Market research analysts need strong math and analytical skills. Most market research analysts need at least a bachelor’s degree, and top research positions often require a master’s degree.
Market research analysts typically need a bachelor’s degree in market research or a related field. Many have degrees in fields such as statistics, math, or computer science. Others have a background in business administration, one of the social sciences, or communications. Courses in statistics, research methods, and marketing are essential for these workers; courses in communications and social sciences—such as economics, psychology, and sociology—are also important.
Many market research analyst jobs require a master’s degree. Several schools offer graduate programs in marketing research, but many analysts complete degrees in other fields, such as statistics, marketing, or a Master of Business Administration (MBA). A master’s degree is often required for leadership positions or positions that perform more technical research.
Most market research analysts benefit from internships or work experience in business, marketing, or sales. Experience in other positions that require analyzing data, writing reports, or surveying or collecting data can also be helpful in finding a market research position.
The Marketing Research Association offers the Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) for market research analysts. Certification is voluntary, but analysts may pursue certification to demonstrate a level of professional competency. Candidates qualify based on experience and knowledge; they must pass an exam, be a member of a professional organization, and have at least 3 years working in opinion and marketing research. To keep their certification valid, market research analysts must take continuing education courses and apply for renewal every 2 years.
Analytical skills. Market research analysts must be able to understand large amounts of data and information.
Communication skills. Market research analysts need strong communication skills when gathering information and interpreting and presenting results to clients.
Critical-thinking skills. Market research analysts must assess all available information and use it to determine what marketing strategy would work best for a company.
Detail oriented. Market research analysts must be detail oriented because they often do precise data analysis.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition