The $460 billion digital advertising market continues to boom, with career opportunities developing right along with it. It’s a landscape rich with possibility, partly because of how quickly the marketplace evolves. The digital marketing space operates at a speed that those in most other professions could never comprehend – which is why continuing education as a marketing pro is critical in keeping yourself ahead of the curve and ready to lead future possibilities in the field.
Changes in industry best practices, available technologies, and preferred tools of the trade continue to happen daily. By the time you master the newest trend in digital marketing strategy, the entire industry might pivot to another direction entirely. Even for the most seasoned marketing professionals immersed in executing successful campaigns, it can be challenging to stay ahead of the game.
Fortunately, there are several options for continuing your education in the digital marketing sphere. A digital marketing master’s degree and a digital marketing certificate are two ways to continue your marketing education. These programs can guide you through the rapid-fire changes in the field while sharpening your skills and preparing you for future opportunities.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of these programs and how you can decide which one is best for you.
What’s the difference between an online Master of Arts in Marketing and a digital marketing certificate?
Emerson’s online Master of Arts in Marketing (MAM) is a fifteen-month program designed to be comprehensive and rigorous. This master’s program hones your storytelling ability combined with skills in data analytics and online consumer behavior. The goal is to give you a diverse set of tools that are flexible, practical, and up-to-date. As a result, the MAM equips you with today’s best practices and skills that will be invaluable no matter how the marketplace may change.
Pros of the online MAM
The online MAM combines a core curriculum with your choice of one of three specializations. It can be completed in as little as 15 months, and your application requires no GRE/GMAT score though applicants must have a bachelor’s degree. All of the coursework is done online, and the program is made to allow you to pace yourself the way you prefer. Through the course of the program, you’ll connect with other master’s in marketing students who can be invaluable networking connections in the future.
A master’s degree can make you a more attractive candidate for senior and management positions in marketing. The mean average salary for a marketing manager in 2021 was $153,440, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, they project that demand for these types of positions will grow by 10% within the next ten years.
A master’s in marketing gives you a next-level educational credential, much like an MBA. Unlike an MBA, you won’t have to take coursework that spans a range of business functions; you’ll be zeroing in on the practical marketing education that has the most immediate value to your work.
Cons of the online MAM
The online MAM is a bigger time commitment than a certificate program, and it costs more to complete. However, when you’re considering the cost, it’s worth noting that the MAM increases your salary potential significantly. There are also financial aid options available to qualifying applicants.
Online Digital Marketing Certificate
A Digital Marketing Certificate offers many of the same benefits as the master’s program in marketing, but it is more limited in what it teaches as well as what you come away with. It’s a four-course program built from the marketing master’s program core curriculum. The courses are 14 weeks each and amount to 16 credit hours in total. You can complete the certificate in as little as two semesters or take one course at a time and graduate in just over a year. You’ll dive deep into the best practices for planning and executing digital marketing campaigns and enhance your understanding of evidence- and insights-based consumer behaviors.
Pros of the online digital marketing certificate
A Digital Marketing certificate gives you a quick and concentrated dose of the essentials in today’s digital marketing practices. All of the coursework is online, and there’s no GRE/GMAT score required when you apply. It’s a more affordable option for upgrading your skill set, and it shows current and potential employers that you’re serious about staying engaged with changes in the field.
With a Digital Marketing certificate, you’ll be able to better distinguish yourself as a serious marketing professional who is committed to your career. In addition to the skills you learn, this certificate helps you stand out from the crowd and gives you confidence in your work.
Cons of the online digital marketing certificate
Since it’s a shorter program, you have fewer opportunities to create interpersonal connections and build your network. The certificate can increase your earning potential and create opportunities, but it might not be as helpful in your job search as a completed master’s degree in marketing.
What are the next steps for continuing education in marketing?
Once you have decided between a master’s in marketing and a digital marketing certificate, you’re ready to take the next step in your digital marketing education. You can learn more about the online Master of Arts in Marketing or the Digital Marketing certificate offered by Emerson. You may also want to learn more about Emerson’s other certificate programs: Content Strategy, Marketing Analytics, and Social Media and Digital PR. And if you decide to pursue the certificate, know that you do have the option to continue and earn the full master’s degree.