Online Degrees in Advertising

Advertising campaigns promote the interests, products and services of companies through a variety of methods. Advertisers write copy, create interesting and eye-catching artwork, and use media ranging from radio to billboards to catch a customer’s eye — or ear.

For creative individuals with an interest in business, advertising can be the perfect career. Jobs in digital media — an area that is seeing an increasing share of advertising expenditures — are expected to rise sharply, but competition should be intense for jobs in the field, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports. Online advertising degrees can help students develop the technical and business skills to compete in the digital age.

Online advertising degree programs can suit recent high school graduates, working professionals, and career changers who may not have the time to commit to a traditional on-campus education.

What do professionals in advertising do?

Advertising is a diverse field, covering everything from copywriters who craft advertising text to sales professionals who buy and sell advertising space. A few occupations and their associated duties are:


  • Writing advertising copy like advertising themes, jingles, and slogans for different media including newspapers, magazines, broadcasts, and the internet
  • Working with editors and clients to ensure the material is good enough to be published

Advertising sales agents:

  • Finding and contacting potential clients to offer their firms’ advertising services
  • Preparing promotional plans, media kits and arranging sales contracts

Art directors:

  • Developing the look of an advertising campaign and deciding how to best represent it visually
  • Managing design staff, preparing budgets and ensuring deadlines are met
Online is now the second largest and fastest growing ad spend channel in the world, accounting for 34% of total ad spend in 2017.

Choose a degree that can help you meet your career goals

The competitive advertising job market makes earning a degree in advertising and industry experience essential for helping applicants set themselves apart from the competition.

An online certificate or associate degree in advertising can help individuals qualify for entry-level roles in small organizations. According to the BLS, a bachelor’s degree is the standard credential for most jobs in the field, and management positions may require a master’s degree.

Industry experience is paramount when it comes to finding a job. Students pursuing online advertising degrees can benefit from an internship in the field; many schools help students find internship opportunities, either for-credit during the academic year or to gain experience over the summer.


What can I expect to learn in an online certificate program?

Some advertising schools may offer online programs at the certificate level that give you a general understanding of the scope of the field while some may focus on a particular aspect of advertising like design.

Typical duration: Up to one year of part-time study

General prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent

Typical coursework: Curricula include subjects that can give you theoretical information along with the practical know-how needed to create successful advertising campaigns including design and design trends. Some online courses you may take include:

  • Advertising profiles and trends
  • Creative concept development
  • Essentials of advertising
  • Typography

Possible electives: Advertising sales; branding theory; international advertising

What can I do after earning a certificate?

You may be eligible for entry-level positions in the advertising industry after earning your online certificate in advertising. Depending on the courses you studied, some job titles you may hold include:

  • Graphic designer
  • Creative coordinator
  • Marketing coordinator

What can I expect to learn in an online associate degree program?

Online associate degrees programs in advertising are rare but many online marketing degree programs cover topics in advertising. Individuals interested in working in art departments in advertising agencies may also be able to enter the field by earning online degrees in graphic design, web design or related fields.

Online advertising and marketing degree programs at the associate level can give students fundamental business knowledge and help them develop the design and communication skills they need to work in the advertising industry. Students may also learn to use different software like Illustrator and InDesign.

Typical duration: Up to two years of full-time study

General prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent

Typical coursework: Topics of study can include business topics along with topics that give students the technical skills they need to create and develop advertising campaigns across different media. Some courses you may take include:

  • Advertising account management
  • Art direction for advertising
  • Brand and branding
  • Photoshop
  • Web design

Students are usually required to build a portfolio of their work during the course of their online program as well as complete a capstone project.

Possible electives: Graphic design; print production; logo design

What can I do after earning an associate degree?

An online associate degree in advertising can make you eligible for entry-level positions in the industry which are often on the business side of the field, while creative roles tend to go to applicants with some industry experience.

Depending on the focus of your online advertising degree program, some jobs you may be eligible for include:

  • Advertising sales agent
  • Commercial designer
  • Communications associate
  • Copywriter
  • Graphic designer

What can I expect to learn in an online bachelor’s degree program?

Online bachelor’s degree programs in advertising may be standalone degree programs or coupled with related subjects such as “advertising and public relations” or “advertising and marketing”. These degree programs can prepare students for the competitive world of advertising, teaching them to blend creativity with strategic thinking and planning.

