Earning a Master's in Entertainment Management Online

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Entertainment management entails the coordination and promotion of facilities and talent, such as musicians and stand-up comedians. Entertainment managers work with their teams to plan events, implement plans, and create promotional campaigns to bolster consumer engagement with their organization or client.

Professionals in this field can expect an increase in job opportunities. According to the business consultation agency Deloitte, media and entertainment positions are growing due to the popularity of streaming services. With streaming services comes the demand for targeted advertising, updated media laws, and user experience personalization.

You can pursue high-paying career opportunities by earning an online business master's in entertainment management. Graduate education provides advanced coursework, hands-on training with industry experts, and networking opportunities. This guide details degree options, financial aid opportunities, and relevant student resources. It also covers career and salary prospects.

Student Profile: Who Earns an Online Master's Degree in Entertainment Management?

Master's in entertainment management online programs offer flexible course scheduling that draws working professionals who must juggle school, career, and family obligations. Graduate students generally hold a bachelor's degree in the same or similar topic. Related fields of study include business administration, marketing, and financial analysis.

A master's education also benefits professionals seeking specialization in such subfields as nonprofit administration, entrepreneurship, and digital marketing. Graduate programs help students gain certification/licensure through career-relevant coursework. Some professional organizations require exam candidates to hold a master's degree.

Why Get a Master's Degree in Entertainment Management?

Pursuing Specialization

Entertainment management typically serves as a specialization within an MBA program. However, students can select standalone degrees that come with specialization options, including general administration, finance, and project management. Additionally, students can concentrate their studies on an area of entertainment, like digital production, media technology, or laws and ethics. They may also specialize in a particular entertainment industry, such as sports, music, or television management.

Career Advancement Opportunities

For most degree seekers, an online business master's in entertainment management paves the way to lucrative leadership positions. Students learn to negotiate contracts, motivate employees, and empower brands through data-driven marketing strategies. Graduate students also engage in research, practicum, and conferencing opportunities that allow them to build professional relationships and discover career opportunities. A master's degree prepares students for advanced certification, such as marketing management and content management credentials from the American Marketing Association.

Online Learning Technology

Technology powers distance education in many ways, including through video streaming, learning management platforms, and collaboration software. Online students master these forms of digital communication and develop the skills needed to succeed in business, media, and entertainment industries. Depending on the program, students learn to use analytical programs to extract actionable information for data sets. As a global enterprise, entertainment allows students to delve into digital marketing and use design software to create international advertising campaigns.

Prerequisites for Online Entertainment Management Programs

While criteria varies by program, colleges and universities usually list similar general admission requirements. These requirements include standardized test scores, recommendation letters, relevant professional experience, and prerequisites.

    • Work Experience: Some schools, particularly those that offer distance education or degree completion tracks, require between two and three years of career experience. Even if not a programmatic requirement, professionals may turn relevant experience into transfer credits through prior learning assessment. Students demonstrate work experience through professional references and resumes.
    • Exams and Test Scores: While schools increasingly eschew standardized testing, many graduate programs still ask for GRE or GMAT scores. These scores remain valid for five years, but universities may ask for more recent results. Minimum requirements differ by school. Some programs waive GRE/GMAT requirements if candidates possess exceptional GPAs or work experience.
    • Coursework: Prerequisite requirements depend on the type of entertainment management program. For example, MBA programs may ask students to complete classes in economics, statistics, and finance. GPA requirements also vary. In general, applicants need at least a 2.0 GPA. Selective schools ask for a 3.0 or higher.
    • Recommendations: Applicants should prepare between 2-3 recommendation letters. These documents should come from professional sources, such as employers or colleagues who can speak to the student's achievements and personal qualities. Some schools limit who can write letters of recommendation. Other schools only ask for names, preferring to contact a student's recommenders directly.
    • Essays: Colleges often ask candidates for personal statements detailing academic accomplishments, professional credentials, and how their goals align with the program's mission. Some schools provide general statement guidelines, while others require students to respond to specific questions. In either case, essays typically take up no more than two pages.
    • Interviews: Some schools ask students to sit for remote or in-person interviews. This step of the admission process comes after the initial evaluation of applicants' credentials. Students should expect to elaborate on their skills, experiences, and, if applicable, scholarship qualifications. To prepare, students should consult their academic adviser and conduct independent research, focusing on their school's general and programmatic missions.
    • International Students: For international students, the application process includes immigration. Schools also operate financial aid programs for international students since they may not qualify for funding through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). These students may need to demonstrate English language proficiency by submitting scores from standardized tests like the TOEFL or IELTS.

