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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

Ever wonder how Santa Claus got so popular? Marketing, my friends. Santa is a marketing genius. He has to be.

So-called high level Santas can make $10K a season in an upscale mall. But they got to know how! And they have to go to school. And attend conventions. And have good websites.

Santa Marketing 101

So, this July, more than 800 Santa and Mrs. Claus impersonators, plus a variety of elves, gathered in Brandon, Missouri for the 2016 Discover Santa Convention. There, they swapped beard care tips in between baseball games and workshops like “Pro-Level Santa Career Business,” “Marketing Your Santa Services,” and “Santa Schedule, Organization and Planning.”

Being a successful Santa isn’t easy, and it doesn’t come cheap. The Discover Santa convention rates start at $1,200. You should have a natural beard (unless you want to be Mrs. Claus, in which case a beard would not be advisable, a jolly outlook, be somewhat overweight and be prepared to spend a couple grand on your outfits and accessories.

PhD in Santaclausology

Some even come looking for love, like the lady in the video who said she wanted to find her own Santa and who shared that she was getting hit on all the time.

And then, of course, there’s the famous . Single registration is just $259.00, couples $369.00.

In addition to classes like “Talking With Children”, “Santa as a Business” and “Your Magic Wardrobe,” School4Santa awards diplomas. You can earn anywhere from “AssociateOfSantaClausology” to a Doctor of Santaclausology (PhD). The latter, says the website “… is presented to those individuals who in addition to attending three previous School4Santas, and receiving their Bachelor Master and Advanced Master diplomas, have registered for a fourth school and arranged to make their dissertation at that School4Santas.”

If you’re thinking of a career change (must love children) you’d better get cracking. 2017’s Discover Santa Convention is around the corner.