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Digital Marketing Programs and Majors Explained: Degree Levels, Specializations, and Common Digital Marketing Courses

Maia Estrera - June 12, 2022


From social media marketing campaigns to search engine algorithms, the world wide web is the new playing field for marketing and advertising professionals. As larger companies increasingly transition to digital platforms, the field of marketing has significantly shifted toward digital marketing, in order to meet the global target audience online.

Due to the digital transformation, the demand for professionals with in-depth knowledge and key marketing skills is growing. For those wondering, “what is a digital marketing degree?”, we’ve detailed everything you’ll need to know, including the best schools, funding options, majors and minors, and digital marketing jobs available.

What Is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is the promotion of goods and services using digital technologies. It follows the principles of marketing but focuses on using digital analytics and strategies to reach consumers online rather than through the traditional media form of marketing.

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Digital Marketing Quick Facts: Job Outlook and Average Salaries

Is Digital Marketing Degree Hard?

No, a digital marketing degree is not hard. However, this degree is not just about creating social media content to reach a target audience online. Digital marketing requires a combination of soft skills , such as effective communication skills, and technical skills, such as mobile marketing and business fundamentals.

You’ll need to be tech-savvy to pursue a digital marketing and design degree because you will be deep-diving into tech-based digital marketing applications and tools. Topics like consumer analytics, business law, social media marketing, key branding practices, developmental marketing structures, marketing optimization, and business statistics will be covered in the degree curriculum.

Is a Digital Marketing Degree a Good Major?

Yes, digital marketing is a good major because nearly all businesses are going digital, so the job prospects after graduation are very promising. A digital marketing concentration is a good fit for those who love monitoring online trends, such as social media managers. It also offers many other career opportunities, such as marketing specialist, editor, professional graphic designer, and public relations manager roles.

Why Should You Get a Degree in Digital Marketing?

You should get a digital marketing degree because it is growing in scope and demand. If you feel comfortable in the digital landscape and you don’t mind doing a lot of reading, analyzing data, and learning new programs and applications, this type of degree may be the perfect fit. Below you’ll find five of the top reasons you should pursue a digital marketing degree program.

  1. In-demand career. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for the marketing profession will see a 10 percent growth , with about 31,100 job openings expected per year.
  2. Versatile career path. Digital marketing knowledge doesn’t limit your career path to the IT and media industries. You can also venture into finance and science, or even open your own digital marketing agency.
  3. Freelancing potential. Digital marketers have many skills that they can turn into specializations, like social media marketing, content marketing, or search engine optimization. These individual skills can be offered as a freelancing service, thereby making you the boss of your own career aspirations.
  4. Easy to upskill. It is very easy to upskill in digital marketing because there are plenty of digital marketing bootcamps, free online courses, and certificate programs available in integrated marketing communications that can boost your credentials.
  5. Online programs. If you have a full-time job, it’s very easy to earn a digital marketing degree because many schools offer online classes, allowing you to obtain the degree fully online. Online programs offer flexibility and autonomy in your personal learning schedule.

Digital Marketing Major: What Degree Can You Get in Digital Marketing?

The degrees you can get in digital marketing include associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. If you only want to learn the bare minimum to begin a digital marketing career, you might want to consider an associate degree. A bachelor’s degree will take four years and allows you the option to qualify for most digital marketing positions. After a bachelor’s program, you can choose to enroll in a master’s program, which typically takes one to two additional years of study.

Types of Associate Degrees in Digital Marketing

The types of associate degrees available in digital marketing are an Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science, and Associate of Art. A digital marketing associate degree program is a two-year academic program that covers the core courses and fundamental knowledge students need to start a career in digital marketing.

1

Associate of Science (AS in Digital Marketing)

An Associate of Science (AS) in Digital Marketing program focuses on teaching students about the digital tools used to help businesses connect with potential customers. This degree aims to introduce students to the fundamentals of business and marketing. It is typically pursued by students as an affordable precursor to a bachelor’s degree program.