How Much Can I Make with a Master's Degree in Entertainment Management?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, salary potential for management positions ranges from $48,220-$149,410 with a median of $102,590. However, pay differs significantly by industry, employer, location, and experience and qualifications. While job experience proves crucial to career advancement, graduate education fosters skill development in areas like marketing communications and corporate risk management. Professionals can improve their salary potential by pursuing careers in nontraditional or emerging industries, such as virtual reality or social media content.

Traditional Careers for Entertainment Managers

Career Stats Description

Entertainment Directors / General Managers

Median Pay: $100,410

Job Growth: 9.1%

Production managers and entertainment directors schedule events and oversee the development of promotional campaigns. They also manage hiring and budgets and supervise staff and live performances. They may act as general managers of an event space or business, often working office and event hours on nights and weekends.

Ideal for: People managers with strong scheduling skills, sales skills, and a willingness to work unconventional hours.

Media Sales Manager

Median Pay: $121,060

Job Growth: 7%

These business leaders oversee an organizational sales team. They maintain budgets, coordinate representatives, set sales goals, assign territories, and develop onboarding and ongoing training programs. Media sales managers also analyze statistics to determine profitability and customer preferences.

Ideal for: Business professionals with strong customer service and analytical skills.

Agent for Performers, Athletes

Median Pay: $64,490

Job Growth: 4.7%

These professionals represent athletes, artists, and other performers in their dealings with employers. They seek opportunities for their clients, negotiate contracts, and collect commissions. Agents work closely with clients to develop strategies for client success. They may act as spokespersons, fielding questions from media outlets and boosting their client's public persona.

Ideal for:Entertainment managers with marketing experience and a willingness to travel and work unconventional hours.

Event Experience Manager

Median Pay: $129,380

Job Growth: 10%

Combining promotions and project management skills, these managers develop campaigns that generate interest in an organization's event. They also oversee event logistics, selecting the venue, planning concessions, training staff, and ensuring attendees enjoy a positive experience.

Ideal for: Professionals with excellent organizational and interpersonal skills who can work extended hours during events.

Non-Traditional Careers for Entertainment Managers

Career Stats Description

Purchasing Agent / Media Buyer

Median Pay: $66,610

Job Growth: -3%

Purchasing agents procure products and services for their organizations to use or resell. These professionals also review suppliers and products based on quality, price, and delivery speed. While traditional buyers may see a decrease in job opportunities, the rapid growth of digital sales creates new opportunities for these professionals.

Ideal for: Professionals with negotiation skills and the ability to earn certification from professional organizations like the American Purchasing Society (APS).

Art Director

Median Pay: $92,500

Job Growth: 5%

These creative leaders manage the aesthetic for print publications, product packaging, and visual media, like film and television. Working with teams of artists, designers, and marketing specialists, art directors develop visual concepts, including layout and artwork. They also oversee general administrative tasks, such as managing budgets and meeting with clients.

Ideal for: Professionals with management experience and a portfolio of their work.

Venue Owner

Median Pay: $72,169

Job Growth: 11%

These small business owners provide event space, staff, and equipment. Depending on the venue, these managers may also book and coordinate talent, such as musical artists and visual performers. Owners also oversee daily administrative functions, including hiring and training staff and ensuring venue cleanliness and safety.

Ideal for: Professionals with the industry experience and capital/partnerships to start their own business.

Fundraising Director

Median Pay: $111,280

Job Growth: 10%

Predominantly working in the nonprofit sector, fundraising directors develop campaigns that help organizations get donations. They apply for grants, find funding sources, and may meet with stakeholders. Fundraising directors also work with marketing specialists to develop campaign strategies and cultivate a favorable public image.

Ideal for: Strong business communicators with public relations skills and experience.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale, 2017-2018

Paying for an Online Master's in Entertainment Management

Pursuing a master's in entertainment management online requires a financial investment. Fortunately, many colleges and universities offer competitive tuition prices regardless of a distance learner's residency status. Students can reduce costs by enrolling in accelerated programs and applying transfer credits. Schools may award credits for relevant coursework, job experience, professional training, and volunteer positions. Online students also benefit from financial aid, including institutional scholarships and grants. They may also take advantage of subject-specific awards from their programs or professional organizations.

