Become a Market Research Analyst

How to Become a Market Research Analyst: Everything You Need to Know

Learning how to become a market research analyst means first understanding what these analytical pros actually do! Market research analysts study market conditions and help companies get to the bottom of what products people are looking for, what consumers will pay for particular goods and services, and how best to create buzz around something new. So, these professionals typically need an educational background in market research or a related field, plus strong math and analytical skills.

You may be interested in a market research analyst career if you have a unique blend of traits: you’re analytical and mathematically minded, but you’re also great at gathering info and communicating your findings. Hopefully, you’re detail-oriented and like to get the little things right, but you’re also a critical thinker, willing to pick apart commonly held assumptions to get to the heart of a research question.

Market Research Analyst Education Requirements: A Range of Possibilities[i]

Most market research analysts must earn at least a bachelor’s degree, and some types of roles require a master’s degree. However, market research analysts may come from diverse backgrounds and fields of study. They may earn degrees in areas like:

  • Market research
  • Marketing
  • Business Administration
  • Statistics
  • Math
  • Computer Science

Some may have backgrounds in areas as diverse as communications or the social sciences. Depending on your employer, what may matter most are your knowledge and skills in areas like statistical and data analysis. Classes in research methods, marketing, and statistics are typically essential for pursuing goals in this multifaceted field.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Market research became a formal practice in the U.S. during the 1920s. Amid the advertising boom resulting from the Golden Age of radio, marketers began to realize the importance of demographics when it came to radio program sponsorships. The field has expanded considerably since then!

What You May Study in a Market Research Analyst Degree Program

Market research analyst degree programs may be quite diverse, since many professionals in this field study related areas like marketing, statistics, and math. In other words, not every analyst’s educational background looks the same. However, ideally your program should:

  • Feature courses in areas like marketing, research methods, consumer behavior, communications, and economics
  • Help you develop your analytical, critical thinking, and communication skills
  • Assist you in honing your mathematical knowledge, in areas such as algebra, statistics, and calculus

Try exploring a few different programs to see if one sounds ideal for your goals. For example, maybe you’re tech-oriented and hope to study computer science, with the ambition of applying your analytical and mathematical knowledge to the field of market research. Perhaps you could find a program that makes sense for your unique combination of interests!

Exploration of market research and analysis is also typically part of a Bachelor’s in Marketing program. Students in such a program also pursue an overview of how marketing works, from start to finish. That may include understanding both the consumer and the marketplace, learning how to develop and differentiate products, and uncovering the mysteries of consumer behavior. And, you’ll probably take a look at contemporary issues and challenges within the field – from social media and internet marketing to the global business environment.

What Courses Might I Take in a Marketing Degree Program (and How Many of Them Are Marketing Analyst Courses)?

A marketing program may cover everything from foundational business concepts and marketing principles to courses on specific topics and circumstances – like nonprofit organizations, social media marketing, and brand development. You’ll probably focus on how to help businesses, organizations, and products stand out in a busy global market place. And, you could explore consumer decision-making and how to build lasting customer relationships.

In addition, any bachelor’s program usually requires you to take general education courses, like academic writing, math, biology, and even information technology. Since a marketing research role may call for a lot of diverse knowledge, you may be surprised just how useful these gen ed courses end up being!

Other courses in a marketing program may include:

  • Integrated Marketing Communications
  • Digital Marketing
  • Strategic Brand Management
  • Business Writing
  • Internet Marketing
  • Global Marketing

In addition, courses that may be particularly relevant to market research analysts may include:

  • Consumer Behavior
  • Marketing Research
  • Principles of Macroeconomics
  • Principles of Microeconomics
  • Introduction to Statistics

Should I Consider Market Research Masters Degree Programs?

Ultimately, the level of education you need to pursue depends on your career goals and employer requirements. Some leadership roles and research positions with more of a technical focus may require a master’s degree. As of 2018, 39% of Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists said they needed a master’s degree.[ii] And, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that career prospects may be best for analysts who earn a master’s degree.[iii]

However, you may not need to earn your master’s degree in market research, specifically. Market research analysts sometimes pursue graduate studies in areas like statistics, marketing, or business administration (MBA).

What Could I Learn in a Market Research Master’s Degree Program?

A master’s program with a focus on marketing and market research could help you build new foundations in this field, or add to what you learned in your bachelor’s program. The curriculum may include the ins and out of the field, including mathematical analysis techniques and how to design research in order to help you find answers to pressing marketing questions.

You may also study how to use quantitative analysis – including probabilistic and statistical tools – to help interpret data. You could explore current technology like data mining and tools for web analytics. And, you could learn how to extract and communicate findings, in order to help businesses make smarter decisions.

