Creative Manager Careers


Bachelor's Degree in Marketing


Marketing Certificate








$108,260 /yr

$52.05 /hr

All Stats from

Creative managers oversee advertising, marketing, and other promotional work for companies and agencies. They work to decide what types of images and messages to use, where they’ll promote their services, and which products to advertise. Their job might include market research to plan advertising campaigns—and the ads might be seen online, in print, on television, on billboards, in magazines, or even in subways.

Creative Manager Job Description

A creative manager might work within a larger company’s advertising or marketing department—in which case, they work to promote only one company’s products. Or, they could work for an advertising or marketing agency, managing campaigns for multiple companies.

The job isn’t all creative. Creative managers must design marketing campaigns based on sound market research. That involves gathering and analyzing data to determine what messages and strategies would be most effective considering the group of people the campaign is targeting—and where to reach them. Creative managers may also work to establish pricing strategy, boost customer satisfaction, and design ongoing support programs.

Degrees Required to Become a Creative Manager

The entry-level requirement to enter the industry is usually a Bachelor’s degree. Some employers give preference to candidates with journalism degrees, particularly for advertising, public relations, and copywriting positions that involve lots of writing. However, college degrees in marketing, business, visual or graphic design, photography, or creative writing can also be useful.

Jobs in advertising and marketing firms are seen as glamorous, and can be highly competitive. Because of this, people with job experience and a portfolio are likely to be given preference—even for entry-level positions. Connections are important, so it’s best to try to land an internship at a known marketing or advertising firm—or within the promotions department of a larger company—before you graduate.

Creative management is a higher-level leadership position—and job experience is required to advance to this stage. It’s not unusual for the position to require five years or more of experience. You can work your way up in a company, coming to management from a marketing or advertising position. However, some companies will also hire managers who come to the position from a background in sales, journalism, or industry-relevant areas.

Acceptance of Online Degrees in Creative Fields

In general, creative and communications fields are highly accepting of online business communication degrees. However, this can vary depending on the industry you work in—creative managers work in almost all industries and sectors—as well as on the company and the individual hiring manager.

In general, if you are applying for work in an advertising or marketing agency, an online degree is more likely to be seen as equivalent to a traditional degree. You may experience slightly more resistance with a department within a larger company—particularly if you’re applying to an organization or company that tends to be highly traditional about education, such as a law firm or an academic institution. However, communications and creative fields have a history of being very open to online degrees.

Average Creative Management Salary

The Occupational Outlook Handbook states that the average salary for creative managers in advertising was $83,890 as of 2010. Those on the low end of the pay scale earned under $41,480, while top earners brought home more than $166,400. Marketing managers tended to make a bit more, earning $112,800 as a median wage. The lowest earners received an average of $57,750, while the highest earned approximately the same amount.

Job Outlook for Creative Managers

Jobs in this field are expected to rise at around 14% in the coming decade, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook—keeping pace with projected average growth overall. However, there is a trend for larger companies to cut jobs and departments to save costs in the tough economy—which means that the job outlook going forward may be better for creative managers in marketing and advertising agencies than within larger corporate departments.

In addition, as more companies reach out to a global audience, international creative managers and those with cross-cultural experience may become more valuable.

Pros and Cons of Becoming a Creative Manager

Creative management positions are expected to stay fairly in demand in coming years—as these managers work directly to boost company revenue, and their value is easily measured in dollars, they are less likely to be let go in tough economic times. That makes the position steady and dependable. It also pays well, and requires a relatively low education investment.

However, it’s also highly competitive—and seen as a glamorous job. Because of this, it may be difficult breaking in and working up to a management position. It can help to start from the beginning by building up a strong portfolio and landing an internship or some freelance positions in graphic design, copywriting, or other areas of interest before graduation.

Where to Look for Creative Management Jobs