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How Much Does Retail Management School Cost?

Retail Management School Prices

Retail managers should have solid leadership, math, computer, customer service, and business skills. These skills can be obtained through experience, formal education, or a combination of the two. Earning an associate's degree, bachelor's degree, or certificate in retail management may improve career opportunities for you down the road.

Retail Management Considerations

Retail is an international industry that covers a diverse range of products, from electronics and groceries to clothing and building supplies. Individuals who enjoy problem solving, working with others, and keeping up on the latest trends should find a career in retail management both challenging and rewarding.

Job Prospects and Pay

Retail managers may hold a number of different positions, including:

  • Retail or department store manager
  • Manager of a single department in a store
  • Purchasing manager
  • Pricing analyst
  • Retail merchandiser
  • Sales supervisor
  • Ecommerce marketing manager

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides salary information for a couple of major retail management positions. First-line supervisors or retail sales workers, according to BLS, earn a median annual income of $36,820. Purchasing managers have a much higher median salary at $100,170 per year.

As BLS data makes clear, there is a large range in retail management salaries depending on the title held and job duties. This is consistent with information from PayScale.com, which puts the average salary of retail managers at roughly $25,000 to $65,000.

BLS predicts that there will be 513,700 retail manager job openings between 2010 and 2020. This number reflects new jobs as well as job replacement.

Becoming a Retail Manager

O*NETóa partner of the American Job Center Networkóreports that 40 percent of retail management positions require a high school diploma or equivalent. Twenty-six percent require some college (no degree), while 15% require an associate's degree.

It is also possible to pursue a bachelor's degree (Bachelor of Science; BS) in retail management, retail merchandising and management, fashion and retail management, or a similar field. The core curriculum of a retail management degree typically includes courses in merchandising, retailing, management, consumer behavior, business, marketing, and accounting. The actual curriculum, however, varies by program.

Short of a degree, students might consider taking individual college courses in retail management or business or enrolling in a certificate program. Look for a job as a sales associate in order to gain experience in the field. To search for retail manager apprenticeship programs in your state, visit the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) apprenticeship information page.

Retail Management School Average Costs

  • A certificate program in retail management might cost $2,000 to $10,000. Institutions that offer this distinction include the State University of New York and City College of San Francisco.
  • The average cost of an associate's degree (tuition and fees) as of 2012, according to the College Board, is $6,000 to $6,500.
  • The College Board puts the average cost of tuition and fees at a four-year degree institution at $8,655 (public, in-state) to $29,056 (private) per year.
  • Contact individual schools for the most accurate pricing information as well as information on available student aid. To learn more about paying for college, visit the College Board's Pay for College page.

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