How to Become an

Advertising Executive

The complete career guide to be an Advertising Executive: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $113,610
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 4.5%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Creativity Focused
    Career Attribute

Advertising executives are creative and tactical positions at advertising agencies. They manage a staff of account managers, designers, and salespeople to ensure that all creatives and campaigns produced for clients are effective. They conduct research, guide staff, and oversee and approve campaign creation.

Recommended Schools

What is an Advertising Executive?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in advertising executive roles:

  • Conduct market research to devise optimal and effective advertising campaigns
  • Manage a team of account managers, designers, and sales representatives
  • Devise approaches for advertising campaigns and provide guidance to staff
  • Monitor campaign effectiveness and adjust approach when necessary
  • Perform administrative responsibilities: manage budgets, recruit and hire staff, and create presentation materials

A Day in the Life

Advertising executives hold senior roles at advertising agencies. Unlike advertising account managers who work directly with clients and designers who are in charge of campaign creation, advertising executives oversee all of the work that goes into managing a client account and delivering campaigns. They manage a staff of account managers, designers, and sales representatives, and are ultimately accountable for ensuring the success of delivered advertising campaigns.

Account executives ensure campaign effectiveness through a number of tasks. Before a new campaign is created, the account manager conducts thorough research. He/she researches the market, the client, and the audience to craft guidelines for campaigns and provide advice on what approaches may be the most successful. The account executive also monitors the campaign budget and ensures that all work completed towards the campaign falls within the budget so that the account remains profitable.

Account executives spend less time working with clients than other staff members, but they do sign off on all creatives and campaigns before they’re presented to clients. They may be called in when issues arise. They also monitor the effectiveness of campaigns while they’re being delivered, and they may call for shifts in approach when campaigns are ineffective. They serve as the ultimate resolution point when issues arise or campaigns fall flat, so they hold a lot of responsibility for the success of their agencies.

Typical Work Schedule

Most advertising executive roles are full-time positions conducted during normal business hours. Overtime may be required—a little less than half of advertising executives regularly work overtime.

Career Progression

  • Early Career: Sales Representative, Graphic Designer
  • Mid-Career: Advertising Manager, Advertising Account Executive
  • Late Career: Advertising Executive, Creative Director, Marketing Director

Typical Employers

Many advertising executives work for advertising agencies. In the U.S., the largest advertising agencies include Omnicom Group and Interpublic Group—both out of New York City. Other advertising executives may work in the publishing, retail, or trade industries.

Recommended Schools

How To Become an Advertising Executive

The first step in becoming an advertising executive is to earn a bachelor’s degree in a related field. The type of bachelor’s degree you earn is somewhat flexible and should be catered to the entry-level role you want to pursue on your path to becoming an advertising executive. If you want to work as a creative designer, a degree in graphic design is recommended. If you want to work in sales, you may pursue degrees in business or marketing. These degrees will enable you to qualify for entry-level positions in the advertising industry.

From there, becoming an advertising executive is a matter of working your way up the ladder through promotions. Individuals who excel as designers or sales representatives may be able to work their way into marketing manager, creative manager, or advertising account executive roles. With years of experience in these roles—and an impressive portfolio of campaign work and successes—you may eventually qualify for open account executive positions.

A master’s in business administration (MBA) can also be useful for aspiring account executives. Because the role requires leading and managing a team, an MBA can be especially useful because it provides a thorough education in leadership skills and budget/project management. An MBA can also help set candidates apart when applying for open roles—with both the preferred educational background and preferred experience, candidates should be more competitive for open advertising executive positions.

Advertising Executive Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Advertising Executive salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Advertising Executive's can make an average annual salary of $113,610, or $55 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $62,780 or $30 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #41 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming an Advertising Executive. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Advertising Executives

  • 1.4%   Doctorate
  • 12.7%   Masters
  • 64.7%   Bachelors
  • 5.4%   Associates
  • 10%   College
  • 4.5%   High School
  • 1.3%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Advertising Executive job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 1,400 jobs for a total of 32,400 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 4.5% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #461 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Advertising Executives

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Advertising, public relations, and related services 9,500 400 0%
Management of companies and enterprises 2,400 100 0%
Television broadcasting 2,100 200 0%

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