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An associate’s degree program in retail can expose you to some operational aspects of retail establishments. You can discover what happens behind the scenes, such as how the shelves are stocked and the tactics used to sell things.
A career in retail can be pursued after acquiring skills in retail management, or you can advance your knowledge by taking additional business, communication, or marketing courses and pursuing a Bachelor’s in Retail Management. This degree is incredibly adaptable and can give you in-demand valuable skills for several industries!
Additional Resource: The Best Online Associates in Entrepreneurship
With an Associate in Retail Management degree, you become a stronger candidate for entry-level occupations in the field! You can also pursue a bachelor’s degree, which can lead to even better job offers, or go to graduate school and be an expert in Retail Management research or specializations!
As you navigate your Retail Management associate degree choices, you will see that each program on our list is a worthy investment, given these top academic features:
- Delivered as a fully online or hybrid program, with coursework requirements that must be accomplished on-campus and online,
- Features introductory coursework to Retail Management, exploring the principles and applications relevant to the discipline, with an emphasis on supervision or leadership strategies, supply chain strategy, retail and sales management, retail operations, consumer behavior, and store management, among other relevant concepts,
- Features a Transfer Pathway program for students pursuing a bachelor’s degree upon earning their Associates,
- Uses a highly rated Learning Management System for quick access to online coursework and virtual classes and easy communication with instructors,
- Faculty consisting of retail managers and business professionals or entrepreneurs who are able to impart to students the relevant competency in the field,
- Offers financial assistance to eligible Retail Management associate program students,
- Received proper academic accreditation to adhere to prevailing standards of online instruction at the associate’s degree level,
- Esteemed by Retail Management industry associations,
- Well-reviewed by students and alumni.
For a more in-depth look at how we put together our top associate’s degree programs, visit our Methodology page.
Today’s Best Online Associates in Retail Management
Glendale Community College
Glendale Community College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, located in Glendale, Arizona, which offers full-time and part-time schedules for their online program on Associate of Applied Science in Retail Management.
The course material for this 62-credit program covers business fundamentals and highlights the required skill sets for efficient management and communication in the workplace. The curriculum is intended to educate people in the retail, food, and related industries for the demands of mid-level management positions in the future. The core courses of the program are:
- Techniques of Supervision
- Management and Leadership
- Retail Management
- Supply Chain Management
Choosing the full-time schedule for the retail management program will take four terms to complete, with 12-18 credits for each semester. Choosing a part-time schedule may take ten terms to complete, with only 11 credits or less for each term, making it ideal for those with busy schedules like having a full-time job or other responsibilities.
Minnesota State College Southeast
Graduates with a two-year Associate of Applied Science in Retail Management are equipped to assume leadership positions in the workplace. The skills that Minnesota State College Southeast students acquire will serve them well whether they choose to pursue careers in retail management or further education for an online bachelor in business management or business administration program.
In addition to 45 technical credits, the retail management curriculum requires 15 credits of general education coursework in the humanities, math, and communications (speaking and writing) which totals 60 credits.
The topics covered in these technical classes include:
- Visual Merchandising
- Inventory management
- Retail buying
- Management principles
With more than just textbook education, students will also gain knowledge from class discussions and marketing presentations they create utilizing web resources and apps like Microsoft PowerPoint.
Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College offers an online 60-credit associate’s degree program in retail management. The said program is supported by the Western Association of Food Chains (WAFC) and the Food Marketing Institute.
The highly regarded WAFC Retail Management Degree Program is a curriculum created to equip students for fast-paced retail businesses. The degree can be obtained after completing 60 credit hours distributed throughout four semesters and two summer/insession terms. Some of the significant courses online students are expected to take up are the following:
- Fundamentals of Business or Introduction to Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- Principles of Marketing
- Human Relations and Organizational Structure
- Human Resource Management
Following graduation, students will be prepared for quick entry into the retail business field thanks to the program’s curriculum and course content, which prepare them for relevance in any area of retail management. Students who complete the program will be awarded an ECC Certification of Competence and a WAFC Retail Management Certificate.
Clover Park Technical College
Online students who earn an Associate of Applied Technology in Retail Business Management from Clover Park Technical College are prepared for professions in marketing, sales, retail, customer service, entrepreneurship, and other general business applications. A certificate component accepted by the Western Association of Food Chains (WAFC) is a part of the online curriculum.
