Careers in Television Advertising: Job Options and Requirements

Jobs in television advertising require a college education. Learn about the degrees, job duties, and other requirements to see if an advertising career is right for you.

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Those interested in a career in television advertising may opt to work as a television advertising sales agent to sell ad space on TV stations. Others may choose to work as multimedia artists, who develop ads using drawing and computer software. Another option is to work as a media planner and research TV viewing habits to inform advertisers of the best times of the day to reach their target audience with their commercials.

Essential Information

To enter the television-advertising field as a sales agent, you can start at an entry-level position with only a high school diploma. If you want to work as a multimedia artist or market research analyst, you need at least a bachelor's degree. In addition, work experience, on-the-job training or a portfolio may be necessary for employment.

Careers Television Advertising Sales Agent Multimedia Artist Media Planner
Required Education high school diploma, bachelor's degree bachelor's degree in computer graphics or fine art, portfolio bachelor's degree, master's degree for advancement, certification optional
Projected Job Growth (2014 - 2024)* -3% for all advertising sales agents 6% for all multimedia artists and animators 19% for all market research analysts
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $48,490 for all advertising sales agents $63,970 for multimedia artists and animators $62,150 for all market research analysts and marketing specialists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Options

Television advertising can be an effective way for companies to inform consumers about their products. Job options in the field include television advertising sales agent, multimedia artist and media planner. Read on to learn more about these professions and their requirements.

Television Advertising Sales Agent

Television advertising sales agents work for television stations, where they're assigned specific regions in which to sell as many ads as possible. They also can work for media representative companies, where they sell advertising space or time to media owners at the national level. Ad sales agents are constantly seeking new clients by gathering information about the clients' products, their current customers' products and target markets. Then, they contact current and potential clients to present them with proposals in hopes of signing contracts.

These proposals show how advertising may increase the clients' sales. They also indicate cost estimates for advertising campaigns and provide examples of existing or potential ads. If the advertising sales agent secures a contract, he or she may begin processing paperwork and delivering advertising proofs for the clients' approval. The advertising sales agent also stays in contact with current clients to inform them of new promotions and to ensure their advertising needs are met.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some smaller companies may accept a candidate with a high school diploma, while most big advertising companies usually require a college degree. Students may consider courses in marketing, communication, business and sales. The BLS highlights the importance of personality traits and skills, such as interpersonal communication and self-motivation, which may be as important as educational background, if not more so.

In 2015, advertising sales agents earned an annual median salary of $48,490, according to the BLS. From 2014 to 2024, the BLS predicted a 3% decline in job openings for these agents.

Multimedia Artist

Multimedia artists develop television ads. Using drawings and computer software, they create storyboards, which are a series of frames where characters, settings and plot lines are presented in a layout similar to a comic strip. The advertising sales agent takes the storyboard to the client, who either approves it or requests revisions.

After a storyboard is approved, the multimedia artist brings it to life using computer software. Animation, motion, visual elements, sound, lighting and other elements are used to create television ads. Multimedia artists are usually provided with a set budget for the television ad.

Due to the high level of technical skill needed by multimedia artists, employers, according to the BLS, normally require a bachelor's degree. Degree programs in multimedia art, graphic design or similar fields can train students on various computer software programs, production processes and multimedia elements. Core classes may introduce students to topics in layout and digital designs, while advanced classes may explore modeling and animation. Students often build a portfolio of work samples to show potential employers examples of their skills and talents.

The BLS projected average employment growth of 6% for multimedia artists from 2014 to 2024. These professionals earned an annual median salary of $63,970 in 2015, per the BLS.

Media Planner

Media planners, or market research analysts, can research information about the public's television watching habits. This includes the demographics for each television show and the time of day television is most watched. Media planners use a variety of formulas to inform advertisers about the most effective strategies for showing their commercials.

Most media planners have at least a bachelor's degree. Aspiring media planners may major in liberal arts, marketing or advertising; however, a statistics background may also prove beneficial. Students might take courses in consumer theory, organizational behavior and brand management, which explore how to interpret research data, design a media planning strategy and structure advertisements. Entry-level candidates may apply for assistant media planner or assistant media buyer positions and work their way up with experience.

In 2015, market research analysts, including media planners, earned an annual median wage of $62,150, said the BLS. Much faster than average job growth of 19% is expected for market research analysts from 2014 to 2024, according to the BLS.

To work as a television sales agent a bachelor's degree is preferred. A degree in computer graphics or fine art is necessary to begin a career as a multimedia artist. Media planners need to have a bachelor's degree, and a master's degree may be necessary for advancement in that career field.

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