2022 Best Online Associate’s in Retail Management Degrees

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A retail management associate degree program provides an in-depth look into the world of retail businesses and how they operate. It can also help you develop valuable skills that can be used in a variety of careers.

Best Online Associate's in Retail Management Degrees

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Whether you aspire to work on the floor of a retail establishment or behind the scenes within the corporate structure, earning an associate in retail management degree online can lead to many career opportunities.

Online Retail Management Associate Degrees

An associate in retail degree program can give you exposure to some of the inner workings of retail businesses. You can learn what goes on behind the scenes, from filling the shelves to the strategy behind selling products.

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Every shop that you see on the streets and online offers a carefully curated selection of products. Each sale opens the potential to create a meaningful connection with a life-long customer. Retail management teaches you how to select the right products, promote sales, and manage employees. You’ll also learn how to keep records of all transactions with buyers and sellers alike.

Some of the key skills learned in an online retail management associate degree program include:

  • Accounting
  • Communication
  • Retail record keeping
  • Supply chain management
  • Marketing

Developing skills for retail management can lead directly to a career in the retail industry, or you can build upon them with further study in business, communication, or marketing. This degree is truly flexible and can provide you with in-demand skills that are applicable to careers in a variety of areas.

Some graduates go on to work as managers in fashion retail, while others seek district manager positions for local brick-and-mortar chains of shops. You can even consider opening your own online business with the skills you learn in this degree.

Retail Business Management Careers & Salaries

Retail Business Management Careers & Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are some careers that retail management graduates might pursue.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Purchasing Managers $125,940
Sales Managers — Retail Trade $92,950
Buyers and Purchasing Agents $66,690
Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives $65,420
Human Resources Assistants $43,250
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks $42,410
First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers $41,580
Customer Service Representatives $35,830
Merchandise Displayers and Window Trimmers $30,810
Retail Sales Workers $27,320

Various programs for online associate’s degrees in retail management will offer different areas of focus, which can help you determine which aspects of retail management interest you most. Some roles may require additional education or on-the-job training. Management positions in particular often require previous work experience.

Retail Management Associate’s Curriculum & Courses

Retail Management Associate’s

The topics you can study in an online retail management associate’s degree program will vary. They’ll typically concentrate on topics that help you build interpersonal connections as well as finance and accounting skills.

Here is just a sample of the types of courses you may encounter in your associate in retail degree:

  • Human Relations in Retail: This course can prepare you to solve problems with customers and employees alike.
  • Retail Computer Applications: This course will teach you how to operate many common sales and inventory programs in the retail world.
  • Merchandising: In this course, you’ll learn how to select products with an eye on profit, and you’ll learn how your sales techniques can increase your return on investment (ROI).
  • Critical Communication: Your role in retail will require many quick decisions and urgent communication with others, which are skills highlighted in this course.
  • Social Business: In this course, you explore why customers act the way they do, and you learn how to use that to your advantage.
  • Retail Management: This course will introduce you to all of the roles and activities of the retail world.
  • Principles of Retail Marketing: How you market a blsproduct will determine how well it sells, as you will learn in this course.
  • Human Resources Management: This course will help you learn how to work with a team of individuals, including how to make and reinforce employee policies.
  • Business Finance: The retail industry involves significant amounts of money changing hands, and this course will teach you how those numbers keep your retail business open.
  • Accounting: In this course, you’ll learn how to manage income and expenses, including keeping the lights on and the employees paid.

You may notice that many of these skills are used in a variety of settings. In your retail management associates degree program, you can develop versatile, in-demand skills that will accompany you further in your professional or academic career.

Admissions Requirements

Retail Management Degrees Admissions

Different schools can have different requirements for admissions. It’s beneficial to thoroughly read each school’s admissions guide, though you’re commonly asked to submit the following:

  • ACT or SAT scores. Only some schools require the submission of standardized test scores.
  • High school diploma or equivalent. Your diploma or GED equivalent will demonstrate that you’ve completed a high school level education.
  • Transcripts for previous college work. This is only required if you plan to transfer credits from another degree program or prior college-level courses.
  • Letter of intent. You may be asked to compose a short essay explaining why you wish to pursue a retail management degree and what you hope to accomplish.

