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Advertising Sales Agents Careers: Employment & Salary Trends for Aspiring Advertising Sales Agents

Advertising Sales Agents at a Glance

Advertising sales agents sell everything from TV and radio advertising time to signs and advertising space. They sell advertising by delivering sales presentations and pitches to new and existing customers. Once they have made the sale, advertising sales agents must see the transaction through to the end. They draw up contracts, deliver advertising or proofs for approval, and they might even help finalize copy.  

Besides selling advertising, advertising sales agents must also help determine budgets. Once the budget has been determined and approved, it is up to the agent to work within the budget to deliver the finished product to the client. Advertising sales agents work as “producers” as well by making arrangements for shoots and audio recordings, and overseeing sessions.

Advertising sales agents typically work in one of three main industries. These include publishing (book, newspaper, magazine), advertising and related services, and broadcasting (radio and TV). Advertising sales agents work across the nation, but some of the largest firms and publications can be found in places like New York and Chicago as well as Houston, and Atlanta.

School to Consider:

Employment Trends

Job Outlook: Above average
Annual Openings: 29,233
Percent Growth: 20.3%
Total Jobs Held: 154,000
Projected Employment: 205,000 by 2016
The Best 500 Jobs Overall Ranking: 88

Source: “Best Jobs for the 21st Century,” JIST Publishing 2009. Farr, Michael and Shatkin, Laurence, Ph.D.; “Salary Facts Handbook,” JIST Publishing 2008. Editors @ JIST.

Aspiring advertising sales agents can expect above average employment growth thanks to the Internet. Although not new, the Internet has created an entirely different media outlet. Advertising sales agents with the ability to sell Internet advertising will have a significant amount of opportunities in the field. Cable TV viewership is expected to continue to grow as well, creating plenty of capital to fund marketing and advertising sales efforts. And finally, individuals that leave the field or move into other positions will create positions that need to be filled as well as individuals that retire from the field.

Salary Trends

Advertising sales agents earn an average salary of $42,820 per year. Advertising sales agents in the 90th percentile can expect to earn around $91,280 per year, while 75th percentile advertising sales agents can expect to earn $63,120 per year. Entry-level advertising sales agents can expect to earn a starting salary of around $21,460 per year. It is important to note that these figures represent base salaries at different levels. Most advertising sales agents earn commissions and bonuses in addition to a salary.

Degrees and Training Programs

Although a degree is not necessarily required to become an advertising sales agent, most firms, publications, and broadcasting agencies prefer a college degree. Some college (a certificate) is acceptable in a few cases, but a bachelor’s degree or higher will attract the most lucrative opportunities with the biggest firms. Currently, 7.4% of all advertising sales agents have a master’s degree, 39.7% have a bachelor’s degree, and 11.8% have an associate degree. 19.1% have some college but no degree. These individuals typically hold a certificate in some area of sales, advertising or marketing.

Most employers prefer a degree from an accredited institution. Most colleges and universities offer degree programs in advertising, marketing/marketing communications, and business.

Coursework Require

Students can expect to take a number of communications and marketing courses such as entrepreneurship, principles of marketing, selling principles & practices, retail management & merchandising, interpersonal communication, public speaking, business math, introduction to computers, business development, advertising & sales promotion, and accounting for business managers.

Did you know that it is possible to predict human behavior? It's true! Marketing firms around the globe conduct focus groups to help determine the best types of advertising for specific "target" demographics.