2023 Best Online Retail Management Degrees [Program Guide]

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A retail management degree can help you develop business, analytical, marketing, and communication skills.

Best Online Retail Management Degrees

If you follow this academic pathway, these versatile skill sets may lead to a variety of career paths.

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A bachelors in retail management combines business and management training, with a focus on the retail industry, and will qualify graduates for positions with above average salaries and positive job outlooks.

Online Retail Management Degrees

If you have a busy schedule, or you feel like going the traditional route for school is not for you, then you might consider earning your retail and sales management degree online. Many schools offer online business degree programs as a flexible alternative for non-traditional students.

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As a retail management major, you can expect to study in-depth coursework that can help prepare you for the day-to-day life in retail business management. Topics commonly covered include:

  • Marketing communications. You can study marketing promotions, public relations, social media, and digital marketing. You can also study theories behind different marketing methods.
  • Consumer behavior. This topic explores how marketing and scientific research come together to understand the psychological processes in consumer behavior.
  • Strategic market pricing. A vast array of factors go into pricing decisions. Pricing cost analysis and profit margins are focuses of this subject.
  • Business logistics management. This topic deals with strategic and tactical elements of a supply chain. It explores the planning, controlling, implementing, and transportation of goods and services.

The courses studied in an online retail and sales management degree can help prepare you for the everyday life in retail merchandising and retail and sales management. With a degree in retail management, you have the opportunity to prepare for a variety of different roles. For example, some retail and sales management professionals work as retail purchasers, market research analysts, brand managers, and management analysts.

Retail Management Careers & Salaries

Retail Management Careers & Salaries

A degree in retail management could open doors in many different industries. Clothing stores, restaurants, auto retailers, hotels, pharmacies, and department stores are only a few examples of industries in which this degree could be useful.

Each retail industry offers its own, unique version of workers needed, from marketing, operations, and district managers to data and management analysts. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs related to retail and sales management tend to offer above average pay.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Marketing Managers $135,030
Sales Managers $127,490
Purchasing Managers $127,150
Human Resources Managers $126,230
General and Operations Managers $97,970
Management Analysts $93,000
Logisticians $77,030
Business Operations Specialists $74,670
Market Research Analysts
Buyers and Purchasing Agents $63,470

Completing a bachelor’s degree in retail management may qualify you to pursue career paths in one of these rewarding fields. A degree never guarantees a specific career, though. Partnering with a headhunter could help you find your niche once you have your retail degree. They could be helpful in matching your skill set and talents to a position in the retail and sales management world.

Retail Management Bachelor’s Curriculum & Courses

Retail Management Bachelor’s

A degree in retail management can help you develop a comprehensive business background. The coursework will vary among programs, but here are some common classes you may take while pursuing your bachelor’s degree:

  • Accounting: This course provides an understanding of accounting concepts and principles.
  • Principles of Marketing: This course dives into marketing principles and concepts. You will likely study marketing trends and learn how to develop marketing strategies.
  • Business Ethics: You’ll analyze ethical business principles in light of problems that businesses have faced and potentially may face.
  • Principles of Finance: This course provides an introduction to the field of finance and what makes up our financial market. Concepts and tools are presented to improve the student’s knowledge.
  • Principles of Economics: This course focuses on basic economic principles and analyzes fundamental economic activities.
  • Communications: Various pathways are available for this course, but it will mainly cover theories, practices, and fundamental questions about communication.
  • Retail Management: This course provides an in-depth study of retail and sales management for in-store, online, and other methods of retailing.
  • Principles of Macroeconomics: This course covers the study of economic growth, unemployment, business cycles, and other essential economics topics.
  • Principles of Microeconomics: You’ll study the price system, consumer theory, and market structures.
  • Business Law and Ethics: You’ll examine law and ethics on all aspects of business ownership and management.

The courses above are only some of the courses that you may take on your quest for a degree in retail management. Your program’s curriculum can help equip you with essential tools for a potential career in retail and sales management.

How to Choose an Online Retail Management Degree Program

Retail Management Degree

With all the program options available today, you may be finding it difficult to narrow down your choices. Here are several factors that you can consider when choosing an online retail management program:

  • Does this program offer the flexibility that I need? If you work full-time and would like to study full-time, you may want to verify that the program you’re considering allows you to study at your own pace. If you want to graduate quickly, you can opt for an accelerated program. A cohort-based program follows the same schedule from beginning to end and does not offer as much flexibility.
  • Does this program align with my financial goals? It can be beneficial to consider how you will be paying for the program. Is it possible for you to pay all the tuition out of pocket? Does the program offer any payment plans? Or, if you are choosing to secure student loans, will they be within your payment range when you need to make payments?
  • Does this program have credibility? Regional accreditation is a mark of a credible school. Before committing to a program, you can do some online research and also ask trusted mentors and friends about your program of choice. It can be helpful to get a second opinion and learn more about a program before committing to it.