Common Associate of Science in Digital Marketing Curriculum

  • Business Law for Digital Media
  • Marketing Principles and Analytics
  • Social Media Campaigns
2

Associate of Applied Science (AAS in Digital Marketing)

The Associate of Applied Science program combines marketing theories and practical real-world applications. Although the basics of digital marketing still apply, it offers a new marketing approach based on consumer behavior in the digital sphere. It is different from the AS degree program in that it focuses on preparing students for entry-level jobs in the industry.

Common Associate of Applied Science in Digital Marketing Curriculum

  • Consumer and Professional Buying Behavior
  • Marketing Communications Writing
  • International Marketing
3

Associate of Arts in Digital Marketing (AA in Digital Marketing)

This AA program trains students in the fundamentals of digital marketing within a liberal-arts approach. It focuses on studying online communities, social marketing, and how best to improve engagement and techniques.

Common Associate of Arts in Digital Marketing Curriculum

  • Principles of Marketing
  • Integrated Marketing Communications
  • New Media Strategy

Types of Bachelor’s Degrees in Digital Marketing

The types of digital marketing bachelor’s degrees include a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, and Bachelor of Business Administration. A bachelor’s degree program lasts four years and covers the fundamental knowledge students need to start a career in the field. The first two years will cover basic subjects and introductory courses on digital marketing, while the latter years will cover major subjects, electives, specializations, and thesis and internships.

1

Bachelor of Science (BS in Digital Marketing)

The Bachelor of Science in Digital Marketing degree program offers minor subject coursework on the business aspects of digital marketing, while the major subjects offer digital tools training and digital marketing strategies. It is a technical degree that focuses on the tech-based application of marketing principles.

Common Bachelor of Science in Digital Marketing Curriculum

  • Digital Marketing Strategy
  • Web Analytics
  • Design Thinking
2

Bachelor of Arts (BA in Digital Marketing)

A Bachelor of Arts in Digital Marketing program prepares students for a digital marketing career. It is liberal arts-based and focused on learning the dynamics of communication in online communities. It teaches students how to capture audiences and build consumer loyalty.

Common Bachelor of Arts in Digital Marketing Curriculum

  • Principles of Marketing
  • Consumer Social Behavior
  • Future Trends in Society
3

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BBA in Digital Marketing)

A BBA in Digital Marketing program is designed to prepare prospective students to become digital marketers in a business setting. Education courses of this type of program focus heavily on management and communication training. Students learn key promotional and digital marketing skills, such as mobile marketing techniques, operations management, and digital advertising.

Common Bachelor of Digital Marketing Curriculum

  • Digital Business Development
  • Business Information Systems
  • Business Communication

Types of Master’s Degrees in Digital Marketing

The types of digital marketing master’s degrees include a Master of Arts, Master of Science, and Master of Business Administration. A master’s degree is a one to two-year program that goes in-depth into social media strategies and business communication. Many digital marketing experts pursue a master’s degree primarily for career growth and to keep up with the fast-growing industry.

1

Master of Arts (MA in Digital Marketing)

The MA program introduces new areas of study in corporate communication, public relations, and other specific areas in the marketing field. Additionally, it teaches social media techniques integrated into corporate communication strategies.

Common Master of Arts in Digital Marketing Curriculum

  • Media Asset Management
  • PR Theories and Models
  • Strategic Communication
2

Master of Science (MSc in Digital Marketing)

The MSc in Digital Marketing program offers an in-depth look into the theories, principles, and practices of the digital marketing sphere. It will teach the latest techniques and technologies for social media marketing campaigns. Additionally, the course will tackle updates on areas such as mobile marketing, digital analytics, advertising campaigns, and other digital marketing platforms.

Common Master of Science in Digital Marketing Curriculum

  • Content Marketing
  • Paid Search
  • Digital Strategy
3

Master of Business Administration (MBA in Digital Marketing)

The MBA in Digital Marketing program features a comprehensive curriculum in marketing but focuses on business and management principles used in the field. Students of this type of program will gain both business and marketing skills that are used simultaneously in many business-related jobs. They are also required to complete a thesis.

