Were you the kid in fourth grade who was making money at your lemonade stand and had your best friend running it on commission while you scouted a second location? You could translate that early skill set into a future in retail management, where you can innovate to minimize costs and maximize profits.
Here's a career that could pay you for going to the mall. Bachelor's degrees in retail management help prepare you for leadership roles in department stores, warehouse giants, discount stores, supermarkets, small businesses, specialty stores, online stores and even malls.
Earning bachelor's degrees in retail management
Core requirements for bachelor's degrees in retail management may include these:
- Business communications
- Human resources
- Merchandising operations
- Organizational behavior and management ethics
- Principles and theory of management
- Retail strategy and innovation
Foundation courses could cover psychology, inventory control, public relations, brand strategies, sales promotions, market research and media planning. Marketing studies explore web, direct and international marketing as well as social media strategies.
Some retail management programs offer concentrations like fashion merchandising, retail operations or small business. Internships can help you see how what you learn in class applies to the real world. General education requirements such as English, mathematics and social sciences can provide building blocks for financial, marketing and interpersonal skills.
Retail management career options, outlook and salaries
Retail managers may oversee an entire business or specialized departments within larger organizations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides salary data for the related occupation of sales managers, who earned median annual wages of $98,530 for 2010. Between 2010 and 2020, the BLS projects average job growth of 12 percent for these professionals. Sales managers typically need 1-5 years of work experience in addition to a four-year degree.
Master's degrees in retail management or in business administration with a retailing concentration are generally geared toward working professionals looking for enhanced skills. Doctoral degrees focus on research, teaching, business leadership and consulting careers in retail management and consumer behavior.
Competition is high for retail management positions. You may be able to enter a management training program without experience if you have a bachelor's degree. Or, if you're currently working in retail, online programs allow you to continue working and study at your convenience. Don't sell yourself short; move on up with a degree in retail management.