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Choosing the Right Education for a Career in Advertising

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Q:

To make it TO or IN advertising as something like a copywriter, would an education in communications be the best thing. Right now I'm in the process of obtaining an A.A. in English.

When I head to a CSU I'm wondering if I should continue pursuing the English degree or go for the communications degree. More than likely I'll be minoring in marketing to get some info on advertising, but as of right now I have no clue how to go about getting into advertising. I tried to find a book on copywriting in order to find out more about it, but I can't seem to find anything up to date.

A:

Beginning your career in advertising may feel overwhelming at first. The education, the personality, even trying to get the interview can quickly discourage you.

These are some of the most common concerns anyone with an interest in the ad industry has. Having a degree under your belt always helps you get off to the right start.

There are many successful copywriters who hold a degree in English. You'll also find a large number of ad pros with a degree in Communications.

You mentioned you may minor in marketing. This is also good to have on your resume, whether you major in English or Communications. Advertising is a piece of the marketing pie so you will learn a lot with a minor in marketing.

Not every university offers degrees in Advertising, Marketing or Public Relations. However, if you specifically want to be trained in these areas while in college, you can take a look at the list of colleges and universities offering these programs.

You're not limited to a career in copywriting if you hold your degree in English. However, as a Communications major, you are exposed to a wide variety of courses that give you insight into a lot of different aspects of a career in advertising, journalism, marketing and public relations. Since you have to take specific courses to fulfill your degree requirements, you'll find a lot of the courses you need to take fall right in line with the career you're pursuing.

Another way to get that exposure to the industry is to intern. You want to get the most out of your internship and it can be a great foot in the door when you're out of college or if you find a part-time agency job while you're still in school. A lot of agencies are looking to fill certain positions with select interns so take it as serious as you would a 9-5 job that paid six figures.

As for a book, you basically have one right here at your disposal. And it's free.

Getting Started in Advertising should be your first stop. There are a lot of articles that show you exactly how to get started in the field, no matter what your experience level. The Career Source section is another area you will definitely want to visit.

Another resource you can use to study up on what to expect and give you some tips on how to get there is by taking a workshop. Starting Your Career in Advertising is a free workshop that shows you step-by-step how you can get started.

Lastly, I will say that I'm often approached by people who want to know if they even need a degree. Any education you have is always a good thing and will never hurt you in your job search.

If you're serious about a career in advertising, though, you can get started without a degree. How far up the ladder you go without a degree will depend on a number of things, including your own career goals but you can have a successful career in advertising without holding a bachelor's degree.

With that said, good luck to you and know that whether you pursue a degree in English or Communications, with a degree to your credit you will have an advantage when going after your first job in advertising.

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