Tuition Timelines

The rate at which students complete degree work affects tuition and, in the case of part-time enrollment, financial aid opportunities. This section compares three enrollment paths so that prospective learners can pick the one that suits them.

Part-Time Path

Part-time enrollment benefits working professionals by allowing them to pursue graduate training without compromising career and personal obligations. However, some schools do not offer part-time students access to financial aid.

Real-Life Example:

School Name: The New School
Total Credits Required: 36
Summary: At The New School, part-time students can earn graduate degrees in three years. Learners with extensive professional experience can apply for course waivers. While this process does not reduce total credit hours, it allows students to take advanced and career-relevant classes.

Full-Time Path

The conventional graduate degree plan spans 2-3 years. Full-time students benefit from full financial assistance opportunities and student resources such as internship placement and fellowship opportunities.

Real-Life Example:

School Name: Colorado State University
Total Credits Required: 30
Summary: CSU students can earn their master's in two years. Those with transfer credits can complete the program in less time. CSU operates a hybrid learning system, which combines on-campus and online classes.

Accelerated Path

Students can hasten degree completion by taking the maximum number of classes each semester. They can also pursue accelerated graduate programs that operate eight-week courses instead of the conventional 12 week courses.

Real-Life Example:

School Name: Drexel University
Total Credits Required: 49 quarter credits
Summary: Through the Drexel program, students can earn their degree in under one year, provided they complete practicum and capstone requirements during that time. Drexel does not guarantee fixed tuition rates. Rising prices may mean students need to take fewer classes each term, thereby extending program length.

Subject-Specific Financial Aid, Grants & Scholarships

This section contains five scholarships and grants for master's in entertainment management online students. Graduate students can also access funding from national and state government by completing the FAFSA.

What to Expect from a Master's Level Online Entertainment Management Program

Online business master's in entertainment management programs typically span two years, requiring students to earn at least 30 semester credits. Degree candidates can expedite graduation by applying transfer credits and enrolling in accelerated tracks. Students should take note of distance learning delivery methods. Most colleges and universities operate asynchronous classes in an individually paced plan. Other programs require distance learners to participate in cohort learning, advancing through degree work at the same pace as their peers. The section below details milestones for online graduate students and practitioners in this field.

Major Milestones

  1. Practicum Experience - Any time during graduate program

    For online students, practicums can entail summer residencies or dedicated internships during the academic year. Many schools allow distance learners to complete practicum requirements with current employers if the position satisfies program goals and outcomes.

  2. Capstone Experience - Last year of graduate program

    A capstone requirement can consist of thesis research and defense, hands-on project implementation, or a combination of both. Some universities facilitate sponsored projects with industry partners, enabling students to synthesize internship and capstone experiences.

  3. Comprehensive Examination - Last semester of graduate program

    Master's in entertainment management online students may need to pass a final exam with oral and written components. Under the guidance of a school-approved proctor, distance learners demonstrate that they can apply core theories and skills to real-world scenarios.

  4. Professional Licensure or Certification - Post-graduation

    Graduates seeking work as talent agents must gain state licensure. For other entertainment managers, professional certification is usually optional but greatly bolsters career prospects. The process includes examination and demonstration of relevant work experience.

  5. Continuing Education - Post-graduation

    Management professionals seeking roles as researchers, consultants, or postsecondary educators typically pursue a doctoral degree. For everyone else, continued education and training serves as a means of maintaining certification/licensure and staying competitive in an evolving field.

Coursework

Online business master's in entertainment management curricula ground students in business topics like media marketing strategies and finance. The remaining coursework differs based on individual programs. The five classes below reflect typical options for this field.

Marketing Strategy and Planning

Students build and implement strategic plans to achieve competitive advantage. Students learn to create and fulfill demand by influencing consumer behavior through global communication and advertising campaigns. Additional topics include information systems, experimental marketing, and market segmentation.

Media History

This class examines the growth of media communication channels. Students analyze today's interactive multimedia, tracing its roots back to print publication, broadcast media, and point-to-point communication. They also study media development regarding social, political, and economic change.

Business Law and Ethics

Students examine their personal ethics in relation to corporate culture, civic-mindedness, and governance. They learn to incorporate sustainable business practices and boost diversity in the workplace. Depending on the program, students also review media law, including collective bargaining and intellectual property.

Corporate Web Design

A cornerstone for digital marketing and social media management careers, this class covers website development. Students cultivate skills in HTML, web graphics, and cascading style sheets. The course emphasizes usability, including logical structure, appealing design, and accessible content that meets information goals.

