marketresearch_images89JQ3AGTIf you’re looking for an in-demand job in a rapidly growing field, consider becoming a market research analyst.

A strong career is built around spotting opportunities and taking advantage of them. As a market research analyst, that’s just another day on the job.

Market research analysts study local, regional or national market conditions to examine potential sales of a product or service. They help companies understand what products people want, who will buy them and at what price.

Businesses looking to improve their sales will work with market research analysts, who provide insight about consumer behavior and opportunities in the market. Given the key role these analysts can play, they’re in high demand. Since 2010, the number of jobs in this field has grown by 10 percent,* and the median annual pay is $60,500. If you’re looking for a job as a market research analyst, your odds of finding one are good: There is one active candidate for every five jobs posted. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupation is expected to grow by 41 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Market research analysts work in nearly every industry. They may work with the public to gather information and data, but they generally work at a computer, collecting and analyzing market data and preparing reports.

A certain level of education is fundamental to spotting lucrative opportunities for clients. Forty-nine percent of market research analysts have a bachelor’s degree. The next most popular degree is a master’s.

  • Doctorate or professional degree — 4 percent
  • Master’s degree — 26 percent
  • Bachelor’s degree — 49 percent
  • Associate degree — 5 percent
  • Some college, no degree — 11 percent

Whether you’re just setting off on your path to becoming a market research analyst or want to strengthen your career, certain courses are common, including marketing management, consumer merchandising, marketing research and applied economics.

Skills and experience
Building a successful career as a market research analyst can take time. Fifteen percent of these workers have one to two years of experience; 24 percent have three to five years of experience; and 26 percent have six to 10 years of experience. For those at the beginning of their careers, the BLS advises: “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.”

When updating your résumé or preparing for an interview, be sure to highlight the skills you possess that match up with what employers want in a market research analyst. Those skills include sales and marketing, customer service, clerical, reading comprehension, writing, judgment and decision making.

Market research analyst jobs may go by different titles, depending on the industry or function. Alternative job titles include business intelligence analyst, marketing manager, survey researcher and management analyst.

The top cities to find market research analyst jobs are San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland, Calif.; Washington, D.C.; and Arlington, Va. And as the economy continues to improve, market research analysts will only continue to grow in demand.

*All data from Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. unless otherwise specified.

Check out this video for more information on market research analysts.

© 2014 CareerBuilder, LLC. Original publish date: 06.09.14