To ensure that students make the right judgments in business situations, the program blends business theory with real-world applications, including the appropriate use of technology in today’s workplace, and gains the technical and interpersonal abilities required to thrive in today’s cutthroat workplace. Students learn about e-commerce apps and principles and how to use social media for engagement with potential clients.
Along with the core and required courses, the 94-credit curriculum includes the following general education courses:
- English Composition
- Public Speaking
- General Psychology
- Psychology in the Workplace
- Introduction to Sociology
Depending on how much time students need to finish all graduation requirements successfully, the program may be completed within 5-6 terms.
Los Angeles Trade-Technological College
Los Angeles Trade-Technological College developed a comprehensive and highly competitive program for an Associate of Arts in Retail Management degree which is made to equip present and future retail workers for the fast-paced and cutthroat retail environment.
Students will acquire the skills necessary to excel at the management level in the ever-changing and evolving retail industry through this curriculum, which was developed in partnership with retail industry professionals.
The retail management degree can be obtained with only a total of 59 required credits through four semesters. The first three terms will be focused on significant courses with 11-12 credits for each semester, and 4th semester will have six elective courses in addition to 2 core courses.
The following electives will take three credit units each:
- Computerized Payroll Accounting
- Microcomputer Office Applications: Spreadsheet
- Fundamentals of Advertising
- Organization and Management Theory
- Small Business Entrepreneurship
- Elements of Supervision
Students are prepared for instant success in the workforce through close collaboration with established industry leaders in the curriculum.
Solano Community College
A flexible, cost-effective associate’s degree in retail management with a focus on professional development is available from Solano Community College. The curriculum equips online students with the knowledge and abilities required to prepare them for both entry-level positions and chances for advancement in this fast-paced and constantly evolving sector of our economy.
The Western Association of Food Chains (WAFC) has approved the 60-credit curriculum, which is made to meet the needs of businesses and employees in the retail sector. Students are expected to take the following marketing and management courses to complete the online retail management program:
- Principles of Management
- Principles of Selling
- Retail Merchandising
- Marketing Management and Planning
Orange Coast College
Total credits required to complete the curriculum may range from 60-63, depending on the electives that students may choose to take. The courses for the program include:
- Retail E-Commerce Management
- Accounting for Small Businesses
- Applied Management for Public and Private Organizations
An Associate’s Degree in retail management, a WAFC Retail Management Certificate, and a Certificate of Achievement from Orange Coast College will also be awarded to retail management graduates.
Suffolk County Community College
Operating with a Middle States Commission on Higher Education accreditation, Suffolk County Community College offers a degree program in Associate of Science in Business: Retail Marketing and Management. The degree is available online and can be completed after taking 65 credits of coursework.
All of the courses can be taken at the student’s own pace and schedule throughout the semester, which provides flexibility, especially for students with other responsibilities. Such courses include:
- Retail Store Operations and Administration
- Retail Buying and Merchandising
- Management Principles and Practices
Graduates have the option to transfer credits to a four-year university to complete their online bachelor’s degree program in business administration or start their careers right away. The program also meets the demands of those already working in business who want to continue their education.
Saddleback College, which is based in Mission Viejo, California, provides an associate’s degree in retail management. The program, which was created by managers of major retail organizations, trains students to be effective managers and to advance to management in the retail sector. This program also conforms to the Western Association of Food Chains certification (WAFC).
The course material helps students comprehend the nature of the position of retail manager and the qualifications needed for success. Students will earn their degree after completing the total required 61 credits in four semesters, which include courses in:
- Oral Business Communications
- Financial Accounting
- Human Relations in Business
- Human Resource Management
Gaining a degree in an online retail management program from Saddleback College improves one’s chances of landing an entry-level job and progressing in the retail profession.
American Public University
The Associate of Arts in Retail Management program at American Public University, approved by the ACBSP-Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, gives students a chance to extend their education beyond the classroom by participating in the National Retail Federation student program and the professional student organization for retail management.
The online retail management associate degree program at American Public University uses a curriculum that usually requires 60 credit hours to finish and is updated yearly to guarantee that students are learning about current trends and data on the retail industry.
It covers education that is essential for front-line supervisory roles in the retail business organization, customer relations, inventory management, and finance. General education courses take up 30 credits for the program, which are the following:
- Communication: Writing, Oral, and Multimedia
- Arts & Humanities
- Civics, Political & Social Sciences
- Mathematics and Applied Reasoning
- Natural Sciences
In addition to the required courses, students also have to attend a Retail Management Seminar as the final program requirement.