It is strategic to carefully consider which program you would like to attend since you will be investing not only your finances but also your time.

Admissions Requirements

Retail Management admissions

Part of the application process is making sure you meet all the admissions requirements. Sometimes that can seem like a daunting task, but you can just take it step by step. Let’s look at some common requirements for enrolling in a bachelors program:

  • Completed application or enrollment agreement
  • High school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Official copies of transcripts from all other colleges ever attended
  • SAT or ACT scores, if required

Each school has its own specifications, but most of the information is easily and readily available on a school’s website.


Retail Management accreditation

When choosing your school and program, it’s beneficial to check whether or not the school you are interested in is regionally accredited.

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Regional accreditation means that it meets high quality educational standards. If a school is not accredited, then it is not recognized by the US Department of Education and cannot receive federal financial aid. You can visit the website for the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to check whether or not a school is regionally accredited.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Retail Management financial aid

Not everyone is able to pay for a college education out of pocket. Thankfully, there are several financial aid options available to students who qualify.

Most schools offer scholarships or grants and have a department that oversees financial aid. Many times, with the submission of some paperwork, letters of recommendation, and an essay, you can apply for need-based or merit-based scholarships.

Loans are also available to help you cover your education’s up-front costs. Some student loans only require payments to be made after you graduate. There are several loan and payment plan options available, depending on your eligibility. You can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if you qualify for federal aid and state aid.

Retail Management Professional Organizations

Retail Management Professional Organizations

Joining a retail management professional organization is one way that you could stay up to par on current events and occurrences in the retail industry. Being a part of an organization allows you to continue gaining knowledge about the latest management occupations practices regionally, nationally, and even internationally.

Here are some professional organizations for retail management professionals:

These organizations offer opportunities for retail management majors to further their understanding of the retail industry and create long-lasting connections.

What Is Retail Management?

Retail Management

Retail management is the process of managing, monitoring, and assisting retail organizations. This can include ensuring the effectiveness of elements involved in making retail sales, serving customers, and making sure there is a positive and appealing shopping experience.

The classes you’ll take in a bachelors degree program in retail management can help you develop skills in business, marketing, and design. You may utilize your skills to achieve excellent displays, for merchandising purposes, or for other business needs.

After studying finance and business management principles, you may feel empowered to mitigate loss and maximize outcomes for your career of choice. There are many different positions and responsibilities within the sector of retail management. Which roles you can qualify for may depend on your experience and specialization.

Is Retail Management a Good Career?

Retail Management career

Yes, retail management is a good career for many professionals. There are a variety of career paths within the field of retail management. Some professionals go on to become store managers, district managers, marketing managers, and even purchasing managers.

The business skills you learn can also help you qualify for roles outside of the retail sector. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for business and financial occupations is $76,570, which is well above the national average. In comparison, the median salary for management positions is $102,450.

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Some roles may require additional education such as a master’s or MBA degree. If you’re looking for the cheapest online MBA, a growing number of schools offer affordable tuition and even no interest payment plans. Achieving a degree in retail management could help you qualify for opportunities in this field and give you a chance to stand out against other applicants when applying for a position.

What Degree Do You Need to Be a Retail Manager?

Although employers don’t always require retail managers to have a degree, holding a degree in retail management can help you stand out from the masses. Recruiters or employers often see the value in a candidate who is equipped with applicable training.

In a retail management program, you can develop specialized skills and knowledge that are beneficial for the retail field. Learning management methods and retail strategies, in particular, can help prepare you for a leadership position in the retail sector.

What Can You Do with a Degree in Retail Management?

Degree in Retail Management

Retail management is a very broad field. Studying management in retail settings can encompass marketing, merchandising, business, management, and logistics. What positions you can qualify for will often depend on the pathway you choose within retail management.

Some graduates go on to become assistant managers, market research analysts, and management analysts. Leadership positions in this field include purchasing managers, marketing managers, and district and sales managers.

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

Retail Management Online

A typical bachelors degree in retail management consists of 120 credit hours. If you follow a traditional, 16 week semester with a full-time course load, then you can typically complete your degree in 4 years.

If you wish to expedite the process and follow an 8 week semester while taking fall, winter, spring, and summer semesters, you could possibly complete your bachelor’s in less time. How long it takes for you to finish your degree will often depend on your chosen school, available pathways, and your preferred course load.

