Retail merchandising is a field of study that may fall under a few different departments, depending on the school. In California, the ten largest schools that offer certificate programs in retail merchandising include this course of study either in the fashion, interior design, or business departments, and all the ten schools listed are 2-year community colleges. There are no state tests, or certification requirements to qualify for jobs in retail merchandising, but some exposure to the principles of marketing, sales, and customer care may be helpful when seeking employment in business or retail environments.
Read about the ten largest schools in California that offer certificates in this field and compare the details of about the schools in the table that follows.
City College of San Francisco
City College of San Francisco is a public 2-year community college with more than 23,000 students enrolled. The Certificate of Achievement in Retail Management, a 31-32-unit program at CCSF, includes classes in merchandising, marketing, and communications. The Certificate of Achievement in Fashion Merchandising includes courses in merchandising, retail buying, textile analysis, and digital illustration, and it consists of 38-42 units. Both certificate programs require a business math course as well. An Associate of Science in Fashion Merchandising is also available at this school, and credits earned in the certificate program are applicable to this degree.
Long Beach City College
Long Beach City College is located in a large city south of Los Angeles and offers certificates and associate's degrees. LBCC offers a Certificate of Achievement in Fashion Merchandising, which requires the completion of 46-47 units. Courses required for the completion of this certificate program include introduction to careers in design and merchandising, merchandising for profit I and II, fashion/merchandise buying, and marketing communications. This certificate program intends to prepare students for entry-level positions in clothing retail, marketing, or manufacturing. Career and educational advancement may be pursued by completing the Associate in Arts in Fashion Merchandising, which is also offered at LBCC.
Los Angeles Pierce College
Los Angeles Pierce College, located in Woodland Hills, offers a Certificate of Achievement in Retail Management. This program prepares students to work as managers in retail environments and results in two awards: it includes one certificate offered in the business administration department of this school and an industry certificate offered by the Western Association of Food Chains. Los Angeles Pierce College also offers a variety of A.A. degrees in business administration. Students earning a certificate of achievement may later apply completed units to one of these degrees and will have the option to focus in general business, accounting, management and supervision, or marketing.
Orange Coast College
Orange Coast College is located in Costa Mesa, a mid-size city in Southern California. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, OCC has a student-to-teacher ratio of 35:1. Certificate programs at this school, which require courses in retail merchandising, include a Certificate of Achievement in Fashion Merchandising and a Certificate of Achievement in Interior Merchandising. One course common to both programs is professional selling, but the fashion merchandising certificate includes classes in retail buying, Excel 1, and retail store management. While the interior merchandising certificate program aims to prepare students for entry-level work in retail settings, the bulk of the coursework for this program consists of courses related to architecture and design. Courses in both of these certificate programs are applicable to associates degrees offered in various areas of fashion and interior design, but general education requirements must also be fulfilled for these degrees.
Pasadena City College
Pasadena City College is situated in a mid-size city and enrolls more than 26,000 students each year. PCC's Certificate of Achievement in Business Administration - Marketing/Merchandising includes classes in retail sales management, merchandising, and business math. Completing this program also requires a field-based element, which allows students the chance to participate in supervised work experience in local businesses.
Located in Mission Viejo, a large suburb in Southern California, Saddleback College offers certificates and associate degrees and, according to the NCES, has a student-to-teacher ratio of 31:1. Saddleback offers certificates in fashion merchandising, visual merchandising, and interiors merchandising. These certificates may be earned by completing 18 credits of applicable course-work in one vocational study area, which should be approved by the school. Courses students may take while completing these certificate programs include principles of retailing, visual merchandising, or fashion merchandising. The A.A. or A.S degrees at Saddleback include general education requirements and further study in a chosen field. Some courses at Saddleback are transferable to the University of California and CSU systems, but typically, these certificate programs are geared towards students seeking employment in the field of fashion, interior design, or retail.
San Diego Mesa College
San Diego Mesa College takes its name from the large city in which it is located - San Diego. Students at SDCC have 2 certificate programs to choose from: the Certificate of Achievement in Computer Fashion Technology: Merchandising and the Certificate of Achievement in Fashion Merchandising. Some courses required for both certificate programs include introduction to fashion, Microsoft Excel, fashion buying/management, and computer publishing and portfolio. Associates degrees in the same fields of study are also available at this school.
Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College is located in a large city southeast of Los Angeles and has a student-to-teacher ratio of 43:1, according to the NCES. This school offers a Certificate of Achievement in Fashion Merchandising. Required courses for this program include buying and merchandising, display merchandising, promotion and coordination, and cooperative work. A total of 25-29 units is required to earn this certificate. Both A.A. and A.S degrees are also available in fashion merchandising as well, but require the completion of additional general education courses in the fields of sociology, psychology, and speech communications.
Santa Monica College
The small city of Santa Monica is home to Santa Monica College, which is situated only a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. Its Career Certificate in Fashion Merchandising requires the completion of 33 units selected from the associates program of the same name. The required courses making up these units include fashion 1: trends and designs, fashion 8: history of fashion, and fashion 9A: fashion illustration and merchandising. Additional coursework in pattern making, design, textiles, and fabric choice are also included in these programs. An annual fashion show to exhibit student work is held at this school, and students also have the opportunity to go on fashion field trips while enrolled in the fashion programs at SMC.
Santa Rosa Junior College
Santa Rosa Junior College offers a Certificate of Achievement in Interior Design: Retail Merchandising, a Certificate of Achievement in Retail Management, and an Associate of Art in Fashion Studies: Retail Merchandising. In each of these programs, students are required to complete courses in retail merchandising. Furthermore, visual merchandising, retail merchandising management, and introduction to solving business problems with spreadsheets are some of the classes students may take to complete these programs, though each course of study has its own industry-specific focus. The interior merchandising certificate is focused on preparation for careers in interior design or furniture retail; whereas, students hoping to gain more general business skills, may find the retail management program more fitting.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Merchandising Certificate Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|City College of San Francisco||2-year, public; large city|| Certificate of Achievement in Retail Management,
Certificate of Achievement in Fashion Merchandising
| $1,696 in-state,
|_Long Beach City College||2-year, public; large city||Certificate of Achievement in Fashion Merchandising|| $1,174 in-state,
|_Los Angeles Pierce College||2-year, public; large city||Certificate of Achievement in Retail Management|| $1,220 in-state,
|_Orange Coast College||2-year, public; mid-size city|| Certificate of Achievement in Fashion Merchandising,
Certificate of Achievement in Interior Merchandising
| $1,186 in-state,
|_Pasadena City College||2-year, public; mid-size city||Certificate of Achievement in Business Administration - Marketing/Merchandising|| $1,166 in-state,
|_Saddleback College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Certificate of Achievement in Fashion Merchandising,
Certificate of Achievement in Visual Merchandising,
Certificate of Achievement in Interiors Merchandising
| $1,328 in-state,
|_San Diego Mesa College||2-year, public; large city|| Certificate of Achievement in Computer Fashion Technology: Merchandising,
Certificate of Achievement in Fashion Merchandising
| $1,144 in-state,
|_Santa Ana College||2-year, public; large city||Certificate of Achievement in Fashion Merchandising|| $1,160 in-state,
|_Santa Monica College||2-year, public; small city||Career Certificate in Fashion Merchandising|| $1,142 in-state,
|_Santa Rosa Junior College||2-year, public; small city|| Certificate of Achievement in Interior Design: Retail Merchandising,
Certificate of Achievement in Retail Management
| $1,328 in-state,
Sources: *NCES College Navigator