Common Master of Science in Digital Marketing Curriculum

  • Industrial Marketing
  • Strategic Management
  • Ecommerce

What Will You Learn in a Digital Marketing Degree Program?

In a digital marketing degree program, you will take in-person or online courses to learn marketing concepts, social media strategies, and consumer behaviors. The curriculum and skills gained will vary by the program and degree level. Courses of all degree types will provide you with the fundamental concepts of marketing but applied in an online setting.

Popular Specializations for Digital Marketing Degrees

Digital marketing is very diverse. Due to its versatility, you can build an entire career over just one specialization. Below you will find just a few of the many popular specializations you can explore in a degree program.

The 5 Most Popular Digital Marketing Concentrations

  1. Search Engine Optimization
  2. Social Media Marketing
  3. Email Marketing
  4. Mobile Marketing
  5. Digital Analytics

Common Digital Marketing Courses Across All Specializations

Before you can choose a specialization or concentration, each program will have its own core coursework that is common across all digital marketing degree program curricula. These courses build the foundational knowledge that enables marketing professionals in various specializations to understand fundamental marketing concepts shared across all sectors of the industry.

  • Principles of Marketing. A digital marketing program won’t be complete without teaching the basics. Learners of this course can expect to study the foundational concepts and theories supporting the industry’s basic premises.
  • Social Media Marketing. Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms play a huge role in digital marketing efforts. Online businesses thrive with the help of digital marketing campaigns and advertisements posted on these platforms. Students will therefore study the digital marketplace and application-based advertising.
  • Web Analytics. A course on web analytics teaches students about the processes and tools used to track and analyze consumer behavior and web activity. Web analytics allows businesses to predict the behavior and buying patterns of potential customers.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Your business will gain a competitive advantage if you know how to make SEO work in your favor. Through this course, you’ll learn more about how to utilize SEO as a strategy to optimize your website and content in the digital marketing sphere.
  • Keyword Research. Before you can utilize SEO as a strategy, you’ll need to learn more about how to conduct proper keyword research. A class on keyword research or utilization will train marketing students in the tools processes involved in developing keywords, as well as a general overview of the digital marketing landscape.

Best Minors for Digital Marketing Students

You should complement your major with digital marketing minor courses that will empower you and help the businesses of your clients. For instance, even if you don’t have a business degree but are employed in a corporate setting, you can easily integrate your digital skills because of the knowledge you gained through these minor subjects.

The following minors may not be directly related to digital marketing, but the knowledge and skills you’ll acquire while studying these subjects can be beneficial for your future career in digital marketing.

The 5 Best Digital Marketing Minors

  1. Graphic Design
  2. Psychology
  3. Finance
  4. Management
  5. International Business

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How to Choose the Right Digital Marketing Degree Program for You

A good digital marketing degree program should contain a good mix of both marketing theory and application. Since these degree programs require effort, time, and resources, it’s essential that you choose only the best. Factors to consider include cost, the content of the curriculum, career services, student services, and graduation rate.

1

Cost

The total cost of a degree program is a very important factor to consider while searching for a school. It is important to research the tuition fees, as well as the financial aid opportunities offered by the school. This will allow you to decide whether the school fits your personal budget.

2

Curricular Content

Digital marketing is an ever-changing field, so it pays to choose a program that’s updated and current. If you are interested in expanding your studies in other topics that interest you, make sure you choose a program that offers additional electives as a credit option for students.

3

Graduation Rate

A school’s overall graduation rate can tell you a lot about the programs it offers. Try to choose a university with a high graduation rate, as this shows that most students are able and willing to finish their studies at the university.

4

Student Services

You’ll need to build real-world connections to make it through the industry. These networks and connections should start from the academic institution. A school with abundant student services is typically a sign of a connected campus, and extracurricular activities are a great way to meet and connect with other students and faculty members.

