Online Masters Degree in Retail Management

If you are have strong financial and interpersonal skills, take a look at the opportunities in retail management. From small boutiques to discount warehouses, retail managers oversee the sale of everything from clothing to boats. Master's degrees in retail management can boost your qualifications in this career.

Earning master's degrees in retail management

To prepare you for retail management, coursework is likely to cover human resources, customer service, marketing, organizational behavior, merchandise management, accounting, finance and business law. Since much of the retail world is building an online presence, expect to see courses in technology, computer science and e-commerce as well.

The master's degree usually takes between one and two years to complete. You may need to complete an apprenticeship in addition to a research project and thesis.

Career options, outlook and salary

The skills and knowledge you gain through work experience and advanced studies can qualify you for most retail positions, in many types of stores, selling a wide variety of merchandise. Graduate studies in retail management can be useful whether you are on the sales floor training new employees or in an office figuring out the next marketing move.

One common career is as manager for sales staff. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that first-line supervisors of retail sales workers typically have 1-5 years of experience in the business. Responsibilities may extend beyond supervising staff to management activities like purchasing, budgeting, accounting and HR.

The BLS reports a median annual wage of $35,820 for first-line supervisors of retail sales workers in 2010. Supervisors in clothing stores or building material and supplies dealers earned up to $41,000 a year.

Job growth for first-line supervisors of retail sales workers is expected to be modest, at 8 percent from 2010 to 2020. Big opportunities might arise in warehouse clubs, where employment of retail sales persons is expected to grow much faster than average, with an increase of 51 percent in the 2010-2020 decade.

Going beyond the master's degree

If you have ambitions beyond the master's degree, Ph.D. programs in retail management are designed for a focus on research, academia or the most high-level positions.

In the retail world, experience can matter as much as the degree. With web-based studies, you can complete your coursework online while gaining retail work experience, either in an internship or at your current position.

Featured Online Retail Management Degree Programs

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