Retail Sales Management Education and Training Program Overviews

Though no formal certificate or degree is required to become a retail sales manager, aspirants can start their education by pursuing a certificate or an associate's or bachelor's degree in retail management. Programs focus on business administration and strategies.

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Essential Information

Students seeking retail management training can find programs that result in certificates, associate's degrees or bachelor's degrees. Certificate programs introduce students to advertising, selling, and purchasing concepts. The curricula of associate's degree programs includes business-related topics along with retailing theories. Bachelor's degree programs emphasize business strategies and administration. Students in bachelor's degree programs participate in field experiences or internships.

Candidates should have a high school diploma or GED upon entering any of these programs. For the associate's program, students complete placement exams or prerequisite coursework in math or English. In addition to general college requirements, including SAT or ACT scores, students need to complete prerequisite coursework in areas like business, math, management, psychology, English, and statistics for the bachelor's program.

Certificate in Retail Management

Retail sales managers are in charge of ensuring customers are pleased with their merchandise and any assistance they have received. Sales managers are employed by small or large retail businesses. Responsibilities include creating retailing strategies, examining inventory, and supervising employees. Many community colleges, technical schools, and vocational schools offer entry-level training for this occupation through certificate programs. These programs provide an overview of related areas, such as professional management essentials, effective administration, and customer relations.

Undergraduate certificate programs in retail management encompass areas such as purchasing, selling, and retailing. Publicity, business operations, and economics are also discussed. Other common topics include:

  • Advertising and promotions
  • Computer systems and financial record keeping
  • Merchandising administration
  • Oral communication
  • Personal and professional interaction
  • Philosophies in management

Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Retail Management

The retail management associate degree program is primarily designed for students who are considering careers in various sectors of retail management. The AAS curriculum also covers management areas of business, communication, and accounting. The program is completed in two years, and can prepare graduates for advancement in their current retail positions or pursuing entry- to mid-level careers in the industry. Program coursework incorporates professional fundamentals and proficiencies required for effective managing, administration, and interaction in the retail sector. Some other areas that are explored are:

  • Computer practices
  • Managing and supervision
  • Overview of marketing
  • Practical retailing
  • Principles in business

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Merchandising and Buying
  • Merchandising Marketing, Sales, and Distribution
  • Retail Operations Management
  • Sales Operations

Bachelor's Degree in Retail Management

Retail management 4-year degree programs award a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts and aid students in developing professional leadership and management proficiencies. The bachelor's degree programs also provide students with foundational practical comprehension skills used in retail management. Common studies include purchasing, visual promotions, and social interaction. Students also gain hands-on experience through internships and field exercises. Other studies include:

  • Business strategies
  • Fundamentals in professional proficiencies
  • Overview of retailing
  • Promoting and selling
  • Tactical administration

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Sales worker supervisors work directly with management to help oversee the staff, which in retail can include cashiers, stock clerks, greeters. or customer service representatives. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a 7% expected increase in the general retail sales workers from 2014-2024, which is about average ( In 2015, the BLS reported that the average annual salary for retail sales worker supervisors was $42,900.

Popular Career Options

Graduates who are interested in supervisory positions are also qualified for entry-level positions in management. Some opportunities at this level include:

  • Assistant store manager
  • Store key holder
  • Shift manager

Graduates holding a bachelor's degree in retail management may consider various employment options, while others venture into becoming small business owners. Some job titles might include:

  • Mall manager
  • Manufacturer representative
  • Merchandise manager
  • Retail operations director
  • Store manager

Retail sales management programs are available at multiple levels, ranging from certificates to bachelor's degrees, and typically include coursework in advertising, communication, and marketing. Students may find work as managers, retail operations directors, or manufacturer representatives.

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