Is a Retail Management Degree for You?

Most retail management bachelor's degrees are associated with positions in general retail management, sales management and merchandising. In a retail management bachelor's degree program, students will learn how to create an effective store layout, train and manage employees, maintain inventory, direct marketing efforts and provide overall leadership in all related retail areas. The skills obtained in a retail management degree program will help you foster a successful retail environment, whether the goods and services are available at a small shop, a large department store or an online boutique.

Advice for Earning Your Retail Management Degree Online

Students with retail management degrees need to possess the ability to work in fast-paced, constantly changing environments. Additionally, they must be comfortable leading others to success within a company. Retail management positions do not typically require advanced accreditation past a bachelor's degree, and firsthand experience is usually highly valued. Many retail management degree programs have students participate in mock management exercises, and it's common for certain programs to require an internship position in the retail industry.

Required Courses

Some classes within the retail management bachelor's degree program may include sales strategies, merchandising, pricing analysis, marketing, consumer behavior, inventory management and basic statistics. Students within a retail management program should expect to do extensive collaborative work with groups of peers. Oral presentations and written examinations are also common activities within a retail management degree program.

Common Career Paths

Retail managers are in charge of the daily operations of a store. Regardless of where they work and what their store sells, the retail manager plays a vital role in ensuring that the establishment makes a profit and is well organized. This includes working on displays and visual presentations of the merchandise to make it look more appealing, building and overseeing an effective sales team, dealing with customer service and, most important, being an effective leader. Here are some common career paths for those with a retail management degree:

  • Store Manager

    A store manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations in an individual store. They work toward meeting particular sales goals and maximizing the customer's experience by hiring staff members who know how to provide excellent customer service. Store managers are also responsible for keeping track of inventory, revenue and profits. Retail store managers' median annual salary was $40,825 as of July 2012, according to

  • District Manager

    Generally, district managers are hired by retail chain stores to work as a liaison between individual stores and headquarters. A district manager is typically responsible for the hiring, firing and training of store managers. In addition, district managers are in charge of the payroll within their district, developing long-term and short-term goals for their stores, and coming up with effective solutions to generate maximum revenue and profit. With that said, district manager positions are generally awarded to those who possess an advanced degree such as a master's in business administration or management. These positions can also be awarded to those who have both a bachelor's degree and extensive experience working as a store manager. Salary will heavily depend on the specific industry you work for and where you live. The median annual salary of a district manager was $65,865 as of July 2012, according to

  • Buyer

    A buyer, as the name suggests, is responsible for purchasing the merchandise sold in a store. Typically, items are purchased from a wholesaler, trade show or directly from the manufacturer. It is imperative that buyers consider the interests of their customer base, including their style, expectation of quality and price range. A buyer must also review hard facts and statistics regarding trends and consumer behavior when deciding which items will make the most profit. Becoming a buyer will usually require significant experience in a major retail store. The median annual salary for wholesale and retail buyers was $50,490 in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 


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