5

Career Services

In addition to student services, a career services office or program is a good sign that the college is willing to help you get employed. The career services faculty at your school can help you with job applications and resume writing to boost your marketability to prospective employers.

Best Digital Marketing Colleges and Universities: Where to Find the Top Digital Marketing Degree Programs

Below is a comprehensive list of the colleges and universities offering excellent digital marketing degree programs. These programs include associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs.

Best Schools to Get an Associate in Digital Marketing

  1. Gateway Technical College
  2. Hinds Community College
  3. Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
  4. Spokane Falls Community College
  5. Western Technical College

Best Schools to Get a Bachelor’s in Digital Marketing

  1. Colorado State University
  2. Full Sail University
  3. University of Arizona
  4. North Park University
  5. Washington State University

Best Schools to Get a Masters in Digital Marketing

  1. Georgetown University
  2. Bellarmine University
  3. University of South Florida
  4. Yeshiva University
  5. Bellevue University

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How Can I Pay for a Digital Marketing Degree Program?

You can pay for a digital marketing degree program by taking advantage of federal financial aid, work-study programs, scholarships, grants, and loans. University degrees can be very expensive, and schools understand that most students cannot pay out of pocket for the cost of tuition. Fortunately, almost all schools offer lenient payment options and tuition discounts for students.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

FAFSA is a need-based student financial aid option offered by the US government. Students fill out a FAFSA application form online along with their college admission application. The financial aid amount is based on the income level of the applicant.

Work-Study Programs

Work-study programs are federally-funded programs that employ students in part-time jobs on campus to help pay for their tuition. The program ensures that students who need financial help can be employed by their university for certain part-time positions.

Scholarships

Scholarships are forms of financial aid awarded to students who have shown exemplary academic performance. All students can apply for scholarships, as they are based on merit rather than financial need.

Some scholarships will partially cover tuition, while full scholarships cover all costs, including expenses related to books, food, and lodging. Scholarship funding comes from collective organizations, businesses, foundations, and charities.

Loans

Student loans can cover up to 100 percent of tuition fees. Some schools offer loans, but the majority of these types of loans are granted by private financial institutions and banks. They allow students to borrow money to pay for tuition costs up-front, and later pay back the loan with different interest rates.

Grants

Grants are awarded to students with specific financial needs. Much like scholarships, students do not have to pay them back. Most grants come from the federal government and private schools or organizations.

Digital Marketing Scholarships

Aside from scholarships provided by universities, some private companies and institutions provide scholarships specifically for undergraduate students who will take up a degree relevant to digital marketing. If you’re looking for more ways to fund your digital marketing undergraduate degree, below are three great scholarships available to qualifying students.

1

10x Digital Marketing Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

The 10x Digital Marketing Scholarship is a yearly scholarship that is awarded to the most qualified student. All applicants must meet the qualifying education requirement and write a 500-word essay based on the topic provided by the company upon application. Applicants also need to write a two-paragraph narrative on why they should be chosen as the grantee.

  • Eligibility Requirements: High school or college undergraduate with plans to major in the digital marketing field
  • Amount: $2,000
2

Custom Creatives Digital Marketing Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

The Custom Creatives Digital Marketing Scholarship is a yearly scholarship awarded to current college or junior college students who are interested in the digital marketing space. The scholarship is awarded to two students with the most original and informative personal essays.

  • Eligibility Requirements: College undergraduate, 400 to 500-word essay based on the topic provided upon application
  • Amount: $1,000
3

Intuitive Digital - Digital Marketing Scholarship

Amount: $3,500

The Intuitive Digital Marketing Scholarship is awarded to the most qualified undergraduate student who is pursuing a degree in marketing. The scholarship funds should only be used to pay for tuition, books, and other school fees.

