2021 Best Online Advertising Degrees [Bachelor’s Guide]

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An online advertising degree may be a strategic option for you if you’re interested in sales, marketing, and communication.

Best Online Advertising Degrees

Completing an advertising major may allow you to influence consumer buying behavior, build and maintain brand strategies, and help businesses reach key audiences.

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Earning a bachelors in advertising could open the door to higher than average annual earnings and flexible career paths that are expected to see positive job growth over the next decade.

Online Advertising Degrees

Online Advertising Degrees

Online advertising degree programs are designed to prepare you for various positions in the field of advertising. This could include roles that span across different areas, such as marketing, communications, and sales.

Advertising professionals can be responsible for planning and coordinating campaigns. They can also oversee campaign implementation, coordinate events, review sales data, and interpret data related to social media efforts, among other tasks.

With an online degree in advertising, you may be prepared to take on various roles across the spectrum of marketing, advertising, and sales. Management positions may also be a viable option depending on your experience and professional background.

Positions in the field of advertising include:

  • Marketing coordinator
  • Advertising specialist
  • Advertising sales agent
  • Copywriter
  • Social media advertising specialist
  • Creative director
  • Internet advertising specialist
  • Editor
  • Advertising manager
  • Marketing and sales manager

In order to graduate from an advertising degree program, you’ll complete a number of different courses that are intended to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of advertising practices.

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Course topics that you’ll likely come across when completing an online advertising degree program could include:

  • Visuals and graphics in advertising
  • Advertising campaigns
  • Advertising competition
  • International advertising campaigns
  • Research in advertising
  • Ethical issues in advertising
  • Copywriting

In addition to completing various advertising-specific courses, you’ll also complete different general education courses to round out your degree requirements.

Common Bachelor in Advertising Concentrations

Bachelor in Advertising Concentrations

When pursuing a bachelors degree in advertising, you may have the opportunity to choose from different concentrations in order to specialize your studies in a particular stream of advertising. Common advertising concentrations include:

  • Persuasive Messaging. You can learn how to develop convincing and compelling messaging for a product, service, or brand.
  • Advertising Agency. You can develop an understanding of how advertising agencies operate, including how to communicate with clients and create campaigns that meet their needs.
  • Copywriting. You can take an in-depth look at writing copy for advertising purposes, including campaigns, products, services, and overall brand messaging.
  • Brand Strategy. You can learn the basic principles of developing, implementing, and maintaining a brand strategy for a business.
  • Digital Media. You can develop an understanding of how to use digital media in advertising initiatives.

The concentrations that are available to you can vary greatly from one program to the next. Additional concentrations that schools or programs may offer include mass media, communications, media planning, design, or art direction.

Advertising Careers & Salaries

Advertising Careers & Salaries

An online advertising degree can help prepare you for positions ranging across various industries. This can include public relations firms, businesses, hospitals, banks, insurance companies, manufacturing, nonprofits, government institutions, and academic facilities, among others.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, advertising-related positions, such as the ones below, tend to offer higher than average annual salaries.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Marketing Managers $142,170
Advertising and Promotions Managers $133,460
Sales Managers $132,290
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers $118,430
Art Directors $97,270
Technical Writers $74,650
Market Research Analysts $65,810
Editors $63,400
Sales Representatives $57,760
Advertising Sales Agents $54,940

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts positive job growth for a number of positions in the field of advertising over the next ten years. These positions include editors (5% job growth), advertising, promotions, and marketing managers (10%), art directors (11%), technical writers (12%), public relations and fundraising managers (13%), and market research analysts (22%).

Advertising Curriculum & Courses

Advertising Curriculum

Degrees in advertising allow you the opportunity to explore various concepts and foundational principles in the field of advertising and marketing. Some courses that you may take as part of your studies include:

  • Principles of Advertising: You’ll develop an understanding of the fundamental principles of advertising in the modern business landscape.
  • Advertising Writing: You’ll learn about the basic concepts of writing creative briefs, copyright, and other advertising fundamentals.
  • Advertising Strategy: You’ll discover how to plan and implement a successful advertising strategy using persuasive language, various communication methods, and social media.
  • Digital Media Sales: You’ll develop an understanding of how digital media is used in advertising to affect sales outcomes, including social media, analytics, and insights.
  • Branding: You’ll learn about the key concepts of developing and maintaining a brand.
  • Health Communication: You’ll discover ways that advertising plays a role in health communication, disease prevention, service provision, and risk management.
  • Data Analytics: You’ll develop an understanding of how data and digital insights can be used to improve advertising campaigns and the use of social media to communicate key messages.
  • Copywriting: You’ll learn basic principles of copywriting for advertising campaigns and product descriptions to engage your target audience and increase conversions for product sales.
  • Advertising Graphics: You’ll explore the impact of imagery on advertising campaigns and brand management, including typography, design usage, and layout.
  • Cross-Cultural Advertising: You’ll develop an understanding of how to create effective advertising campaigns across various communities and cultures.