You might also be asked to provide letters of recommendation from teachers or employers, along with a high school transcript. An application fee may be requested as well.

Accreditation

Retail Management Degrees accreditation

There are many benefits to selecting an associate’s degree in retail management from an accredited higher learning institution.

Schools that are accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) are held to a higher educational standard. Students who receive their degree from an accredited program may be able to more easily transfer their credits to a bachelors program down the road.

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Employers frequently check on whether a prospective employee received their degree from an accredited institution as well. You may also be eligible to participate in professional groups or organizations in conjunction with your accredited degree.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Retail Management Degrees financial aid

It’s beneficial to read all of the admissions information about each school you plan to apply to before you submit your applications. You can learn important information about the cost of each term and any fees associated with enrollment.

If you are interested in available options for financial assistance, you can check out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is available to all students, free of charge, and it can determine your eligibility for federal aid and other forms of need-based aid.

The school you choose may also offer grants or financial aid for students based on merit, the program you choose, or your financial situation. You can find more details in your school’s admissions information.

What Is Retail Management?

Retail Management Degrees

Retail management is a challenging but rewarding field in which you’ll be able to exercise your communication and organizational skills.

Professionals in this sector can be presented with a range of responsibilities and decisions, from staffing a shop to sourcing and selecting inventory. They could be in charge of keeping detailed financial records as well. Common management positions for a retail-based corporation include store department manager, purchasing manager, merchandising manager, and human resources manager.

What Qualifications Do I Need for Retail Management?

The qualifications for retail management generally include being able to wear many hats at once. You’ll likely be asked to perform a variety of tasks that relate to:

  • Customer relations, including taking feedback and complaints
  • Merchandising, such as floor setting and promotional events
  • Purchasing and selecting supply chain sources
  • Marketing campaigns and sales
  • Detailed record keeping and accounting

You may also be asked to provide top-notch customer service and demonstrate leadership skills in a variety of situations.

What Can You Do with an Associate’s Degree in Retail Management?

Associate’s Degree in Retail Management

The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that retail is a stable field with steady job growth and many openings throughout the sector.

We are seeing a shift in the retail industry as a whole, though, with a significant shift from brick-and-mortar retailers to online commerce. Luckily, retail managers have skills—including those of accounting and marketing—that can translate well into e-commerce.

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Larger establishments often have corporate headquarters, where professionals with experience in human resources, purchasing, and supply chain are needed. In addition, skills learned in a retail management associate program, such as communication, can also be applicable in human resources or sales team positions in retail businesses.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Retail Management Associate Degree Online?

Retail Management Associate Degree

While different schools may require a different number of credit hours, full-time enrollment with traditional 16 week semesters generally allows you to complete an associate degree in 2 years.

If your program offers 8 week terms, you could potentially finish your program in less time, provided you stay continuously enrolled year-round. You can find more information about your school’s specific requirements for full-time versus part-time enrollment by checking their website for their posted online program details.

What’s the Difference Between an Associate vs. Certificate in Retail Management?

Generally speaking, an associate degree requires more in-depth coursework than a certificate. That also means an associates can require more time and credit hours to complete.

Associate in Retail Management Certificate in Retail Management
  • Requires 60 credit hours or more
  • Consists of concentrated coursework
  • Offers electives in communication or business writing
  • Includes final project, test, or demonstration of learned skills
  • Requires 15 to 50 credit hours
  • Covers training topics
  • Focuses on one skill
  • May not require a final exam

Some schools offer both an associate degree and certificate path, so you may want to take the opportunity to weigh your options.

Is an Associate in Retail Management Worth It?

Associate in Retail Management

Yes, an associate in retail management is worth it for many students. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, retail is one sector that should experience stability over the next ten years.

Commerce is part of life, as many people go to retail shops to purchase nearly all of the things they use every day. From the materials that make your home to the device you’re using to read this article, the retail industry can offer food, shelter, clothing, and more.