  • Eligibility Requirements: Undergraduate in their third or fourth year of studies enrolled in a four-year degree program, letter of recommendation, portfolio of work, 600 to 800-word essay
  • Amount: $3,500

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Student Loans for Digital Marketing Majors

Educational loans are a common way to pay for the high price of enrolling in a degree program.

The two kinds of loans a student can consider are private loans and government-guaranteed loans. In this section, we will include average loan amounts for each degree level, based on the amounts provided by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

What Is the Average Student Loan for Digital Marketing Associate Degrees?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cumulative student loan debt among associate degree holders is $20,000. Associate degrees are an affordable way to complete required core courses that can be transferred toward a bachelor’s program. In addition, many states have adopted new legislation that allows first-time college students to earn their associate degrees for free at community colleges.

What Is the Average Student Loan for Digital Marketing Bachelor’s Degrees?

According to NCES, the average cumulative student loan debt among bachelor’s degree students is $32,300. The maximum available loan amount for bachelor’s degree students is between $5,500 to $12,500. The amount will vary depending on the student’s year in college, residency status, and dependency status.

What Is the Average Student Loan for Digital Marketing Master’s Degrees?

According to data composed by NCES, the average student loan amount owed by master’s degree holders is $69,920 as of 2020.

How to Get Into the Best Schools for Digital Marketing

To get into the best schools for digital marketing, you’ll need to demonstrate a high level of academic achievements. Reputable schools are strict when it comes to admission requirements because they must maintain certain standards among their students and the school’s reputation. Below you’ll find tips to make sure you secure a spot at the school of your dreams.

Top 5 Tips to Get Into the Best Programs at Digital Marketing Schools

  1. Have a high GPA and/or high standardized test scores.
  2. Write an original and compelling personal essay or statement.
  3. Reach out to the admissions office or graduate department faculty directly to make connections and show them that you are serious about applying.
  4. Apply early to increase your chances of acceptance.
  5. Submit strong letters of recommendation from past instructors.

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How Can You Get a Digital Marketing Internship While in College?

You can get a digital marketing internship while in college by searching for job postings, having a good academic standing, and networking. One of the most important qualifications to have for nearly any job market is your connections.

1

Have a Good Academic Standing

Employers will be impressed by candidates with a high GPA and relevant coursework. Some schools will also offer internship programs to students, and those with the highest academic standings are more likely to secure positions.

2

Check Job Postings

One of the most important methods of securing an internship is to do the work of searching for postings daily on online job boards. Students can check popular sites like Indeed or Glassdoor, or the school’s career services page.

3

Network

Networking is crucial in gaining hands-on experience in the industry, as it allows students to form connections that can help them gain an interview in the future. You can network by connecting with your professors, conducting informational interviews with professionals who work in the field of your interest, and attending job fairs.

What Jobs Can You Get With a Digital Marketing Degree?

The jobs you can get with a digital marketing degree include brand manager, marketing campaign manager, marketing assistant, and marketing executive positions.

For jobs that require specialized skills, career opportunities include social media manager, search engine optimization specialist, ads manager, and graphic design professional.

Each degree level will open up new doors to better, higher-paying careers. An associate degree grants degree holders access to the industry, while a bachelor’s degree qualifies its holder for most professions in the field. A master’s degree will significantly increase your earning potential.

Digital Marketing Degree Salary Outlook

The table below shows how the degree level can significantly affect the overall digital marketing degree salary. Your digital marketing career prospects will significantly improve as you advance your education.

Degree Level Average Salary
Digital Marketing Associate Degree $47,455
Digital Marketing Bachelor’s Degree $66,000
Digital Marketing Master’s Degree $70,000

Digital Marketing Degree Jobs and Career Outlook: What Can You Do With a Digital Marketing Degree?

With a digital marketing degree, you can secure executive, advertisement, sales, and director positions. Whether you have an associate or bachelor’s degree, there are available jobs with good compensation open for you in today’s job market. However, if you are applying for a managerial or executive position, a bachelor’s or master’s degree is a minimum requirement. Below are a few of the top jobs available based on degree level.

