2023 Best Online Retail Management Certificates

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A retail management certificate program helps prepare professionals for supervisory roles in the retail industry. This undergraduate program provides an overview of management styles and techniques as well as topics related to the operations of the retail trade.

Best Online Retail Management Certificates

You can learn about basic business and marketing principles and apply these skills to various retail management positions.

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You might consider earning this certificate if you want to add to your current qualifications and develop knowledge and skills essential to running a retail business.

Online Retail Management Certificate Programs

Woman taking Online Retail Management Certificate

Retail management certification programs can help prepare you for management positions in the retail industry. This undergraduate program focuses on the daily operations of a retail business from a managerial perspective.

If you’re interested in becoming a manager or supervisor in retail or want to learn how to run your own retail business, this certificate program could be useful to you. You can learn about the ins and outs of operating a retail business and develop business communication, team management, and marketing skills.

Retail management courses cover a wide range of topics relating to running a retail business, including:

  • Analyzing and interpreting financial information
  • Retail operations management strategies
  • Price planning and inventory control
  • Human resources responsibilities
  • Marketing fundamentals and brand management

The knowledge you learn in the program can be useful for several leadership positions found in the retail industry. Retail management positions typically require some experience in retail or management, and this type of certificate program can help increase your qualifications and marketability.

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Responsibilities of retail management positions can vary depending on the type of position and retail business. Most retail managers are responsible for training and hiring staff, forecasting sales and costs, merchandising, and overseeing staff and the daily operations of the business.

Retailing management positions that certificate holders may pursue include:

  • Retail sales manager
  • Retail sales worker supervisor
  • Product promoter
  • Merchandise displayer or window trimmer

The marketing and business skills you can develop in the program can help prepare you for brand management and product promotion positions. If you’re interested in designing and arranging window display layouts, you might consider a positions as a merchandise displayer or window trimmer.

Earning a retail management certificate can be a valuable qualification to add to your resume. It could be a strategic option if you want to have some postsecondary education under your belt before entering the retail industry. It can also serve as a good introduction to basic business and marketing fundamentals, which can be useful if you intend on pursuing an online associate’s in retail management degree or online business degree later on.

Retail Management Careers & Salaries

Retail Management Careers & Salaries

Retail management jobs can be found in many different retail settings, such as department stores, supermarkets, specialty stores, factory outlets, boutiques, shopping malls, and more.

Roles and responsibilities can vary depending on the type of retail space you want to enter, such as clothing, food and beverage, art, or electronics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the annual median salaries of careers related to retail trade.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers $98,560
Sales Managers — Retail Trade $82,530
Logisticians $77,520
Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives ­— Retail Trade $56,530
Buyer and Purchasing Agents — Retail Trade $49,650
First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers $45,250
Customer Service Representatives $37,780
Merchandise Displayers and Window Trimmers $35,380
Demonstrators and Product Promoters $34,770
Retail Salespersons $30,600

Some retail positions are attainable with a high school education, while others require some postsecondary education and experience working in retail. Although a retail management certificate is designed to prepare you for a management role in retail, it can also be useful for other positions.

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Since retail management courses cover business and marketing fundamentals, this knowledge can be applied to many other positions in retail or related industries.

Retail Certificate Curriculum & Courses

students taking Retail Management Certificates program

Retail management courses are designed to teach you about all aspects of running a retail business, from supply chain management and merchandising to accounting procedures, marketing, and leading a team. Here are some course examples:

  • Introduction to Retailing: This course provides an overview of the retail business, including general business operations, current and future trends, and challenges in the retail industry.
  • Introduction to Business: This course explores basic business fundamentals, including the roles of business, marketing practices, management operations, and business accounting and financial processes.
  • Retail Operations Management: This course explores retail operations management concepts and practices, with an emphasis on project management, inventory control, and loss prevention.
  • Supply Chain Management: This course examines management responsibilities associated with supply chain operations to help you gain an understanding of supply and demand, logistics, inventory control, and costs.
  • Merchandise Planning and Control: This course teaches you how to promote the sales of products and services through retail planning and marketing, brand management, inventory purchasing and control, and sales reporting.
  • Human Relations in Business: You can learn about leadership and communication techniques to motivate staff and address conflicts effectively.
  • Principles of Marketing: You can learn how to promote a business by examining key marketing principles and strategies, such as analyzing consumer behaviors, performing marketing research, brand promotion, and building customer relationships.
  • Human Resources for Supervisors: This course explores human resources responsibilities for managers, including recruiting, training, hiring staff, and addressing challenges in human resources.
  • Accounting for Managers: You can learn basic business math skills relating to payroll, buying and selling, financial systems, and interpreting financial information to make decisions.
  • Management and Leadership: This course explores management concepts and practices, such as business decision-making, planning, and controlling and leading a team.

These courses can be useful in developing leadership skills and retail management knowledge to effectively manage a business in the retail industry.

Admissions Requirements

Man preparing requirements for Retail Certificate program

Every college and university has its own admissions process, which typically includes the submission of an application and other materials.