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With your associate degree in retail management, you may pursue a career in supply management, store management, or marketing. Each option can lead to various opportunities in retail stores, e-commerce businesses, corporate level business administration, or advertising and marketing firms.

Universities Offering Online Associates in Retail Management Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

American Public University

American Public University campus

American Public University offers an online Associate of Arts in Retail Management. Students must complete 60 credit hours to graduate. Though the program can potentially be completed in 2 years, students have up to 7 years to obtain all their credits. Applicants must submit an online application along with proof of having a high school diploma or the equivalent.

APUS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Blue Ridge Community College

Blue Ridge Community College campus

Blue Ridge Community College offers an online Associate in Applied Science in Business Administration: Marketing Pathways. To graduate, students must complete 70 credit hours. Additional classes in English and Math may be required based on GPA or placement test scores. The school offers an open-door policy for applicants.

Blue Ridge Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Coastline College

Coastline College campus

Coastline College offers an Associate of Arts in Retail Management. Students need a total of 60 credit hours with a GPA of 2.0 or higher to graduate. At least 12 credits must be taken on campus. Applicants must submit an online application through the school’s website.

Coastline College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

DeVry University

Devry University campus

DeVry University offers an Associate in Business. Classes can be taken online or through a hybrid program. To graduate, students must complete 61 credit hours. Those interested in the program must submit an online application along with copies of their high school transcripts.

DeVry University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Mesa Community College

Mesa Community College campus

Mesa Community College offers an online Associate in Applied Science in Retail Management. Students must complete a minimum of 61 credit hours with a grade of C or higher in all classes to graduate. Applicants must complete placement tests or provide ACT or SAT test scores when applying to the school.

Mesa Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Minnesota State College Southeast

Minnesota State College Southeast campus

Minnesota State College Southeast offers an Associate of Applied Science in Retail Management. Students must complete 60 credit hours to graduate. Those interested in the program may submit an online application through the school’s website along with copies of their official high school transcripts and immunization forms.

Minnesota State College Southeast is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Northwest Arkansas Community College

Northwest Arkansas Community College campus

Northwest Arkansas Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Business Management with an emphasis in Retail Management. Students must complete 60 credit hours to graduate. Applicants must submit ACR, Accuplacer, or COMPASS test scores and all previous transcripts when applying.

NWACC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Rio Salado College

Rio Salado College campus

Rio Salado College offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Retail Management. Students must complete 63 credit hours to graduate. Students may complete courses part-time or full-time. To be eligible for the program, applicants must submit an application online or in-person along with copies of their official transcripts.

Rio Salado College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tyler Junior College

Tyler Junior College campus

Tyler Junior College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Business Management. Students must complete 60 credit hours to graduate. Those interested in the program must submit an application online along with TSI test scores and either their official high school transcripts or GED scores.

Tyler Junior College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Washtenaw Community College

Washtenaw Community College campus

Washtenaw Community College offers an Associate in Applied Science. To graduate, students must complete 60 credit hours either online or in-person. The program is designed for students interested in transferring to a 4 year degree program. Applicants may apply online with copies of their high school transcripts.

Washtenaw Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Retail Management Associate Degree Online

Retail Management Associate Degree Online

Retail management is a fast-paced world where many decisions can be made all at once. Communication skills are used every day when discussing products or receiving feedback from customers. There are many possibilities to what an associate in retail management can help you achieve. For instance, some graduates go on to work in the human resources, accounting, or marketing aspects of retail.

You can choose to receive high-quality in-person or online training through accredited schools. Online business degree programming is known for its convenience and flexibility, allowing students to better manage their various responsibilities.

If you wish to develop versatile retail skills, you may want to start by exploring available online retail management associate degree programs.

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Jason Collins
WRITTEN BY
Jason Collins
Jason has a bachelor in English Literature from Loyola Marymount University with a minor in history. A life-long learner with a love of science, philosophy, and history, he works in career enrichment, professional development, and improved business practices.