What’s the Difference Between Sales Management vs. Retail Management?

While researching information on retail management, you may have run across the term “sales management” and wondered what the difference was. Below is a short comparison to show some of the differences between the two.

Sales Management Retail Management
  • Deals with sales team management
  • Involves performance tracking and forecasting
  • Covers target evaluation
  • Deals with brand management
  • Involves the formulation of retail strategy
  • Covers merchandising

Some areas of sales management and retail management overlap and are very similar. The above chart shows some of the more specific specialty areas they each cover.

Is It Worth It to Get a Retail Management Degree?

Sales Management vs. Retail Management

Yes, it is worth it to get a retail management degree for many students. The need for sales managers with retail management expertise has seen exponential growth over the years. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that employment of sales managers is projected to grow 7% over the next ten years.

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In fact, business and financial occupations overall are expected to see 8% job growth over the same period. The coursework in a bachelor’s degree program for retail and sales management can help you develop versatile skills that are also applicable in business settings beyond retail.

Universities Offering Online Bachelors 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 Bachelor of Arts in Retail Management program. Students must complete 120 credit hours to graduate. Classes start every month and are 8 to 16 weeks long. Applicants must have a high school diploma or an equivalent certificate. Applications may be submitted online.

American Public University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University campus

Arizona State University offers an online program for a Bachelor of Arts in Business – Retail Management. Students must complete 120 credit hours to graduate. Classes are 7.5 weeks long. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a GPA of 3.0, be in the top 25% of their graduating class, or have appropriate ACT or SAT scores.

Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Central Washington University

Central Washington University campus

Central Washington University offers a Bachelor of Science in Retail Management and Technology Specialization. Classes may be taken online or through a flex program. Those interested in the program must submit an online application along with copies of their official transcripts and have a GPA of 2.0 or higher.

Central Washington University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University campus

Florida Atlantic University offers an online program for a Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing. To graduate, students must complete 120 credit hours. The major may be declared after the student has completed 60 credit hours and achieved a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

FAU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Lamar University

Lamar University campus

Lamar University offers a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising. The program includes classes in retail and sales management. Certain courses may be completed online. Those interested in the program may submit an online application through the ApplyTexas app. Applicants who are in the lower 50% of their graduating class must submit ACT or SAT scores with their applications.

Lamar University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Liberty University

Liberty University campus

Liberty University offers an online program for a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration—Marketing: Sales Management and Professional Selling. Each course in the program is just 8 weeks long. Students take on average 3.5 years to finish the program. The program’s faculty members have real-world business experience and incorporate Christian principles into the curriculum.

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Oregon State University

Oregon State University campus

Oregon State University offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Retail Management. A total of 180 credit hours are needed to graduate. Applicants may submit an online application with their class rank taken into account. Standardized test scores are optional but encouraged by the program’s admissions department.

Oregon State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Strayer University

Strayer University campus1

Strayer University offers a Bachelor of Business Administration in Retail Management. Retail management majors must complete 40 online courses to graduate. Classes are 11 weeks long. Applicants must submit an online application along with official transcripts, proof of a high school diploma or the equivalent, and copies of government-issued photo ID.

Strayer University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of Arizona

University of Arizona campus

The University of Arizona offers a Bachelor of Science in Retailing and Consumer Science. To graduate, students must complete 122 credit hours. Those interested in the program must submit an online application along with copies of their official transcripts and self-reported grades. ACT or SAT scores and admissions essays are not required but may be submitted for consideration.

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

University of Houston

University of Houston campus

The University of Houston offers a Bachelor of Science in Retailing and Consumer Science. The program offers specializations in Technology Entrepreneurship, e-Tailing, and Training and Development.

Students in the program are required to complete an internship or employee placement. Applicants may submit an application online through ApplyTexas or CommonApp. GPA requirements vary depending on if standardized test scores are submitted.

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

Getting Your Retail Management Degree Online

Retail Management Degree Online

There are so many possibilities nowadays for getting a degree in retail management. For instance, a growing number of accredited schools are offering bachelors degree in retail management online programs. You can even start with an online associate’s in retail management degree to better prepare you for your bachelor’s.

Online programs are known for their flexibility and convenience. Enrolling as either a full-time or part-time student can often help you maintain your current work or life responsibilities.

If you want to learn more about what a degree in this field has to offer, you can start exploring online programs in retail and sales management from accredited universities today!

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Rebecca has a bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing from Liberty University. Rebecca’s research is targeted to non-traditional student options, career plans, and leadership.