These are some general admissions requirements for online retail management certificate programs:

  • High school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Official transcripts
  • Online application and fee
  • Personal statement

Some institutions require students to pay a fee to submit an application, but fees may be waived under certain circumstances.


University offering Retail Certificate program

Accreditation is a voluntary process that colleges and universities can choose to go through to establish credibility in their educational offerings. Regionally accredited institutions are recognized as meeting or exceeding national educational standards.

Accreditation is important not only for determining the quality of an institution and its programs but also for student and employment benefits. While nonaccredited colleges and universities may offer quality education, things like financial aid eligibility and employment opportunities can be impacted.

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The US Department of Education provides an overview of the accreditation process and a search tool to find accredited business schools offering programs in retail management or real estate degree online.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Retail Management Certificates Financial Aid

Government aid and scholarships can help you cut down the cost of tuition and other college expenses. State and federal aid is income-based government assistance.

A Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be submitted to determine your eligibility for federal aid. Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), or household income, is a key factor in determining federal aid eligibility.

Scholarships can be based on need as well as other factors. You can apply to as many scholarships as you qualify for. There are many different types of scholarships available that can depend on academic interests, academic or athletic performance, income, location, and more.

You can research different scholarships using various resources, such as your school counselor, the financial aid office of colleges, online databases, and libraries.

What Can You Do with a Retail Management Certificate?

Supervisor of retail workers checking updates on his tablet

Many students seek a retail management certificate in order to pursue work as a manager or supervisor in the retail industry.

There are several roles that the certificate can be applied to, such as:

  • Supervisor of retail workers
  • Retail sales manager
  • Product promoter
  • Merchandise displayer

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, taking courses in business, management, accounting, and marketing can be useful for obtaining a retail sales manager position.

Some general managerial responsibilities in retail can include resolving staff and customer disputes and developing pricing plans and brand promotion strategies. Retail managers may also prepare budgets, plan commercial displays, and carry out daily business operations.

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

Woman taking Retail Management Certificate online

Many retail management training programs require up to 24 credit hours to complete. Colleges and universities may offer different semester schedules that can affect how long it takes to complete the program. Most retail management certificates can be earned in 1 year or less.

If you’re enrolled full-time and take courses during the summer, you can typically finish in less time. Some institutions offer accelerated tracks that take less than 6 months to complete. Part-time enrollment can add on more time.

Is a Certificate in Retail Management Worth It?

Sales Manager & Merchandise displayer, discussing

Yes, a certificate in retail management is worth it for many students. A retail management training program can help you gain leadership skills that are essential to managing a retail business.

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Coursework in business, marketing, accounting, and human resources can provide you with the specialized knowledge to carry out a variety of management roles and responsibilities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sales manager positions are projected to see 5% job growth over the next ten years, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Universities Offering Online Certificates in Retail Management 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.

Central New Mexico Community College

Central New Mexico Community College campus

Central New Mexico Community College offers a Retail Management Certificate. The program offers the choice between accelerated, 7 week classes with minimal deadlines or 12 week classes with more structure. Potential courses in the curriculum include Business English, Fundamentals of Information Literacy and Systems, Business Professionalism, and Principles of Marketing.

Central New Mexico Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

El Camino College

El Camino College campus

El Camino College offers a Retail Management Certificate that is endorsed by the Western Association of Food Chains. The certificate is available online and can typically be completed in less than 1 year. The program is designed for those who work in retail and want to prepare for management positions.

El Camino College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

Fresno City College

Fresno City College campus

Fresno City College offers a Retail Management Certificate program. Courses are available during the daytime, evenings, and online. Potential courses in the curriculum include Human Relations, Computer Applications for Managers, and Human Resource Management. Credits may be counted toward an AS degree in Retail Management.

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

University of Arizona

University of Arizona campus

The University of Arizona offers an online Undergraduate Certificate in Foundations of Retail Management. The program requires the completion of 12 credits of coursework that is designed to develop critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. Potential courses include Introduction to Retailing, Merchandise Planning and Control, Retail Operations Management, and Supply Chain Management.

The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Houston – Downtown

University of Houston Downtown campus

A Retail Management Certificate can be earned at the University of Houston – Downtown. The program is conducted in 12 sessions, with each session consisting of a 75-minute webinar and various reading materials and activities. At the end of the program, a competency exam must be passed to earn the certificate.

The University of Houston-Downtown is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Getting Your Retail Management Certificate Online

student getting Retail Management Certificate online

A retail management certificate can teach you skills that are essential to running a retail business. This undergraduate certificate can be beneficial for professionals who are already in the retail trade and want to add to their qualifications. It can also be a strategic program for those who are new to the industry.

The certificate program examines several topics relating to the daily operations of a retail business, including supply chain management, merchandising, accounting, and planning.

If you’re ready to earn your retail management certificate online, you can take the first steps by researching retail marketing and management certificate programs from accredited schools.

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Amy holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Old Dominion University, with a minor in English. She previously worked as an educator before starting her career as a writer. Amy spends much of her time researching and writing, with the goal of sharing valuable information with readers.