Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree programs in merchandising prepare students to manage the purchasing and pricing of goods for a company. Some AAS programs focus broadly on retail management, while others focus more narrowly on a specific retail category, such as fashion. Students learn fundamental business concepts including financial management, principles of micro- and macroeconomics, sales strategies, and human resource management through lectures and practical training.
In order to apply, students must hold a high school diploma or the equivalent. Most programs take two years to complete.
Associate of Applied Science in Merchandising Management
In addition to general education requirement, AAS programs include industry-specific courses in fashion topics that combine business concepts with practical skills, such as arranging products, choosing merchandise, and implementing marketing campaigns. Generally, courses may include:
- Financial and managerial accounting
- Business law
- Marketing and advertising
- Operations management
- Sales and promotion
- Human resource and labor management
Popular Career Options
Merchandising, purchasing and buying occupations involve negotiating prices and acquiring finished goods for sale in wholesale or retail outlets. Some popular retail and merchandising management careers include:
- Merchandising manager
- Department manager
- Store manager
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Merchandising managers are classified as purchasing managers, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects 1% growth for these managers during the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). Median earnings for purchasing managers in May 2015 were $108,120 annually. Wholesale and retail buyers (except of farm products) are expected to see 6% growth in employment over the 2014-2024 period, which is about as fast as average. Their May 2015 median earnings were $52,940, reported the BLS.
The BLS has reported that many management careers in the retail industry require knowledge and work experience, as well as a bachelor's degree in the business field. According to O*Net OnLine, 75% of purchasing managers hold a bachelor's degree (www.onetonline.org). AAS program graduates may find employment upon graduation; others may choose to transfer to a 4-year degree program in business administration, management, marketing, general business or a related field to enhance managerial knowledge and increase qualifications for hiring.
By earning an AAS in merchandising management, you can gain a basic background in business. That way, you can either enter the field or pursue advanced business-related studies.