Careers for Advertising Majors: Job Options and Requirements

Degree programs in advertising typically include coursework in business, communications and psychology. Find out about advertising program curricula, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for advertising graduates.

View popular schools

There are many career options that can be pursued with a degree in advertising. Copywriters, advertising sales agents and public relations specialists all need a bachelor's degree and benefit from studying advertising.

Essential Information

Advertising majors may find degree programs at the associate's, bachelor's and graduate levels, with many options available for online study. A variety of sales, marketing, public relations and writing positions are available to advertising majors with a bachelor's degree, though some careers may require internship experience for entry.

Career Advertising Sales Agent Public Relations Specialist Copywriter
Required Education Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* -3% 6% 2% for all writers & authors
Median Salary (2015)* $48,490 $56,770 $60,250 for all writers & authors

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Advertising
  • Health Communication
  • Organizational Communication
  • Political Communication
  • Public Relations

Career Options

Career options are numerous, and this article focuses on a few of the job options and requirements for students majoring in advertising. Many businesses use some type of advertising specialist to promote their products. Advertising specialists use a wide variety of marketing techniques and media, including publications, television, internet and radio. Advertising majors can find jobs that focus on sales, marketing or creative design.

Advertising Sales Agent

Media outlets, including magazines, directories, websites, television and radio, generate much of their income from advertising sales. It's the advertising sales agent's job to sell copy space, airtime or event campaigns to the companies that utilize these media outlets. A sales agent is often assigned a territory and is responsible for selling as many ads as they can within that area.

Much of an advertising sales agent's time is spent traveling to clients' and potential clients' offices to gather information about specific needs. They use this information to create sales presentations that illustrate how purchasing with their advertising company will best promote the client's product. Becoming a primary point of contact, sales agents work with the client and the creative team to develop advertising material. They must analyze market statistics, demographics and other pertinent data to make sure ads reach target audiences effectively.

Requirements for Advertising Sales Agents

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employers typically prefer a bachelor's degree in advertising and some previous sales or marketing experience (www.bls.gov). Knowing the principles and methods of sales and marketing strategies is beneficial for advertising sales agent candidates. Because advertising sales agents frequently meet with clients and potential customers, a professional and pleasant appearance is preferred among advertising employers.

Updated knowledge and experience with various media platforms, including social media, is beneficial for advertising sales agents. Relevant coursework in an advertising major for those interested in a job in sales includes communication, promotional planning, account management and strategic marketing.

Salary and Career Outlook for Advertising Sales Agents

The BLS reports a median annual wage of $48,490 for advertising sales agents as of May 2015. The profession's highest-paying industries at that time were computer systems design, the motion picture and video industries and promotion of performing arts and sports. The BLS expects to see a 3% decline in employment for advertising sales agents from 2014 to 2024.

Public Relations Specialist

Public relations specialists work to shape the way the public perceives the image and business practices of a company, organization, government body or public figure. They prepare statements and provide the media with information through brochures, press releases, publications and other promotional materials about the client. They could also write copy, speeches and public announcements for a client to convey to consumers and the media.

Public relations specialists act as the liaison between their clients and the public. They let their clients know about any public concerns and serve as the clients' representatives at various functions and events. They work with advertising production departments to ensure ads are created in accordance with the reputation that they've built for their clients. Whenever negative incidents occur, public relations specialists work to suppress bad publicity and inform the public of steps to rectify the problem.

Requirements for Public Relations Specialists

Interning at public relations firms while in college is an excellent way for advertising majors to get valuable work experience and could lead to entry-level jobs. Large public relations firms might require new hires to participate in training programs, and smaller firms may require entry-level public relations specialists to work under the guidance of more experienced employees.

Effective communication, writing and editing skills are required for public relations specialists, who are constantly corresponding with clients, media professionals and the public. Classes in an advertising bachelor's degree program that could be most beneficial to those interested in a public relations career include social marketing, media relations, public communications and consumer psychology.

Salary and Career Outlook for Public Relations Specialists

BLS data reflects a median salary of $56,770 per year for public relations specialists in 2015. Most of these professionals worked in the advertising industry at that time, though the highest wages came from the securities and commodities exchange industry. The BLS predicts employment in the field will grow by 6% between 2014 and 2024, though substantial entry-level competition is expected.

Copywriter

Copywriters generate written material for advertisements to encourage the sale of a business's product. They could also work with clients to research products, establish themes or slogans and write sales letters, statements and other related materials. Depending on the target audience, copywriters can use a variety of tones and styles to effectively communicate with consumers.

Requirements for Copywriters

In addition to excellent writing and editing skills, copywriters need good technical skills since most of their work is done on a computer. Copywriters must constantly come up with original ideas for promoting products, requiring creativity and expediency. Working in a creative or production department, copywriters could find art, design and writing the most appropriate courses in an advertising major.

Salary and Career Outlook for Copywriters

The median wage for writers, including copywriters, was $60,250 per year as of May 2015, according to the BLS. Slower-than-average job growth is projected for this profession, with the increase in employment from 2014 to 2014 predicted to be 2% for all writers and authors, per the BLS.

Copywriters draft text for advertisements, while advertising sales agents develop marketing strategies for their clients. Public relations specialists produce written and oral information that is intended to maintain or establish a positive public view of their client, who could be a government official, organization, business or celebrity. A degree in advertising prepares graduates to understand how the public will interpret information so they can choose the right content for ads, speeches and brochures.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?