Advertising students learn how to research, write and develop ad campaigns. Graduates
can work in advertising agencies and other media companies. There is a wide
range of employment possibilities.
"The job market is incredible right now! Advertising is such an innovative
and ever-evolving industry. It moves at a break-neck speed, and it's due in
part to the fresh, new minds that are entering the field from our college
systems," says Kim Donaldson. She is the advertising program coordinator at
Christopher Cakebread warns students that they need to be highly motivated,
hardworking and passionate about the business. He is a professor of advertising
at Boston University.
"Advertising is a brutally volatile, vicious business that is not for the
faint of heart," he says.
Students need to be creative and develop strong writing and critical thinking
skills. They will also learn about the business side of advertising, such
as the presentation and marketing skills that are used to develop campaigns.
Advertising programs should help students to create a portfolio of advertising
materials and plans. Employers will want to see what you can do!
There are a variety of programs for students to choose from. Certificate
and diploma courses are available at community colleges. They range from a
few semesters to three years in length.
Universities offer four-year bachelor's degrees and graduate programs.
Some students major in communications and choose to specialize in advertising
during the final year of the program.
Portfolio schools have become very popular for postgraduate work (studies
after you complete a degree) on the creative side.
"Shorter programs provide you with a great basic overview of the industry,
and are perfect for someone who has a passion for the work and the drive to
enter the workforce as quickly as possible.
"Longer programs of study provide students greater details and insight
into the intricacies of the industry, and allow for specialization in one
particular field," advises Donaldson.
Cakebread stresses the importance of getting your feet wet in the industry.
"The student should have had an internship or two in a related industry
prior to applying for a job. This has become almost mandatory, at least at
major advertising agencies in NYC and Boston," he says.
When you are researching advertising education options in your area, make
sure to ask about the faculty. You want a program that is taught by former
"Do not enrol in a program that is taught by academics who have never worked
in the field. I can't tell you how important this point is," says Cakebread.
"There are other good state university programs available if a student does
Donaldson lists three areas to concentrate on in high school for future
ad executives. English is number one, especially if you're considering exploring
a career in the creative end of the industry. Business courses should be
number two on your list. Finally, she says to study art. That includes graphic
design, drama, presentation and public speaking.
Cakebread suggests finding a retail job to get experience solving customer
complaints. "It provides a first-hand exposure to consumer behavior which
no psychology course can replicate," he says.
Beyond buying textbooks and the usual school supplies, advertising students
usually don't have many additional costs. Students may opt to buy a Mac computer
and current design software.
A magazine for the ad industry
American Association of Advertising Agencies
The national trade association