Top Digital Marketing Associate Degree Jobs

  1. Marketing Assistant
  2. Social Media Manager
  3. Digital Marketing Associate
  4. Advertising Sales Representative
  5. Digital Marketer

Top Digital Marketing Bachelor’s Degree Jobs

  1. Digital Marketing Manager
  2. Digital Marketing Analyst
  3. Digital Marketing Specialist
  4. Marketing Executive
  5. Digital Strategist

Top Digital Marketing Master’s Degree Jobs

  1. Digital Marketing Director
  2. Senior Marketing Manager
  3. Chief Marketing Officer
  4. Vice President for Marketing
  5. Marketing Director

Highest-Paying Digital Marketing Jobs

Highest-Paying Digital Marketing Jobs Entry-Level Salary (0-12 Months) Early-Career Salary (1-4 Years) Mid-Career Salary (5-9 Years) Experienced Salary (10-19 Years)
Digital Marketing Director Entry-level is not applicable for a director position $67,233 $91,061 $114,339
Digital Marketing Manager $48,952 $61,246 $73,582 $82,799
Digital Marketing Analyst $47,925 $54,647 $64,011 $78,611
Digital Marketing Specialist $42,420 $49,662 $58,001 $62,828
Digital Marketing Associate $42,405 $47,097 $57,619 $63,984

Professional Digital Marketing Organizations and Resources

It can be difficult to find organizations, licenses, and certifications that are specific to digital marketing because it is a relatively new field that is constantly adapting, and even larger companies are trying to keep up with the pace. However, they fall under the general category of marketing, which has many different organizations in the United States.

1

Association of National Advertisers

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) is a New York-based marketing community and trade association with over 800 member marketers that support nearly 20,000 brands. Its goal is to achieve a sustainable economic future for all businesses.

2

American Marketing Association

The American Marketing Association (AMA) is a non-profit organization for marketing professionals. AMA’s purpose is to help marketing professionals stay current with relevant marketing trends through training and seminars, aid in career growth for professionals in the field, and advance marketing principles.

3

Interactive Advertising Bureau

The Interactive Advertising Bureau is a New York-based community that empowers professionals in the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. This nonprofit organization is comprised of more than 600 media companies and technology firms.

Digital Marketing in 10 Years: Is Getting a Digital Marketing Degree Worth It?

Yes, getting a digital marketing degree is worth it. The job outlook is very positive for digital marketers because the global boom in modern technology is increasing the growth of the field overall. The digital marketing field is an exciting space to step into and it allows you to be at the forefront of exciting change in the industry.

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Digital Marketing Degree FAQ

Is coding required in digital marketing?

No, coding knowledge is not a requirement for digital marketing. However, given the job market competition and new software applications constantly being developed, having coding knowledge can be a huge advantage and add to your credentials. You can even learn coding at your own pace for free through coding bootcamp scholarships and grants .

Do you need math for digital marketing?

No, you typically do not need math skills for digital marketing. However, it may be part of core coursework, particularly for a four-year degree. Many of the digital tools used for digital marketing require math skills in statistics and finance.

What skills do I need for digital marketing?

The essential skills you need for digital marketing include knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, search engine marketing (SEM), video marketing, social media strategy, and email marketing. Each area of the field has tools, software, and online social media platforms that digital marketers should be familiar with.

Can you be a digital marketer without a degree?

Yes, you can be a digital marketer without a degree. However, you may find it difficult to secure jobs unless you have exceptional skills and hands-on experience. It is therefore recommended to pursue a degree. If you have a tight budget or are currently employed, virtual campus online programs offer online classes that you can take at your own pace.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Maia Estrera

About the author: Maia is a content writer who has experience in graphic design and web design with WordPress and Adobe Suite. She holds an Associate Degree in Computer System Design and Programming from the AMA Computer Learning Center in Nueva Ecija. She has also completed multiple content writing certificate courses on Udemy.

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