Graduates with an online retail management degree are prepared to buy, develop, and sell products that meet the demands of the average 21st century customer. Today's globalized economy means that retail professionals must have the knowledge necessary to succeed in the domestic and global marketplaces. Retail management bachelor's degree program teach students the technical, problem-solving, and leadership skills required to serve consumers who rely on your goods and services.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in retail trade will grow about 7% by the year 2022, which means adding more than 1 million positions. The field is booming thanks to the emergence of online retail in recent years.

What are the best Retail and Sales Management programs of 2020? Here are our top 5:

Rank School Location
1 Arizona State University Scottsdale, AZ
2 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR
3 Central Washington University Ellensburg, WA
4 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
5 Saint Joseph's College of Maine Standish, ME

2020 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Retail and Sales Management Programs

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1

Arizona State University

Scottsdale, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

Arizona State University powers distance education with the Canvas platform. Remote learners pick from more than 300 certificates and degrees, including an online bachelor of arts in business with a retail management concentration. The program offers flexible start dates and 7.5-week classes.

The 120-credit curriculum includes courses on leading organizations, essentials of service marketing, and quality management/measurement. Students also learn about business and sustainability, investigating the environmental impact of organizations that provide services and products. Graduates are prepared to work as customer service managers, business analysts, and advertising sales representatives.

To enroll in this business program, first-year applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA in certain competency courses, rank in the top 25% of their high school class, or have adequate ACT or SAT scores.

2

Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 67%

Oregon State University serves about 31,000 students annually, many of whom pursue their certificates and degrees remotely. The school's undergraduate catalog includes an online bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science in business administration with a retail management specialization. Distance learners can complete a fully remote curriculum.

Totaling 180 quarter credits, the degree plan covers required topics like public speaking, financial planning, and managing individual and team performance. As part of their specialization, students learn all the necessary steps to bring customers into their stores and fulfill their buying needs. This online program offers four yearly start dates.

OSU prefers applicants who have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Candidates have the option to submit ACT/SAT scores. This program holds specialized accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

3

Central Washington University

Ellensburg, WA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 55%

Based in Ellensburg, Central Washington University delivers over 20 remote academic programs. Students may pursue an online bachelor of science in information technology and administrative management with a retail management and technology specialization. Learners gain the skills needed to expand organizations across multiple channels.

To earn this online bachelor's degree, students take classes like sustainable decision-making, business communication and report writing, and integrated IT applications. They also learn to manage customer relationships. Distance learners gain hands-on skills by completing an internship.

Admission requirements differ based on an applicant's cumulative GPA, and some students may need to submit ACT/SAT scores. CWU provides a variety of financial aid opportunities, including grants, scholarships, and tuition waivers. The university powers distance education with Canvas.

4

Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 50%

Liberty University is headquartered in Lynchburg, Virginia, and serves over 79,000 students each year. Its academic catalog includes a variety of remote degrees, including an online bachelor of science in business administration with a specialization in marketing: sales management and professional selling.

Distance learners take eight-week classes, and they can fulfill up to 75% of their degree requirements with transfer credits. Coursework covers topics like marketing research, consumer behavior, and retailing and category management. Graduates may pursue advanced academics or obtain entry-level jobs as sales representatives and insurance brokers.

Applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA, but they need not submit standardized test scores. This program maintains specialized accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

5

Saint Joseph's College of Maine

Standish, ME Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 63%

Located in Standish, Saint Joseph's College of Maine offers more than 40 degrees and certificates. Options include an online bachelor of science in business administration with flexible focus options. Designed for working professionals, this program allows candidates to receive transfer credits for job experience and industry certification/licensure.

Core classes include managerial accounting, business law, and management information systems. Students may use elective credits to create a flexible business focus, taking advanced coursework in areas like marketing research and customer relations management.

Online students can begin degree work at four points each year. Applicants need a 2.0 GPA or higher. However, the college does not require SAT or ACT scores.

What Will I Learn in an Online Bachelor's in Retail and Sales Management?

