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Merchandising Management Bachelor's Degree

Read about the careers that a merchandising management bachelor's degree program could prepare you for, and find out what you'd learn as a student. Get info on online degree programs in this field. Check the employment outlook and salary potential for several positions in the merchandising management field, and learn about voluntary certification options.

Why Should I Pursue a Merchandising Management Bachelor's Degree?

A bachelor's degree in merchandising management can prepare you to oversee the procurement or distribution of goods in retail, wholesale or manufacturing settings. In such a program, you are schooled in the relationships between merchandising, product design, performance and consumer demand. You also learn how to implement merchandising and marketing strategies on an executive level.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that you will likely qualify for employment in the merchandising field with a bachelor's degree, although further education may be required based on the size of the hiring organization (www.bls.gov). You may begin your career as a junior or assistant buyer, trainee or purchasing clerk. With experience, you may become an assistant purchasing or merchandising manager and then a full-fledged manager.

Programs Merchandising and product development, merchandise management, management with an emphasis on product merchandising
Online Degrees Bachelor's degree programs available online
Common Courses Buying and product management, advertising, macroeconomics, qualitative merchandising, social psychology
Career Options Junior buyer, purchasing agent, purchasing manager
Certifications Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM), Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP), Certified Professional Purchasing Manager (CPPM)
Median Salary (2020)$125,940 (for purchasing managers)
Job Outlook (2019-2029)3% growth (for purchasing managers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Can I Expect in the Program?

Normally it takes four years to finish an undergraduate merchandising management program consisting of about 120 credits. Completion can lead to a Bachelor of Science in an area such as merchandise management, merchandising and product development or management with an emphasis on product merchandising.

In addition to general education requirements, typical courses you might encounter include buying and product management, planning and merchandising, retail buying, advertising principles, qualitative merchandising, macroeconomics and social psychology. You may have the opportunity to focus your training on a specific area or niche, such as fashion and textiles, furniture, jewelry or sporting goods. Often you'll have the opportunity to complete an internship or cooperative work-study course at a school-partnered firm.

What Are Some Online Program Options?

You may have the opportunity to fulfill all degree requirements online. Courses are generally delivered asynchronously, which allows you to access the material at your convenience. You communicate with instructors and submit assignments by way of a course management system, such as M.U.S.E. or Blackboard.

What are the Employment and Wage Projections?

The BLS projected that employment opportunities for purchasing managers are expected to grow 3% from 2019 to 2029. This is due to increased automation and outsourcing of some procurement tasks. In 2020, the BLS found that the median annual wage for purchasing managers was $125,940.

The BLS also noted that your chances for advancement to a management position may be helped if you become certified. Certification, while voluntary, attests to your professionalism, quality of training and recognition by a professional organization.

With a bachelor's degree and three years management experience, you may qualify to sit for the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) exam, administered by the Institute for Supply Management. A bachelor's degree and two years of experience can qualify you to sit for the Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) exam and then the Certified Professional Purchasing Manager (CPPM) exam, administered by the American Purchasing Society.