Search Engine Optimization Specialists


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Useful high school classes include English, speech, computer science, advertising, marketing, psychology, statistics, and foreign languages.

Postsecondary Education

There is no standard educational path for SEO specialists. Some companies only require a high school diploma and on-the-job experience. Others require a bachelor’s degree. Typical degrees include marketing, marketing research, Internet marketing, advertising, computer science, information management, new media, journalism, or the liberal arts. Some colleges offer classes in search engine marketing. Contact colleges in your area to see what educational opportunities are available. Aspiring SEO specialists should also complete at least one internship as part of their college education.

Other Education or Training

Professional associations offer training opportunities for SEO specialists. For example, once a year, the Digital Analytics Association offers its live, interactive, Essentials Series, a discussion-based education program consisting of online courses like "Fundamentals of Digital Analytics." Other organizations that offer continuing education classes, webinars, workshops, and videos include the American Marketing Association, Interactive Advertising Bureau, and the Association of National Advertisers.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Voluntary certification in search marketing is available from the Digital Marketing Institute. Contact the organization for more information.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Aspiring SEO specialists should participate in at least one internship during college with a company that uses search engine marketing. Additionally, many companies require applicants to have at least two years’ experience in creating, managing, and optimizing search engine marketing campaigns

Successful SEO specialists have a comprehensive understanding of interactive marketing and online media, strong oral and written communication skills, and analytical personalities. They are able to work well independently, as well as in teams, when necessary. Other important traits include organizational skills, the ability to multitask and meet deadlines, and a willingness to continue to learn throughout one’s career.