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Advertising Managers

At a Glance

  • Stay up to date on trends and pop culture
  • Often work long hours
  • Work with clients
  • Use computer software (especially graphic design)
  • Have a bachelor's degree plus work experience

Career summary

Advertising managers plan and direct ads for businesses.

Some of the job titles found under this occupation are account executives, advertising directors, advertising sales managers, media directors, creative directors, and advertising production managers.

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The goal of any firm is to sell its products or services for a profit. Advertising is an important part of this process. Some firms have their own advertising departments. Other firms hire advertising agencies. Advertising agencies are companies that specialize in creating advertising campaigns for a number of different clients. Advertising managers direct and supervise the advertising staff.

In firms that hire out their advertising, advertising managers make decisions about ads. They contract with an ad agency to create and prepare the firm’s ads. In larger firms, advertising managers plan and carry out the firm's advertising campaigns. To do this, they oversee in-house ad departments. These are likely to include account services, creative services, and media services. Managers consult with department heads or staff about the areas of the advertising process they work on.

Advertising managers often have specific titles, such as:

All managers must stay informed of trends and changes that affect advertising. They read trade journals and professional literature. They also attend conferences and meetings.

Account executive             

Account executives manage account services. They assess the firm’s advertising needs. In ad agencies, they develop advertising campaigns and maintain client accounts.

Creative director

Creative departments develop the content of ads and decide how to present it. Creative directors oversee the work of the department's staff. Directors approve ad campaigns. They review ad displays, scripts, and media.

Media director

Media directors oversee teams that plan ad media. These teams select what platform works best for their advertising needs. Choices include advertising on the radio or TV, in newspapers or magazines, or online. Media directors consult with media companies to learn the best ways to advertise. They keep records of the best advertising sources.

Related careers

This career is part of the Marketing cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to advertising managers.

Common work activities

Advertising managers perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, advertising managers:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Advertising managers frequently:

It is important for advertising managers to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for advertising managers to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Advertising managers need to:


Reason and problem solve

Use math and science

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as an advertising manager, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Most advertising managers have a bachelor's degree. Your degree does not need to be in advertising or marketing for you to enter this occupation. Many advertising managers have a liberal arts background. For example, they might have majored in sociology, psychology, or literature.

Regardless of your major, you should take specific courses during college to prepare for this occupation. These courses include marketing, consumer behavior, and market research. Additional courses are sales and communication methods. You should also take visual arts courses, such as art history and photography. Finally, you should take courses in a language other than English. Being able to communicate in several languages is becoming more important in this occupation.

Work experience

An internship with a large company while in college can provide you with valuable experience and contacts.

This is not an entry-level job, so you need some experience. Many managers are former sales representatives, purchasing agents, buyers, or product, advertising, promotions, or public relations specialists.

On-the-job training

The length of on-the-job training varies by employer and industry. The majority of advertising managers receive at least one month of training. Many others receive up to one year of training.

Helpful high school courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum (external link) may be different from your state's graduation requirements (external link).

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups (PDF file) that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Most employers prefer advertising managers who have a bachelor's degree. Some employers prefer to hire advertising managers who have a broad liberal arts background. Others prefer managers who have a bachelor's degree in advertising, marketing, or journalism. Some employers may prefer applicants with a master's degree. Most employers prefer candidates who have a lot of advertising experience. Most employers prefer to hire candidates who have one to five years of experience.

Employers look for managers who are creative, highly motivated, and flexible. They also look for managers who can cope with stress and make decisions. The ability to communicate orally and in writing is also important. Employers look for advertising managers with tact and good judgment. The ability to make and keep effective personal relationships is important. These qualities are essential when working with staff and with clients.

Costs to workers

Workers may wish to join a professional association and pay annual dues. Additional costs may include buying appropriate attire. Some workers may pay for professional development continuing education.

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Advertising and promotions managers (SOC 11-2011)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $38.50 $53.55 $68.57 $81.63 (1)
Monthly $6,672 $9,280 $11,883 $14,146 (1)
Yearly $80,070 $111,390 $142,620 $169,790 (1)
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $43.47 $56.65 $70.85 $83.75 (2)
Monthly $7,533 $9,817 $12,278 $14,514 (2)
Yearly $90,402 $117,823 $147,359 $174,197 (2)
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly (2) (2) (2) (2) (2)
Monthly (2) (2) (2) (2) (2)
Yearly (2) (2) (2) (2) (2)
    Vancouver Hourly $24.50 $40.33 $48.95 $61.35 $87.42
Monthly $4,246 $6,989 $8,483 $10,632 $15,150
Yearly $50,944 $83,886 $101,812 $127,591 $181,840
United States Hourly $27.48 $39.52 $56.31 $78.54 (1)
Monthly $4,762 $6,849 $9,759 $13,611 (1)
Yearly $57,150 $82,200 $117,130 $163,370 (1)

(1) Wages are greater than $90/hour or $187,200/year.
(2) Wage estimate is not available.

Wages vary depending on the manager's level of responsibility, length of service, and education. Wages also vary by the size of the firm and the type of industry. Many managers earn bonuses equal to ten percent or more of their salaries.

Benefits also vary by employer. Most advertising managers receive benefits such as vacation, sick leave, and health insurance. 

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Advertising and Promotions Managers (SOC 11-2011)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 593 21.1% 16.1% 91
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 18 5.6% 11.9% 2
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 10 10.0% 15.2% 1
    King County 490 26.1% 19.6% 81
    Pierce County 10 10.0% 15.2% 1
    Snohomish County 10 20.0% 12.4% 1
    Spokane County 24 8.3% 13.9% 3
United States 27,600 2.9% 5.2% 2,700

National employment

About 10% of advertising managers are self-employed.

Major employers:

National outlook

In general, the number of people working in advertising is increasing. Companies need to advertise in order to compete and introduce new products. As print media declines, advertising managers who can manage digital and electronic advertising campaigns will have better job prospects.

Competition for jobs will be strong. This is because many workers seek managerial positions in advertising.

Other resources

Advertising Educational Foundation (external link)
708 Third Avenue, 23rd Floor
New York, NY 10017
American Advertising Federation (external link)
1101 Vermont Avenue NW
Fifth Floor
Washington, DC 20005
American Association of Advertising Agencies (external link)
1065 Avenue of the Americas, 16th Floor
New York, NY 10018
American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (external link)
(Certification options in the hospitality industry)
American Management Association (external link)
American Marketing Association (external link)
Association of National Advertisers (external link)
10 Grand Central
155 E 44th Street
New York, NY 10017
National Association of Farm Broadcasters (external link)
PO Box 500
Platte City, MO 64079
National Retail Federation (external link)
1101 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20005
News Media Alliance (external link)
4401 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22203
Printing Industries of America (external link)
301 Brush Creek Road
Warrrendale, PA 15086-7529
Radio Advertising Bureau (external link)
125 West 55th Street, 5th Fl.
New York, NY 10019
SHOP! Association (external link)
4651 Sheridan Street, Suite 470
Hollywood, FL 33021


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Strong Interest Inventory

Holland occupational cluster