Account Manager Career Path Guide (2024)

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn about valuable work an account manager does and how to become one, including the education and skills you'll need to start.

[Featured image] An account manager shows sales figures to a client.

Businesses with customers typically benefit from having account managers. These workers attract customers for companies and help retain them. If you like talking to people and solving problems for them, you may be a good fit for an account manager career. Discover the required education, skills, and different positions.

What does an account manager do?

As an account manager, you'll liaise between your employer and customer or client. It's your duty to form profitable relationships with customers by addressing their needs, responding to their concerns, and answering their questions. You also may spend time networking and training customers on the products you sell them. 

Daily tasks and responsibilities

An account manager’s duties vary with your industry and customers' needs. Your daily account manager duties might include the following tasks.

  • Developing an intimate knowledge of the products or services your company offers

  • Maintaining customer records and contract changes or renewals 

  • Staying on top of industry trends that could impact your company or your clients

  • Meeting sales and business goals

  • Fielding calls from new or existing customers/clients

  • Making visits to new or existing customers/clients

  • Attending meetings and delivering reports regarding a customer's/client's progress

  • Working with sales staff to create new business opportunities and marketing plans

Work environment

Account managers work in almost every industry for large or small companies. Your daily work environment may be in the company office or remotely. Account managers may travel to attend meetings or conferences where they’ll spend time working in customer or client offices.

What tools do account managers use?

To perform work duties efficiently and ensure customer satisfaction, account managers use various tools, such as software and spreadsheets. These tools help companies keep current customers, bring in new ones, and boost sales. Examples of account manager tools include:

  • Customer relationship management software (CRM): The CRM is essential software that allows you to store contact information, monitor customer communications, share information between departments, and more.

  • Spreadsheet software: You can use this to track sales data and determine the value of each account you manage. If you don't have a CRM, you may use a spreadsheet to track customers and manage customer contact.

  • Email automation: Automation tools can help reduce your time on routine tasks and frees you up to direct your attention to the customer and maintain regular contact with them.

  • Performance analytics software: This program helps you measure and track performance measures like customer satisfaction, communication reply time, and new customer rates. 

Account manager salary and job outlook

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for an account manager in Canada is $61,920 per year [1]. The account manager job outlook through 2026 is “Moderate” to “Very Good” in many provinces and territories, but the Northwest Territories is the outlier with a “Limited” outlook through 2026 [2]. 

Types of account manager jobs

Account managers work in various industries and in companies, large and small. Although you can find work in many fields, some of the more common ones include advertising, financial services, and manufacturing. However, banks, insurance companies, and technology companies also hire account managers. 

Some alternative titles include regional account manager, enterprise account manager, and national account manager.

How to become an account manager

To become an account manager, you must meet educational and work experience requirements. Many positions require a bachelor's degree in business administration, commerce, or economics. Depending on your industry and company, you may also need to pursue additional training or earn a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. Quebec is the only province that requires a CFP certification.

Meet educational requirements

Account managers typically have at least a bachelor's degree, often in business or advertising. The courses they take include fundamental business topics like budgets and management strategies. Some account managers earn a degree in marketing, which can serve as a foundation for a career in sales. 

Coursework in understanding consumer behaviour and how to promote people and ideas can be useful in the field. Public relations and communications also work well as a starting point in this career.

Gain experience

Paid and unpaid work experience helps prepare you for a career as an account manager. Your school may offer an internship with on-the-job training and professional networking. Entry-level account manager jobs include sales, customer service, and marketing positions. 

Positions that let you interact directly with customers can provide opportunities to learn how to build relationships. You may also consider positions as account managers.

Pursue a master’s degree 

If you want to advance your career beyond an account manager position, you may consider getting a master's degree, which typically takes two years to complete after your undergraduate degree. A master's in business, marketing, or public relations can help you learn more complex information and skills like relationship management, managerial economics, and strategic thinking. Sometimes, employers accept a master's degree instead of work experience. 

Consider certification

Another way to advance in your career is through professional certifications. One example is the Certified Strategic Account Manager (CSAM) certificate, which takes 12 to 18 months to complete. To enroll in this program, you must currently have a position as a key account manager, strategic account manager, national account manager, or global account manager with at least one active account and receive sponsorship from a corporate leader.

Skills for account managers

As an account manager, you will likely rely on various special skills, such as communication and computer skills. Developing these skills can ensure success on the job. The lists below feature some of the common skills account managers have.

Account manager technical skills

Technical skills help you perform specific tasks. Examples of technical skills that benefit account managers include:

  • Computer skills

  • CRM software

  • Recordkeeping

  • Spreadsheet skills

Account manager workplace skills

Human skills are interpersonal skills that help you interact with customers and fellow employees. Examples of human skills that benefit account managers include:

  • Adaptability

  • Collaboration

  • Communication (verbal and written)

  • Customer service

  • Leadership

  • Negotiation

  • Organization

  • Self-starter

  • Time management

Account manager career advancement

No matter what career you pursue, it's wise to know what career advancement might look like in the future. Here are some possibilities for career advancement in account management. You can see what to expect after earning your degree at the entry-level, mid-level, and upper levels. 

*All base salary data is sourced from Glassdoor as of April 2024


Entry-level positions allow you to gain experience working for a specific company or industry. The knowledge and skills you develop in these roles can help you advance. These positions and their average annual salary in Canada are:

  • Sales representative: $63,253 [3]

  • Customer service representative: $41,629 [4]

  • Assistant account manager: $48,685 [5]

  • Junior account executive: $60,983 [6]

You can build your understanding of the products and services sold and learn how to handle clients and manage accounts.  


Once you gain some experience in an entry-level position, you may be ready to move up to an account management position. These positions also can help you qualify for professional certification programs. Positions and salaries at this level include:

  • Key account managers: $93,459 [7]

  • Senior account managers: $94,143 [8]

In these roles, you typically support the company's most important client accounts. 


Upper-level account manager positions include supervisory roles. You typically need at least five years of experience to land these jobs. Here are the positions and salaries at this level:

  • Principal account manager: $76,911 [9]

  • Regional accounts manager: $83,613 [10]

  • Director of accounts: $94,370 [11]

In these positions, you may oversee some or all the account managers at your company. 

Getting started

It takes a special person to be an account manager. People in this position benefit from being ambitious, motivated, energetic, and comfortable around others. If this sounds like you, a career as an account manager might be a great fit. To see if you'll enjoy this type of work, consider enrolling in The Art of Sales: Mastering the Selling Process Specialization offered by Northwestern University or HubSpot Sales Representative Professional Certificate on Coursera. You'll learn how to stand apart from other salespeople, attract customers or clients, and close deals. to help you learn how to stand apart from other salespeople, attract customers or clients, and close deals.

Article sources


Glassdoor. “How much does an Account Manager make in Canada?,,6_IN3_KO7,23.htm?clickSource=searchBtn.” Accessed April 16, 2024.

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