The BLS explains that experienced advertising managers may choose to start new advertising firms if they have access to sufficient capital. While those with more starting capital may open full-scale ad agencies, others may work on their own as individual consultants. They may also opt to become partners in or employees of existing advertising or marketing consulting firms.

Career Path for Advertising Consultants

Consultants typically gain industry experience before moving into this profession, the BLS reports. Advertising consultants may begin their careers in entry-level positions with ad agencies or corporate marketing departments. They may start out as media buyers, account executives, or marketing associates. After demonstrating their potential, they may take on management roles as media or marketing directors, project managers or creative directors. Once they switch into consulting, they may continue focusing on their particular area of expertise within the advertising and marketing industry.

Advertising Consultant Work Environment

The BLS notes that some consultants face stressful deadline pressure and long, irregular hours. The job may involve travel to meet with clients, and weekend work may occasionally be required. Time management skills are very important for consultants who charge for their services on an hourly basis.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

Although the BLS does not provide information specific to advertising consultants, it does publish data pertinent to advertising, promotions, and marketing managers. The BLS predicts that the employment of advertising and promotions managers will likely grow by about 5% between 2014 and 2024, while job opportunities afforded to marketing managers will grow by about 9% during the same time frame. Advertising and promotions managers were reported to have earned median annual salaries of $95,890 in May 2015 by the BLS.

Advertising consultants need relevant experience and a college degree to be qualified for their job. They typically start out in the advertising industry and move their way up to a consultant's job, whether in a consulting or advertising firm.

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