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Retail Management Associate Degree Program

Associate degree programs in retail management can prepare you for a career as a small business owner, retail buyer or sales manager. Learn about what topics will be covered in a degree program, where you can work after graduation and what the career outlook is.

What Will I Learn in a Retail Management Associate Degree Program?

In a retail management degree program, you will study concepts related to inventory and merchandise for a retail store environment. Classes may include intro to retailing, sales, personnel management and retail buying. Accounting, business and communications courses may also be a part of the curriculum.

While you are earning your degree, you take a close look at advertising strategies, marketing methods, inventory pricing and the display of merchandise. You learn how to choose and price inventory based on market demands, as well as how to manage the logistics of shipping, handling, stocking and receiving. Some degree programs may also require that you complete an internship in a retail setting before the program is completed.

Common Courses Sales, personnel management, accounting, communications, marketing methods
Possible Careers Sales manager, retail buyer, purchasing agent, purchasing manager
Median Salary (2018)$124,250 (sales managers); $62,750 (retail buyers/purchasing agents);$118,940 (purchasing managers)
Career Outlook (2016-2026) 3% decline (retail buyers and purchasing agents); 7% growth (sales managers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Where Can I Work?

Those who graduate from a retail management associate degree program may work for a retail chain or boutique. Others may choose to open their own shop or work a career behind the scenes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as of May 2018, the median annual income for potential careers is:

  • Sales Manager: $124,250
  • Retail Buyer/Purchasing Agent: $62,750
  • Purchasing Manager: $118,940

What's My Job Outlook?

The BLS projected that the demand for purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents decline 2% from 2016 to 2026. The best retail management positions usually go to those with the most education, training and experience. The employment of sales managers, on the other hand, is expected to grow 7% in the coming years as a result of high competition for open positions.