Bachelor of Arts (BA): Merchandising Management Degree Overview

Oct 28, 2019

Merchandising-related bachelor's degree programs vary and may combine merchandising with studies in retail design, or focus on merchandising management in specific fields, such as fashion.

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Essential Information

In the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Merchandising Management program, students learn about business theories while gaining practical knowledge of merchandising, but this program is rare. Most schools offer a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Merchandising or a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Studies. Both programs are similar in application requirements. To apply to a bachelor's program, a student needs a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Students must complete an internship before graduation.


Bachelor of Arts in Merchandising Management

The program offers an overview of the merchandising process and an understanding of advertising and marketing. Manufacturing processes, product development, communications and human resources management are emphasized. A variety of merchandising environments, including Internet sales, are examined. Students also complete general core curriculum studies in math, science and humanities. Course offerings may include:

  • Advertising
  • Consumer psychology
  • Business communications
  • Service marketing
  • Merchandising strategies

Popular Career Choices

A bachelor's degree program in merchandising management prepares graduates for careers as buyers of finished products for resale in wholesale or retail businesses. Graduates have the skills to forecast trends, manage personnel and promote brands. Job titles include:

  • Merchandising manager
  • Purchasing manager
  • Retail buyer

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Purchasing managers are estimated to have an employment growth of 4% during the period spanning 2018 through 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); buyers and purchasing agents are forecast to see a 7% decline in that same period. Median annual wages for purchasing managers in May 2018 were $118,940. The BLS also reported buyers and purchasing agents received median annual wages of $62,750 in May 2018.

Continuing Education and Professional Certification

Individuals can make themselves more valuable to employers by obtaining master's degrees. The BLS stated many manufacturers prefer managers with master's degrees, which is essential for getting a top-level management position.

Many merchandising managers increase their knowledge by attending continuing education seminars offered by professional organizations. Professional organizations offer credentials to merchandising managers who demonstrate expertise in their field. For example, the Institute for Supply Management offers the Certified Professional in Supply Management designation, while the Association for Operations Management provides the designation of Certified in Production and Inventory Management. The American Purchasing Society has three certification programs for people in the purchasing occupation.

Bachelor's degree programs related to merchandising management provide both general education and a thorough introduction to business-related concepts. That way, graduates are ready for low-level management positions in their field of interest or more advanced studies that can boost their employment prospects.

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