Master’s-level market research analysis courses may include:

  • Advanced Marketing Research
  • International Marketing Research
  • Consumer Insights
  • Analysis Tools for Market Research
  • Strategic Internet Marketing
  • Quantitative Analysis for Decision-Making
  • Ethical and Legal Issues in Marketing

INDUSTRY FACT:

  • Market research analyst jobs are projected to grow 23% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.[iii]

Market Research Certification: Do I Need to Be Certified to Become a Market Research Analyst?[i]

Pursuing certification is generally voluntary. That said, market research analysts may earn certification to demonstrate that they have the skills and knowledge necessary for the role. If you’re interested, the Marketing Research Association awards the Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) to qualifying market research analysts.

Keep in mind that earning PRC certification is intended for analysts who have a few years of experience under their belts. If you’re still pursuing your education and haven’t started working in your field, it’s too early to sit the certification exam. However, it’s not too early to start researching certification requirements as you work on building the knowledge you need.

Requirements for earning Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) include:[i]

  • At least three years of work experience in opinion and marketing research
  • 12 hours of industry-related education courses
  • Passing an exam
  • To renew your certification once you’ve earned it, you must complete 20 hours of industry-related continuing education, every two years.

Applying to Market Research Analyst Degree Programs: Admissions Requirements

If you hope to prepare for a career in market research, step one is finding a college degree program to help you achieve the knowledge you need. Part of that means making sure you meet the admissions requirements!

Potential admissions requirements for bachelor’s programs that may be ideal for market research analysts:

  • Official High School Transcripts. Often, colleges request that your transcripts be sent directly from your high school. If you’ve already taken some college courses, you’ll likely need to have official college transcripts sent, as well.
  • SAT or ACT Scores. Some schools and programs may require test scores, while others make this optional or nonrequired.
  • GPA. Many schools and programs set a minimum GPA for admissions, but some do not.
  • Letters of Recommendation or Teacher Evaluations. Some schools don’t require these, while others may use teacher or guidance counselor recommendations to learn more about your strengths as a candidate.
  • Personal Essay. If an essay or personal statement is required, it may be a chance to share your background, interests, and goals related to the field of market research. You could also offer an explanation for any weak parts in your application, if any.

Potential admissions requirements for market research master’s degree programs:

  • A Bachelor’s Degree. You’ll need to have earned your bachelor’s degree. Your master’s program may welcome applicants from diverse fields, or they may want you to have a particular academic background.
  • Official College Transcripts. You’ll likely need to have transcripts sent from any previous institution(s) you attended.
  • Resume. Your program may be interested to know your work and education history, particularly as it relates to your interests in market research.
  • GRE or GMAT Scores. Some programs require scores from either the GRE or the GMAT. Others may not ask for test scores, or may offer a waiver to eligible applicants.
  • Letter(s) of Recommendation. You may need to submit letters from faculty members, supervisors, or others who can attest to your readiness for graduate studies in market research.
  • Academic Statement of Purpose. If required, this statement could give you a chance to elaborate on your background, your academic interests, and how graduate studies could help you pursue your career goals in market research.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Globally, market research companies rake in revenue of over $44.5 billion U.S. dollars!

Finding Your Ideal Market Research Analyst Degree Program

So you’ve decided to take the first step to preparing for your potential career path: higher education. But what should you look for in a market research analyst degree program? While the specifics depend on your interests and goals, here are a few things to consider:

  • Accredited Market Research Programs. For starters, you should look for an accredited school from which to earn your degree. Accreditation from an organization that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education is essential when it comes to qualifying for potential financial aid. But what about program accreditation? While there currently isn’t a specific accrediting body that evaluates market research programs, you may find marketing programs offered by AACSB-accredited business schools. AACSB International evaluates business schools based on standards of excellence related to areas like engagement, innovation, and impact.
  • The Possibility of Pursuing a Market Research Analyst Online Degree. If you’re seeking flexibility in your studies, you may wish to take some or all of your market research courses online. It’s easy to search for online programs in areas like marketing or statistics, which may help you pursue an analyst career path. Since these programs tend to emphasize math, research, and subjects requiring a lot of independent work, they’re often well-suited to online learning.
  • Targeted Curriculum. As mentioned, many analysts don’t earn a degree in market research, but in a related area. Make sure you pursue a program that offers courses in the kinds of subjects you may need for an analyst role – like math and statistics, consumer behavior, and economics. And, look for a curriculum that appeals to your interests and career goals. For instance, if you’re interested in tools and techniques for data mining, try to find a program that offers a related course!
  • Features and Benefits That Appeal to You. Whether it’s asynchronous online learning, the chance to study marketing research from an international perspective, or the possibility of pursuing a market research internship, evaluate each program for what matters most to you. It may help to make a list of everything you’re hoping for in a prospective degree program. You may not find it all in one place, but ideally you’ll come across a program that gets you excited to start learning.