Television Production

This specialized course helps students develop core television editing skills. They also learn to use single-camera and multi-camera production techniques. Additionally, the class covers production management issues, including finance, programming distribution, and the roles advertising and ratings play in scheduling.

Requirements to Practice

Entertainment management graduates must earn state licensure to legally work as talent agents (but not as talent managers) and performance venue owners. For those pursuing business careers, professional licensure is optional but can expand career opportunities. For procurers, optional certification includes the certified professional purchasing manager from APS and the certified professional in supply management from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). Certification also exists for project managers, digital marketers, and professional fundraisers.

    • Talent Agent License: Professionals who arrange employment for artists in the entertainment industry must earn licensure. Requirements vary by state. Some states require talent agency licensure, while others only require general business credentials. In California, the process includes character affidavit and contract samples.
    • ISM Certified Professional in Supply Management: The CPSM identifies a professional's mastery of critical sourcing, procurement, and contract negotiation concepts. To apply, candidates need an accredited college degree and at least three years of work experience. The exam contains competency areas like supplier relationship and financial analysis. The CPSM credential remains valid for four years.
    • PMI Project Management Professional: Facilitated by the Project Management Institute, the PMP designation displays a professional's skills and experience in cross-functional group leadership. Candidates need 35 hours of project management education and 7,500 hours of relevant work experience. PMI members pay $405 for the exam while nonmembers pay $555.
    • AMA Professional Certified Marketer: Digital Marketing: This American Marketing Association credential covers fundamental topics like email marketing, user interface, online advertising, and search engine optimization. The two-hour exam contains 120 multiple-choice questions. To maintain their certificate, professionals need to complete 10 continuing-education units every year. To sit for the examination, AMA members pay $249; nonmembers pay $349.

Professional Organizations & Resources

By earning their master's in entertainment management online, students gain the knowledge, skills, and practical experience necessary to advance careers or pursue new ones. They can further expand job opportunities by engaging with professional organizations. Though membership usually comes with an annual fee, it provides access to such resources as project grants and career guidance. Professional organizations connect members through networking events, like the leadership conferences and CEO summits facilitated by the Society of Independent Show Organizations.

  • North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents: Founded in 1979, NAPAMA advocates for ethical business practices and diversity in entertainment management. Members benefit from discounts on legal advice, conferences, and industry products. They can engage in peer coaching programs, learning from experts about such topics as block booking, tour budgeting, roster curation, and effective showcasing.
  • Talent Managers Association: TMA supports members through breakdown services, yearly legal counsel, social committee mixers, and service and product discounts. The association also provides financial assistance through its Heller Award program.
  • Association of Entertainment Professionals Worldwide: An organization for buyers and sellers in the entertainment industry, AEP Worldwide offers discounted advertising prices, research-focused news, and volunteer opportunities. The association offers numerous networking functions, including the Annual Signature Event where members explore emerging business trends and discover new talent.
  • Society of Independent Show Organizers: Established in 1990, SISO develops best practices and streamlines business practices in the entertainment management field. Member resources include events sponsorship, leadership training, award opportunities, and a searchable information database.
  • Internet Marketing Association: IMA supports professionals working in marketing, sales, programming, creative development, and business ownership. Members support each other through regional groups. The association operates a women's leadership group and a professional certification program.
  • Sustainable Event Alliance: SEA advocates for sustainable event planning worldwide and offers a comprehensive supplier database. The alliance also publishes how-to guides for topics like sourcing, destination management, and economic sustainability. Through a four-step process, professionals can gain SEA accreditation.
  • Freelancers Union: Boasting over 375,000 members, Freelancers Union advocates for policy change that benefits independent workers. The union also provides accessible health, disability, liability, and term life insurance. Professionals can gain community support through freelance hubs and local SPARK meetings.
  • Event Marketing Institute: A comprehensive experiential marketing resource, EMI operates a database of over 1,000 case studies and campaigns. Professionals can pay for up-to-date research and private workshops. The institute publishes job listings.
  • Association of Fundraising Professionals: Founded in 1960, AFP provides research and practical tools, including resources for young and minority professionals. The association also offers career postings and professional development opportunities, such as webinars and a leadership academy.
  • American Management Association: AMA emphasizes professional development and offers in-person seminars, online training, free podcasts, and a vast resource library. The association also facilitates student programs and a women's leadership center. Professionals can search for jobs through the AMA website.