Social Media Degree

What Is a Social Media Degree?

A social media degree equips those interested in careers in marketing, advertising, communications, and Internet design with the skills and knowledge to help organizations reach audiences using the medium of social media through platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and LinkedIn. The constantly evolving and flexible nature of social media supports the need for specialized study in this highly interactive field, which organizations are relying on in increasing numbers to support networking and advertising campaigns. Social media programs are offered by a number of schools as an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or professional certificate.

What Can You Do with a Social Media Degree?

Many organizations are spending resources to use social media as an advertising platform, so the career paths available to graduates of social media programs are geared towards advertising and marketing. Advertising sales agents is one such occupation. Advertising sales agents sell advertising copy and space on the internet and in print, often in conjunction with social media strategies. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that advertising sales agents make an average annual salary of $45,350, and are set to experience job growth of 13% between 2010 and 2020.1

Authorship is another potential career track for those with a social media degree, who may find opportunities to write campaigns and materials to be used over social media. The BLS estimates the median salary of writers and authors at $55,420 per year, with a 6% growth rate in available jobs between 2010 and 2020.2

Professional certifications that can further prove graduates’ preparedness to work for employers are offered by the National Institute for Social Media, with its Social Media Strategist (SMS) certification; The American International Institute USA with its Certified Marketing Professional (CMP) designation; and the International Institute of Marketing Professionals with its Certified Marketing Management Professional (CMMP) designation.

Prerequisites and Requirements

Since social media marketing and implementation requires technical and liberal arts aptitudes, students should be prepared to show completed prerequisite study for college level courses in English, mathematics, and technology. Depending on the selectivity of the school offering a social media degree program, students may be required to show proof of different academic accomplishments, though typically:

  • Associate’s degree programs require proof of completion of a high school diploma or GED, and potentially require minimum high school GPAs and/or test scores on the ACT or SAT exam.
  • Bachelor’s degree programs require proof of completion of a high school diploma or GED. More academically selective programs will require a minimum GPA as well as minimum scores on the ACT or SAT exam.
  • Master’s degree programs require the previous completion of a bachelor’s degree. A minimum undergraduate GPA may be required, and applicants may also be asked to pass graduate level exams such as the GMAT or GRE.

Typical Coursework

The coursework for social media degree programs covers the fundamentals of business, marketing, and Internet technologies so that graduates are prepared to enter the workplace with a well rounded skill set. Common courses required to complete a social media degree include:

  • Accounting
  • Business Communication
  • Business Law
  • Project Management
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Graphic Design
  • Advertising Planning and Strategy
  • Strategic Marketing
  • Global Marketing
  • Social Media Strategy
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Social Media Software and Tools
  • Social Media Campaigns
  • Multimedia Fundamentals

The technology organizations use to reach consumers is changing quickly and social media is showing longevity as a trend. As such, more organizations are comfortable using social media as part of an integrated marketing strategy, and are looking to social media experts to help navigate these changes.

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References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://bls.gov/ooh/sales/advertising-sales-agents.htm
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/writers-and-authors.htm