Retail management bachelor's degree programs prepare students for a variety of careers in the field, such as buyer, product developer, and store manager. While each school offers a slightly different curriculum, all graduates enter the workforce with the critical thinking and customer service skills needed to achieve long-term success in the field. The following are common courses that you should find in any online retail management program:

  • Retail Strategy: In this course, students learn how fundamental strategies for increasing return on revenues and creating economic value for owners and stakeholders. These skills are necessary for a career as a store buyer.
  • Retail Innovation: This course explores new customer interaction channels and distribution systems, with an emphasis on improving a business's competitive edge while meeting their client's needs. Students also study ways that market changes drive both opportunities and threats in retail. This class is ideal for those who plan to become apparel product developers.
  • Principles and Theory of Management: Students who complete this course leave with an understanding of theories and concepts in planning, organizing, staffing, and controlling. They will also learn how both classical and contemporary management theories operate in today's businesses.

Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Retail & Sales Management Degrees

When searching through retail management bachelor's degree programs, be sure to choose a program at an accredited institution. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) are responsible for overseeing the nation's accrediting agencies. These agencies evaluate and determine that accrediting bodies are following certain standards. The ED and CHEA oversee six regional accreditation bodies that serve all parts of the nation.

There are three different types of academic accreditation: regional, national, and programmatic. Regional accreditation is usually obtained by nonprofit public and state schools, while national accreditation is generally earned by for-profit colleges and vocational or trade schools. Regional accreditation is regarded as more prestigious than national accreditation. Finally, programmatic accreditation is offered by private organizations in a specific discipline and denotes that a program prepares graduates with up-to-date methods. For example, retail management programs may reside in a university's school of business or management that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Both the ED and CHEA monitor institutions to assess the quality of their offerings. The ED reviews accrediting agencies and ensures they enforce accreditation standards. The CHEA is comprised of 3,000 degree-granting colleges and universities as well as recognizes 60 institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations. Both the ED and CHEA maintain full lists of accredited institutions on their respective websites.

Career Opportunities for Bachelor's in Retail & Sales Management Graduates

Graduates with an online retail management degree are prepared to become recognized leaders who possess creativity and top decision-making and critical thinking skills. They can pursue careers in a variety of positions in the field, including store management and product development. Below are some of the most common career opportunities for graduates with a bachelor's in retail management.

Buyer

A buyer evaluates merchandise for price, quality, and market demand to help their business determine what they should purchase. In addition, a buyer negotiates contracts, interviews vendors, and visits their production facilities to learn about the manufacturing process.

Store Manager

A store manager is responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating all store operations. These professionals help to set and enforce customer and employee policies, oversee daily activities, and manage human resources activities.

Account Executive

An account executive creates interest in brands and products through promotions and advertising. They also help negotiate advertising contracts and initiates market research to better understand consumers.

Merchandise Displayer

A merchandise displayer plans and erects commercial displays in retail settings such as store windows and interiors as well as exhibitions at trade shows.

Sales Manager

A sales manager directs sales teams, sets sales goals, analyzes data, and develops training programs for sales representatives to help support their success. They also assign sales territories for their teams.

BACHELOR'S IN RETAIL & SALES SALARY

Your salary will depend on your occupation, your years of experience in the field, and the specific company you work for and city you reside in. The table below showcases PayScale data for five career paths that graduates with an online bachelor's in retail management can pursue.

Median Salary by Experience

Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)
Buyer $52,863 $50,269 $54,877 $58,912
Store Manager $45,661 $39,535 $44,708 $53,460
Account Executive $51,186 $46,466 $58,029 $69,936
Merchandise Displayer $22,000 $22,000 $20,020 $23,100
Sales Manager $54,667 $45,750 $70,150 $95,770

Source: Payscale

Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Retail & Sales Management Program

Nearly every students must obtain some amount of financial aid to be able to finance their online retail management degree. The first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Doing so will qualify students to obtain federal grants, loans, and work-study funds to help pay for college. You should also check with your school's financial aid department to learn about scholarships and fellowships. You might also qualify for reduced tuition if you are a veteran of the armed services or an active duty member of the military.


AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.