A college degree is not required to perform and even excel in some careers. As long as incumbents have a good head on their shoulders and can learn on the job, they will succeed. For careers like a market research analyst, degree status is necessary. In fact, a bachelor’s degree may not even be enough for some of the more technical positions within this field.
Employment in this field is growing faster than average and the annual mean wage was $66,850, according to May 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics data. A bachelor’s degree is required for most entry-level market research analyst jobs. Students wishing to enter this field major in areas like business administration, statistics, communications, or marketing. They gain real-world experience while in school by performing internships or working part-time in a related role.
A master’s degree is often required for technical market research analyst positions and to advance within this field. Students learn to gather and analyze data, conduct surveys and interviews, and write reports regarding their findings. Market research analysts spend their time gathering and analyzing data regarding consumer preferences about products and services, so this experience will be put to good use. Courses in communications help these professionals present advice to clients or employers in the most effective manner.
Jobseekers with strong quantitative skills who hold a master’s or doctoral degree in the social sciences or marketing should find the most favorable hiring environment. Those with only bachelor’s degrees may face stiff competition. Job seekers with a strong background in statistics, survey design, computer science, and mathematics will find it a bit easier to secure employment. Individuals seeking less technical positions often pursue a social science degree on the undergraduate level.
The Marketing Research Association Professional Research Certification is not mandatory but it can be helpful in finding a job. It is a way for professional researchers to demonstrate their expertise at either the practitioner or expert level. By obtaining this certification, individuals illustrate that they have the competence and level of professionalism desired by many employers.
With at least a market research analyst degree at the undergraduate level, a person should be able to find an entry-level job in the field. Advanced education will be needed to land a technical position or advance to the highest rungs on this career ladder. When considering degree programs, select one that balances quantitative and social sciences because skills in each area will be helpful.