Retail Buyer Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Retail buying, also commonly known as retail merchandising, involves developing, planning, purchasing, presenting and selling products. Programs in retail buying and merchandising are offered through both 2-year and 4-year colleges. When selecting a retail buyer school, students often consider the available degree programs, possible degree specializations and available internship opportunities.

How to Select a Retail Buyer School

Students seeking retail buyer educational programs often consider possible specializations within retail buying. While all retail buyer programs include education and training in business, management and merchandising operations, specialized programs can teach students factors unique to specific industries of interest. Examples of possible focus areas include fashion and textile merchandising, home furnishings merchandising and electronics merchandising.

Another factor to take into account when choosing a retail buyer school is the desired education level and credential. Common credentials awarded in the field of retail buying and merchandising include certificates, associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees and master's degrees. Certificate programs cover the basic topics of the field, including industry overview, retail buying and merchandising. Certificate program graduates qualify for entry-level positions in retail buying.

Associate's and bachelor's degree programs in retail buying and merchandising combine core merchandising, business and marketing courses with general education requirements. Students holding associate's and bachelor's degrees also qualify for entry-level positions in retail buying; however, they may have an edge in gaining employment over those who hold only certificates.

Master's degree programs in retail buying strongly emphasize economic, business and management concepts in addition to industry-specific topics like fashion and textiles or electronics. Graduates of master's degree programs qualify for management positions in merchandising and retail buying.

Students may also consider the internship opportunities available at retail buyer schools when choosing a program. Because of geographic location or industry relationships, some schools may offer better or more personally desirable retail buying internship opportunities. Internships offer students the opportunity to gain first-hand experience and build professional networks while still in school.

Largest Schools by Student Enrollment

College/University Student Population Institution Type
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities 51,140 4-year, Public
Michigan State University 46,510 4-year, Public
Riverside Community College 36,146 2-year, Public
City College of San Francisco 34,868 2-year, Public
University of North Texas 34,830 4-year, Public
American River College 34,610 2-year, Public
Pima Community College 34,136 2-year, Public
Santa Ana College 33,916 2-year, Public
Mt San Antonio College 30,026 2-year, Public
University of South Carolina - Columbia 27,488 4-year, Public
Central Michigan University 27,225 4-year, Public
El Camino Community College District 27,098 2-year, Public
Long Beach City College 26,927 2-year, Public
Palomar College 26,805 2-year, Public
Pasadena City College 26,713 2-year, Public
Portland Community College 26,278 2-year, Public
Sacramento City College 26,128 2-year, Public
Fresno City College 24,783 2-year, Public
Orange Coast College 24,742 2-year, Public
University of Akron 24,119 4-year, Public

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