Retail Management Degree: What to expect?

Black Friday craziness grabs a lot of headline space, but as anyone who has worked in retail can tell you, it’s always a little nuts. Between demanding shoppers, sold-out inventory, long hours (and did we mention demanding shoppers?), retail can be an industry that makes one want to run screaming.

Thankfully for those of us who like to shop but not work the floor, some people are energized by the world of retail. If you like to handle the business side of shopping—things like employee management, purchasing, and marketing—check out a degree in retail management.


The fastest way to prepare for the upper levels of store management is to get an associate’s degree in retail management. This degree takes about two years to complete, and will have you studying everything from marketing principles to business statistics to consumer behavior.

The other option is to get a four-year bachelor’s degree. You’ll study the same things you would in a two-year degree program, but get more in-depth training with classes like specialty merchandising or buying tactics. A four-year degree program will also give you more of a business background, introducing you to subjects like accounting, communications, and small business management.

When deciding on schools, keep in mind that there are online bachelor’s degrees in retail management available. This type of degree allows you to keep working while going to school, giving you hands-on experience, which is valuable when applying for a job.

Next Step

After you graduate, you should be in prime form to grab a Retail Manager position. If working the floor isn’t exactly what you want, you’ll also be qualified for a marketing, e-commerce, or merchandising role. Though retail can be a fickle field, you should be able to continue finding employment with a degree, no matter the economic climate.

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