In addition to completing a number of advertising-specific courses, you may also be required to enroll in several general education courses. Depending on the program you choose to attend, you may also complete a thesis, final project, or internship in order to graduate.

Admissions Requirements

Advertising Degrees admissions

When applying to online advertising degree programs, you may be required to meet a number of admissions requirements, such as:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • High school transcripts and minimum GPA requirement
  • Admissions essay
  • SAT or ACT scores (only some schools require them)

If you’ve previously completed any postsecondary studies, you’ll also provide your transcripts for your completed courses.

Accreditation

Advertising Degrees accreditation

Regional accreditation is an important consideration when it comes to choosing an online advertising degree program.

A school’s accreditation status can impact your ability to transfer credits to another school and enroll in graduate studies down the road. It may even play a role in hiring decisions of potential employers.

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Regional accreditation is a status that is granted to schools and their subsequent programs that meet a predetermined set of standards. When schools and programs are regionally accredited, it verifies that their academic offerings are of high quality.

More information on regional accreditation can be found on the US Department of Education’s website.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Advertising Degrees financial aid

There are a number of financial aid options available to qualifying students, including:

  • Federal and state aid. Financial aid in the form of grants and loans are offered by both federal and state governments.
  • Scholarships. Scholarship funds can be made available by private and public organizations. In some cases, scholarship monies are geared toward specific academic areas of study.
  • Employer training programs. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement programs or other financial assistance for employees who are pursuing higher education.

More information on financial aid opportunities can be found on the US Department of Education’s website. You can also fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for government aid.

Advertising Professional Organizations

Advertising Professional Organizations

Advertising professional organizations can be a strategic way for you to meet others in the field. Networking with other professionals may bring about a number of benefits, including potential employment opportunities, relationships with potential clients, or access to mentors.

Here are some advertising professional organizations that may be of interest to you:

Professional organizations can also offer you the opportunity to stay up to date on emerging trends in the industry and to have access to regular training and educational events.

What Degree Should I Get for Advertising?

advertising degree

The type of advertising degree that is most suitable for you will depend on your career goals. In some cases, you may want to pursue higher-level education, such as a masters or PhD, in order to qualify for positions in research or academia.

In other cases, earning an associates degree or a bachelors degree in advertising may suit your needs. In addition to the various types of degrees you may be able to earn within the field of advertising, you can also look into the different certifications available that can complement your chosen degree.

What Can You Do with an Advertising Degree?

An online degree in advertising can help prepare you to take on various roles in the field. Advertising-related careers include marketing manager, advertising and promotions manager, sales manager, public relations and fundraising manager, art director, and technical writer.

online degree in advertising

Other positions include market research analyst, editor, sales representative, and advertising sales agent. These types of positions exist in private businesses, nonprofits, and government. Some advertising majors even have the opportunity to start their own small business and work for themselves.

How Long Is a Degree in Advertising Online?

Generally speaking, a bachelors degree in advertising takes 4 years to complete if you follow a traditional 16 week semester and attend full-time.

Enrolling in an accelerated program that follows an 8 week semester schedule may allow you to finish in less time if you stay continuously enrolled year-round. Alternatively, enrolling on a part-time basis could extend the length of time required to complete your degree.

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Other factors, such as needing to complete an internship, may also impact the length of time it takes for you to finish your degree.

​How Much Do Advertising Majors Make?

Advertising Majors

The amount that an advertising major can make will vary greatly depending on several factors, such as their geographic location, years of experience, industry, and education level.

Annual earnings will also depend on the specific role. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, management positions tend to earn the highest wages in the field, on average. For example, the median salary for marketing managers is $142,170, and advertising and promotions managers make a median of $133,460. Sales managers make a median of $132,290.

Non-management positions tend to make above average salaries as well. The median salary for technical writers is $74,650. Market research analysts make a median of $65,810 per year, and editors make a median of $63,400 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

What’s the Difference Between a Bachelors in Marketing vs. Advertising?

Bachelors in Marketing vs. Advertising

While there are areas of marketing and advertising that overlap, there are also a number of key differences between the two degree options.

  • Advertising: Advertising is largely considered a subset of the field of marketing. Advertising degrees tend to have a more narrowed and specific focus, prioritizing study around the promotion of products and services or a business’s entire brand.
  • Marketing: Marketing expands into product development and market research more extensively.

