Retail Operations Degrees: Bachelor, Training & Online Course Program

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What kind of jobs can you get with a bachelor's degree in retail operations? Find out bachelor's degree and post-baccalaureate certificate program requirements, online options and info on courses in retail operations.
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Retail Operations Bachelor's Degree and Training at a Glance

While retail sales workers are usually required to complete a formal on-the-job training program, individuals who want to work in management positions or as wholesale representatives may consider pursuing a bachelor's degree in the field. Jobs in retail are available in the fashion, sporting goods, home improvement, automobile, books and electronics industries.

Retail sales workers and managers work in stores, while retail representatives make arrangements for purchasing the goods that are sold in stores. Individuals interested in working in retail can earn a bachelor's degree in a business-related area, and can also opt to pursue a post-baccalaureate certificate in retail. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for retail sales workers is projected to increase 17% during 2010-2020 (www.bls.gov).

Bachelor's Certificate
Who is this degree for? Individuals interested in a management position in retail Individuals with a bachelor's degree seeking more training or who want to specialize in a specific aspect of the industry
Common Career Paths (with approximate annual salary) -Retail manager ($55,000)**
-Wholesale sales representative ($86,000)*
-Retail manager ($55,000)**
-Wholesale sales representative ($86,000)*
Time to Completion 4 years, full time 1 semester, full time
Common Graduation Requirements About 40-48 courses Approximately 15 credit hours
Prerequisites -High school diploma -Bachelor's degree
Online Availability Yes Yes

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures), **Salary.com (May 2012 figures).

Bachelor's in Retail Operations

The curriculum of a retail operations bachelor's degree program combines business principles with retail practices. These programs can be offered as a Bachelor of Science in Business with a retail management specialization or as a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion and Retail Management.

These programs prepare students for management positions in a retail company. Students in the program learn about customer behavior, merchandising, pricing, strategy development and how to increase profitability and sales. Students also learn about human resources, communication, marketing and management.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Degree leads to a career in a growing field; population growth is expected to increase employment opportunities in the retail sector*
  • With this degree, you have the opportunity to work in many different industries, including the automobile, electronics and fashion industries
  • The business component of a degree program provides you with knowledge of basic business operations, which can transfer to a career in a non-retail field

Cons

  • A degree does not guarantee employment; online shopping may cause there to be limits in the number of employment opportunities*
  • Sales representatives commonly need to negotiate prices, which can be stressful
  • A career in the field can require long working hours; 25% of sales representatives work over 50 hours per week*
  • Degree not necessarily required for employment, due to on-the-job training offerings

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Courses and Requirements

Students in these programs complete business and retail courses. Business-related courses include accounting, finance and marketing. Retail operations courses include brand building, handling retail operational issues, retail management, pricing strategies and retail techniques. Many programs also include a capstone project that is completed during a student's final semester of study.

Typical classes include:

  • Services marketing
  • Sales management
  • Ethics and enterprise
  • Pricing management

Online Options

Online bachelor's degree programs related to retail are available. These programs may be ideal for students already working in a retail store who want to pursue advancement opportunities. Courses in these programs are the same or similar to their in-person counterparts.

How to Stand Out

While a bachelor's degree in retail operations can provide you with a leg-up over your competition, you can also stand out in the field by completing courses in applying analytics to retailing. These courses train you to apply analytical tools and techniques to sales, pricing and other statistics so that you can develop policies or implement changes based on your analysis. This skill may be appealing to employers.

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Retail

Post-baccalaureate retail certificates are offered in retailing and consumer science as well as in retail marketing. In these programs, students learn about the different practices and principles related to retail and how to communicate with different professionals in the field. Many times, a program allows students to focus on one specific area of retail, such as marketing, organizations or merchandising.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Allows for supplementing the education gained in a bachelor's degree program, which can put you above the competition when searching for a job
  • Program allows you to gain additional skills in the field beyond those acquired in a bachelor's degree program
  • The opportunity to specialize in an area of retail can allow you to hone your skills and search for employment in a specific industry sector

Cons

  • Additional education may not improve job prospects
  • May still have to complete an on-the-job training program
  • Must complete a bachelor's degree before enrollment

Courses and Requirements

Courses in these programs are related to a specific topic of retail. For example, if you are enrolled in a retail marketing program, you take courses in brand management, marketing principles, buyer behavior and marketing research. However, in a retail organizing program, you study merchandising, consumer science and organizational decision-making.

Common courses in these programs include:

  • Integrated marketing communications
  • Marketing principles
  • Retailing fundamentals

Online Course Options

Online post-baccalaureate certificate programs in retail are available. These programs often have the same course credit hour requirements and a similar curriculum as in-person programs.

How to Stand Out

To stand out in the field, consider attending a certificate program that covers online retailing topics, such as e-Tailing and technology entrepreneurship. These courses can help you prepare to handle the technological aspects of retailing, such as selling products online. This knowledge can make you more attractive to employers.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Ashford University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA/Service Management - Mass-Market Retail Enterprise Management
      • B.A. - Business Admin
      • B.A. - Operations Management and Analysis
      • B.A. - International Business
      • BA/eMarketing
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Southern New Hampshire University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Operations Management
      • BS in Business Studies - Business Adminis
      • BS in Fashion Merchandising Management
      • BS in Marketing
      • BS in Business Studies - Marketing
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA in Sales Management
      • BSBA - Investment
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. Business Administration - No Specialization
      • B.S. General Studies - Business
      • B.S. Marketing - Analytics
      • B.S. Marketing - Services and Non-Profit
      • B.S. General Studies - Marketing
      • B.S. Management - No Specialization
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management: Business Admin Concentration
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Applied Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
      • BS in Business Admin.
      • BS in Marketing
  • Campus and Online Programs
    7. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Internet Marketing - Certificate
      • B.S. - Music Business
      • B.S. - Sports Marketing and Media
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Management
      • BS - Marketing
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Trident University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor's - Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Regent University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Business
      • Bachelor of Applied Science in Management and Leadership
      • Bachelor of Science in Business - General Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Business - Marketing
      • Bachelor of Science in Marketing

Featured Schools

Ashford University

  • BA/Service Management - Mass-Market Retail Enterprise Management
  • B.A. - Business Admin
  • B.A. - Operations Management and Analysis

What is your highest level of education?

Southern New Hampshire University

  • BS in Operations Management
  • BS in Business Studies - Business Adminis
  • BS in Fashion Merchandising Management

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • Bachelor of Business Admin
  • BSBA in Sales Management
  • BSBA - Investment

Which subject are you interested in?

Indiana Wesleyan University

  • B.S. Business Administration - No Specialization
  • B.S. General Studies - Business
  • B.S. Marketing - Analytics

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • B.S. - Business Management: Business Admin Concentration
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • BS in Applied Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
  • BS in Business Admin.

What is your highest level of education?

Full Sail University

  • BS - Internet Marketing - Certificate
  • B.S. - Music Business
  • B.S. - Sports Marketing and Media

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Business Management
  • BS - Marketing

What is your highest level of education?