Check this out: The Best Online Bachelor’s in eCommerce
Possible Career Options After Obtaining an Online Associate’s Degree in Retail Management
Here are some of the possible career options you may pursue after obtaining your associate’s degree:
Customer Service Representative
Receiving and processing inbound orders may be some of the fundamental responsibilities of a customer service representative. Additionally, dealing with transactions as well as canceling orders, returning products, or making exchanges. It entails making sure that client orders and transactions are executed effectively and promptly. Order processing frequently relates to entry-level customer service employment.
They could also be responsible for gathering and analyzing customer feedback. There are several ways to automate the feedback collection process. Customers can be personally contacted by agents to follow up and ask how the solution was received and take note of any suggestions they may have for future enhancements as well.
Buyer and Purchasing Agent
Buyers and purchasing agents are in charge of the quality management of the items, considering the availability of supply and bargain contracts. These discoveries are then utilized to purchase goods and services that a company or institution can use or market. They go to trade exhibitions, seminars, and meetings to network with vendors. They stay up to date on emerging markets and global supply chain management trends.
Buyers and purchasing representatives make sure suppliers deliver goods on schedule, in the right amounts, and without compromising on quality. Additionally, they keep precise records of previous costs, delivery, inventory, and product performance.
Warehouse managers oversee the workers within a warehouse and collaborate with them to get the job done. Another essential duty of theirs is adhering to local, state, and federal warehousing regulations.
An advantage is provided by having an associate’s degree in retail management, business operations, logistics, or a similar discipline; however, warehousing experience alone may be sufficient for eligibility. It will be beneficial for this job description if you have retail management certification courses and talents like logistics, managerial skills, people management, operations, and inventory management.
Retail Product Manager
Retail product managers make sure that any product being supplied to the customer is successfully managed. The work includes everything from establishing marketing plans to the initial phases of ideation. The additional responsibilities include planning, conducting research, hiring employees, and other managerial duties.
Strategic market pricing, public speaking, negotiating, analytical skills, careful attention to detail, and foresight are necessary for this position.
Making sure a department store’s daily operations are carried out successfully and efficiently is the duty of a retail store manager. They must also create novel, enhanced ideas for boosting revenue, earnings, store turnover, and other aspects of business management.
A shop manager works closely with many other essential divisions, such as Human Resources, Marketing, Customer Service, Logistics, Administration, and Finance.
Marketing executives are responsible for overseeing a company’s public relations, advertising, and marketing strategies in order to achieve maximum revenue. They must conduct market research to determine the future demand for the company’s services and products before strategizing a marketing plan to satisfy that need.
Among the abilities needed for a Marketing Executive are strong decision-making and customer relationship management.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an online Associate’s degree program in Retail Management worth it?
Yes, many students find an associate’s degree to be worthwhile. Depending on the industry you enter, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for jobs where an associate’s degree is required for admission will increase by 6.2% during the next ten years.
The retail industry, precisely, is predicted to continue rising, thus opening more doors and offering job opportunities to those who want to venture into the sector.
How long will it take to earn an online Associate in Retail Management degree?
Most associate degree programs can be earned within two years. The associate in retail management may take as little as 1.5 years to complete, depending on the scheduling plans offered by the college. Some offer part-time scheduling, which may take up to 11 8-week terms, and some also offer a full-time schedule that may take six semesters to complete.
How flexible is the schedule for an online Associate Retail Management degree?
Online learning itself already provides students the flexibility of being able to take their classes anywhere, be it at home or even at the gym. Some institutions on this list still require the students to be strictly available for attendance checks during classes.
At the same time, some also give their students, through an output-based curriculum, the flexibility to take their classes at their own pace by having no specific log-in or log-out times, provided that they finish their requirements within the given semester.
There are also options available for daytime and nighttime schedules for the students to take their classes in some colleges. Class materials and other online resources are also usually made available online for the students to access at any time.
How much does it cost to earn an online Associate degree in Retail Management?
Costs may vary depending on where and how the online programs are completed. Many students choose community institutions to complete their associate degrees. The cost of in-state tuition is typically lower than that of out-of-state tuition. The cost of any additional on-campus needs, such as those for books, supplies, technical fees, and travel expenses, should also be taken into account.