In the end, the degree option that is right for you will depend on your specific career goals and personal interests.

What’s the Difference Between Advertising vs. Public Relations?

Advertising vs. Public Relations

While both advertising and public relations deal with aspects of business communication, they vary in some important ways.

  • Public relations: This field of study focuses on managing a brand’s image and may interact with the media on a regular basis. This can include communication initiatives through speech writing and press releases.
  • Advertising: This field focuses on promoting particular services, products, or businesses. Communication is more focused on connecting with the intended audience or target market for the business.

In some cases, public relations professionals may deal more with crisis management and reputation than an advertising professional would.

Is a Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising Worth It?

Yes, a bachelor’s degree in advertising is worth it for many students. Earning your advertising degree may allow you the opportunity to work in a variety of industries, ranging from work in nonprofits and government institutions to private business and self-employment.

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Positions in the field of advertising are also expected to experience positive job growth over the next ten years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This includes editors (5% job growth), advertising, promotions, and marketing managers (10%), art directors (11%), technical writers (12%), public relations and fundraising managers (13%), and market research analysts (22%).

Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Advertising Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Academy of Art University

Academy of Art University

The Academy of Art University offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Advertising. The online classes are either 7.5 weeks or 15 weeks long. Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 and complete 132 credit hours to graduate. Applicants may apply online and must submit official transcripts.

Academy of Art University is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University offers an online program for a Bachelor of Science in Communication with an emphasis in Advertising. Students must complete 120 credit hours to graduate. The program is designed to allow students to complete a minor as well. Applicants must submit an online application with official high school transcripts and SAT test scores.

Appalachian State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Florida International University

Florida International University

Florida International University offers an online program for a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communications. To graduate, students must complete 120 credit hours with a GPA of 2.85. Applicants must submit an online application with official SAT or ACT test scores and official high school transcripts.

FIU also offers a marketing bachelor’s degree online.

Florida International University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University offers a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Advertising. To graduate, students must complete 120 credit hours, including 60 credits dedicated to the major. All classes are 8 weeks long and offered online. Applicants must submit an online admission form and official transcripts when applying.

Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Johnson and Wales University

Johnson and Wales University

Johnson and Wales University offers a Bachelor of Science in Advertising and Marketing Communication. The online classes are 8 weeks long. Students must complete 120 credit hours to graduate. Applicants must apply online through the school’s website with official high school transcripts. To join the school’s honors program, applicants must have a GPA of 3.5.

JWU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Minot State University

Minot State University

Minot State University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Marketing program. Students may choose to complete an internship along with their 120 credit hours to graduate. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have acceptable combined GPAs and ACT or SAT test scores.

Minot State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Point Park University

Point Park University

Point Park University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Advertising. To graduate, students must complete 121 credit hours, including a final capstone project. Credits may be earned from portfolios and different exams. Applicants must submit an online application with transcripts. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher.

Point Park University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of Florida

University of Florida

The University of Florida offers a Bachelor of Science in Advertising with an emphasis in Persuasive Messaging. Students must complete 124 credit hours to graduate. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and must have completed 3 of the 5 prerequisite courses for the program.

The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Texas – El Paso

University of Texas El Paso

The University of Texas—El Paso offers an online program for a Bachelor of Arts in Media Advertising. Students must complete 120 credit hours and a final capstone project to graduate. Applicants must submit an online application with official high school transcripts and SAT, ACT, or Accuplacer test scores.

The University of Texas at El Paso is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Wisconsin – Whitewater

University of Wisconsin - Whitewater

The University of Wisconsin—Whitewater offers an online Bachelor’s in Marketing degree program with an option to add an emphasis in Digital Marketing. Students must complete 120 credit hours and 20 hours of community service to graduate. Applicants must submit an online application through the school’s website.

UW-Whitewater is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Bachelors in Advertising Degree Online

Bachelors in Advertising Degree Online

If you’re looking for a career that can incorporate communication, writing, and teamwork, then earning your bachelors in advertising online may be the right path for you. Advertising positions can help businesses promote their products, services, or overall brand.

Some advertising majors have the opportunity to be self-employed or to work for various companies across many different industries. Many positions in the field offer higher than average annual salaries and positive job outlooks, so now may be a prime time to explore the advertising program options available to you.

A growing number of accredited universities now offer their programming online, allowing for more schedule flexibility. If you’re ready to develop your expertise in the field, you can start by finding the advertising degree program that best fits your interests and career goals.

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Brenda Pyzik
WRITTEN BY
Brenda Pyzik
Brenda earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Waterloo, with a minor in legal studies. She obtained a graduate certificate in human resource management from Georgian College. Brenda’s focus is on employment, entrepreneurship, business, and training and development.