Students can learn to understand what resonates with customers; internet marketing strategies and more. Students may be able to choose a specialization during their online bachelor’s degree program in advertising.

Typical duration: Up to four years of full-time study

General prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent

Typical coursework: Curricula are designed to give students an in-depth view into various advertising topics and strategies. While coursework may depend on your specialization, courses you may take include:

  • Promotion and advertising
  • Digital marketing and advertising
  • Ad copy and layout
  • Introduction to visual communications for advertising and PR
  • Media ethics and responsibilities

You may also have to complete a capstone project, build a portfolio of your work and complete an internship as a part of your online degree program in advertising.

Possible electives: Writing for public relations; media planning, buying and selling; advertising competition

What can I do after earning a bachelor’s degree?

A bachelor’s degree in advertising may allow you to work with larger advertising agencies and media firms. While the role you fulfill may depend on the concentration you choose, some potential occupations are:

  • Account manager
  • Copywriter
  • Media buyer
  • Public relations coordinator
  • Special events planner
Great ads matter more than ever, but especially those that understand a customer’s needs and tell a great story through product and content. The best ads won’t sell. They entertain, educate, and inspire.


What can I expect to learn in an online master’s degree program?

An online master’s degree program in advertising can give students an understanding of advanced topics in advertising as well as the business aspects of the field. Students can also learn to apply this knowledge practically through developing innovative solutions though real-world case studies and projects.

Typical duration: Up to two years of full-time study

General prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree in advertising or a related field

Typical coursework: Students can explore different media avenues and advertising strategies through their coursework. Courses can include:

  • Advertising management
  • Brand management
  • Consumer behavior
  • Principles and practices of advertising
  • Strategic Communication Campaigns for the Digital Age

Students may also have to complete a master’s thesis as a part of their online advertising degree program.

Possible electives: Creating video campaigns; art direction; new and traditional media strategies

What can I do after earning a master’s degree?

Advertising professionals can earn attractive salaries, but the highest wages go to those who have worked their way up to managerial roles. A master’s degree in advertising can allow you to hold high-level managerial positions in the advertising industry. Some job titles include:

  • Advertising account manager
  • Advertising analyst
  • Art director
  • Brand strategist
  • Digital marketing manager


Accreditation is a voluntary process schools undergo to demonstrate that the education they offer meets or exceeds professional industrial standards in terms of curricula, their faculty and more. Attending an accredited school is also important for students as it can be a prerequisite for receiving financial aid and scholarships. Schools may be regionally or nationally accredited. Furthermore, there are several professional bodies that are authorized to offer accreditation as well by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Advertising degree programs may be accredited by professional bodies like:

With the advent of digital marketing, the scope of advertising has grown broader. Some online advertising degree programs may allow you to choose a specialization in one of the many aspects of advertising. Some specializations you may be able to choose from are:

  • Advertising management
  • Advertising planning and strategy
  • Art direction
  • Copywriting
  • Digital media strategy
  • Mass communication
  • Strategic brand management

Additional resources:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that a large amount of advertising is likely to be focused around digital media that can be accessed on cell phones and tablets. The table below lists occupations related to the field of advertising with job openings, average salary, total employment and job growth for 2016 to 2026.

Median Salary
Projected Job Growth
Advertising and Promotions Managers25,100$141,8903.2%
Advertising Sales Agents129,740$64,660-2.2%

Source: 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics,

Employment Statistics

Advertising and Promotion Managers

Industries with the highest concentration of employment
  • Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services
  • Sound Recording Industries
  • Radio and Television Broadcasting
  • Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers
  • Cable and Other Subscription Programming
States with the highest level of employment
  • New York
  • Illinois
  • California
  • Massachusetts
  • Texas
Top-paying metropolitan areas
  • Boulder, CO
  • New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ Metro Dvn
  • El Paso, TX
  • Trenton, NJ
  • Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA NECTA Dvn

Advertising Sales Agents

Industries with the highest concentration of employment
  • Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services
  • Radio and Television Broadcasting
  • Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers
  • Other Information Services
  • Cable and Other Subscription Programming
States with the highest level of employment
  • New York
  • California
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Texas
Top-paying metropolitan areas
  • Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
  • Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL
  • Elgin, IL Metropolitan Division
  • New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ Metro Dvn
  • Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI

Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics,

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