Now That You’ve Explored How To Become a Market Research Analyst, Search For Related Degree Programs!

From marketing to math, we can match you to degree programs that may help you pursue a market research analyst career path. Simply fill out our form, answering a few questions about yourself and your goals. It’s easy, free, and only takes a few minutes!

 

[i] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm#tab-4

[ii] https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/13-1161.00

[iii] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm#tab-6

 

Is an Online Market Research Analyst PROGRAM FOR YOU?

Mastering the skills necessary to pursue a marketing research analyst career may require experience in a wide array of subjects, including psychology, statistics, sociology, computer science, research methods and more. Many prospective marketing professionals choose online courses to learn about these subjects because they can be taken at home and are often easier to fit into a busy schedule.

Degrees for Market Research Analysts

In order to become a market research analyst, professionals should ideally have a bachelor’s degree in statistics, economics, or computer science. Degrees in these areas demonstrate an ability to work with numbers, a variety of software, and survey-driven analysis. Below is the how-to on these three degree options.

An Economics Degree

Going the route of an economics degree offers a bigger picture of business and the market, knowing what marketing strategies have worked and could work again for a given company or industry. This option is great for critical thinking, since a market analyst needs to consider and assess all available information. As an added bonus, you’ll learn all about “sustainable development unicorns” and probably more than you ever cared to know about Warren Buffett. Keep in mind that the ideal candidate for most positions should have a strong grasp on math and analytical skills, so you’ll want to take electives that specialize in statistics, math, and computer sciences.

To find the right college for you, simply go to the search toolbar on this page, select Economics and Bachelor’s Degree.

A Statistics Degree

Because market research analysts must be able to understand large amounts of data and information, pursuing a degree in statistics is a fantastic route toward your goal. Practicing statisticians benefit industries, governments, and academia, because their background teaches them all about linear and nonlinear models and designs of experiments, statistical consultation and computing, and mathematical statistics. Not only will this degree ready you for a role in market research analysis, but you’ll probably also be a beast at fantasy baseball. But really, this route is ideal for analytical thinking as well as keeping detail-oriented data, since precision is integral for data analysis.

To find the right college for you, simply go to the search toolbar on this page, select Statistics and Bachelor’s Degree.

A Computer Science Degree

Should you decide to endeavor into market research analysis by way of computer science, you’ll end up engaging with and learning a lot about the basic principles of computing. Computational theory, pattern recognition, systems and network theories, oh my! A degree in computer science yields a mix of specialized and transferable skills, which make for an attractive prospect for future employers. You’ll have fluency in software product engineering, and will learn about data structures and complexity theories. Just make sure you don’t tell your friends how much you know, or you might be at the mercy of all their computer problems.

Computer science is ideal for market research analysis, especially where data analysis is concerned. This level of computational fluency could lend the extra benefit of being a great communicator and problem solver, two major attributes of the market research analysis profession.

To find the perfect college for you, simply go to the search toolbar on this page, select Computer Science and Bachelor’s Degree.

What Do Market Research Analysts Do?

Market Research Analysts study market conditions to examine potential sales of a product or service. These professionals are the unsung heroes of the Marketing World, helping companies understand what products people want, who will buy them, and at what price, which is another way of saying that they monitor and forecast sales trends. They do this by giving a marketing strategy concrete goals through data, a.k.a. researching what it is that the consumers want and converting that complex data into graphs, tables, and written reports.

Who Needs Market Research Analysts?

In today’s rapid technology-driven market, any company worth their salt that makes a product or service needs a market research component to survive. A quick scan for “Market Research Analyst” on Idealist shows a wide swath of concentrations for market research analyst, ranging from:

  • analyzing the housing markets for commercial real estate
  • to researching the visitor experience at a major museum
  • to surveying the visual markets of a graphic design company
  • to taking part in political and nonprofit organization work

In other words, you could tailor your interests to virtually any job opportunity, depending on what's available in a given job market.

The good news is that jobs for market research analysts aren’t disappearing anytime soon. Business, as mentioned above, is growing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of market research analysts is projected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than the average of all other occupations. There are seemingly infinite permutations of how to proceed as a market research analyst.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a market research analyst as of May 2017 was $63,230. That is, the lowest 10 percent earned less than $34,510 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $122,770.

Conclusion

By now, you know that it isn’t necessary to get a marketing analytics degree in order to seek the perfect job for you. While many marketing analytics degrees and marketing analytics graduate programs exist, there are three great degrees that also give the shape, history, and scope of the market.  

As the occupation for marketing research analyst grows, employers will be on the lookout for professionals who can deliver dynamic results and consider the deeper and more complex obstacles. So what are you waiting for? Choose a marketing degree today!

(i) bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm | (ii) bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm | (iii) bls.gov/ooh/math/mathematicians-and-statisticians.htm