The 6 Best Online Bachelor’s in Retail Sales Management Programs

by TBS Staff
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According to PayScale, the average income of a retail store manager is $54,000, more than double the earnings of retail employees without formal education. Earning a retail management degree online increases your salary potential, whether you aspire to be a store manager, a merchandiser, or a purchasing manager.

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As the retail industry develops, and companies look for new ways to engage with customers, the demand for management positions will grow. Consider your education options when determining if retail management bachelor’s degree programs are right for your future.

Online Bachelor’s in Retail Sales Management Degree Program Ranking Guidelines

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We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.

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While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

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Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

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Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

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The Best Online Bachelor’s in Retail Sales Management Degree Programs

Oregon State University View School Profile $$$ Corvallis, OR 61% Oregon State University is regionally accredited by Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Located in Corvallis, OSU offers a fully online degree in business administration, with an exclusively online retail management concentration. OSU’s online retail management degree requires coursework human resources management, supply chain strategy, consumer behavior, and retail management.

The program requires 180 quarter credits, including 60 credits in upper–division coursework, and students complete the degree in as few as four years. OSU’s academic year follows a quarter–term system, which allows new students to begin at multiple start dates throughout the year, and the university offers accelerated summer courses. Distance learners pay in–state tuition rates, and online students have access to resources such as 24/7 librarian assistance and online tutoring services.

Applicants should have at least a 3.0 GPA, and OSU considers each applicant’s standardized test scores and class rank. Applicants must demonstrate leadership experience and personal achievements. Transfer students may bring credits earned from regionally accredited institutions.

Liberty University View School Profile $$$$ Lynchburg, VA 46% Liberty University Online is regionally accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Liberty is a private, nonprofit university located in Lynchburg, Virginia. The school offers a bachelor’s of science in business administration with a specialization in marketing. The curriculum is similar to that of other retail management bachelor’s degree programs; coursework covers sales strategies, consumer behavior, market research, and business management. Full–time students complete the 120 required credit hours in four years, and the per–credit tuition is lower for online courses than for their on–campus counterparts.

This fully online program requires no campus visits. However, accelerated courses, known as intensives, are available on campus. Liberty’s core curriculum requires religion courses, in addition to general education courses. The retail management concentration includes specialized courses in marketing research, consumer behavior, sales management and professional selling, and retailing and category management.

Admissions requirements at Liberty are relatively relaxed. First–time freshman applicants must submit a self–certification affirming they have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Transfer applicants must provide college transcripts and should have a GPA of 2.0 or better. Military credits often transfer.

Arizona State University View School Profile $$$ Skysong, AZ 51% Arizona State University – ASU Online is regionally accredited by Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

ASU in Skysong, Arizona, offers a bachelor’s of arts in business with a concentration in retail management. The online retail management degree consists of 120 credit hours, which most students complete in four years, and includes coursework in food retailing, leading organizations, essentials of services marketing, and quality management. Classes last seven and a half weeks, with two class cycles per semester, and the divided–semester schedule provides six start dates per year.

Students earning their retail management degree online are not required to visit campus and have access to online resources such as tutoring services, faculty advising, ASU libraries, success coaches, and career services. Online students even have opportunities to study abroad.

Freshman applicants must be high school graduates with a 3.0 GPA and must rank in the top 25% of their graduating class or meet SAT score thresholds. Transfer students must have a college GPA of 3.0 or better. Online students pay in–state tuition rates, regardless of residency.

Central Washington University View School Profile $$ Ellensburg, WA 53% Central Washington University is regionally accredited by Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Located in Ellensburg, CWU offers an online BS in information technology and administrative management with a specialization in retail management and technology. Unlike other retail management bachelor’s degree programs, the curriculum focuses on the technological side of retail. This degree completion program requires applicants to have earned a transferable associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in any field.

The program requires 97 to 101 credits. The core curriculum emphasizes general IT management knowledge, and the specialization courses cover topics such as principles of retailing, retail IT, and retail management. Graduates pursue careers in e–commerce, store operations and management, sales, customer database management, merchandise buying and planning, and distribution and logistics. Students complete an internship planning class prior to undertaking a required summer internship.

The online program is available in most U.S. states, and internship requirements vary by state. Online students pay the same tuition rates as on–campus students; in–state and out–of–state tuition rates apply to online students.

Saint Joseph's College View School Profile $$$$ Standish, ME 51% St. Joseph’s College of Maine is regionally accredited by New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE).

SJC in Standish, Maine, offers a bachelor’s of science in business administration with a major in sales and marketing management. The fully online program has no on–campus requirements. Full–time students complete the program in four years. Per credit tuition rates for online courses are slightly less than tuition for on–campus courses and are not affected by the student’s state of residence.

The program’s 128 credits include 42 general education credits and 39 business core credits. SJC is a Catholic college, and some religion courses are required. Coursework for the sales and marketing management major include classes in advertising, marketing research, customer relations management, marketing management, and sales management.

Applicants must submit official transcripts and a letter of recommendation from a high school guidance counselor or teacher. Standardized test scores are not required unless the applicant was homeschooled. Transfer students must submit college transcripts and a letter of recommendation from a professor, advisor, work supervisor, or religious leader.

Southern New Hampshire University View School Profile $$$$ Manchester, NH 59% Southern New Hampshire University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE).

SNHU’s online BS in fashion merchandising management comprises core general education and business courses and specialized courses in textiles and color theory, the history of fashion and costuming, merchandise planning and management, supply chain management, and fashion research and forecasting. The retail concentration covers principles of retailing, technology in fashion and retailing, and retail management. Full–time students complete the 120–credit degree in four years.

Although SNHU is based in Manchester, most of its students attend online and live around the world. SNHU offers six undergraduate terms per year, so accepted students begin classes at the next convenient start date. Most SNHU students are transfer students completing their education online.

Applicants must submit high school or college transcripts. Online tuition is less expensive than on–campus tuition, and all online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Resources available to distance learners include a writing center, libraries, tutoring services, academic advising, and career services.

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Choosing an Online Retail Sales Management Bachelor’s Program

When selecting a retail management bachelor’s degree program, choose the institution that best suits your interests. While all programs feature some of the same core courses, many offer additional subjects for students with a career goal in mind. Examples include courses in global supply chain management for students looking to work on an international scale, entrepreneurship for those who want to pioneer their own retail organization, and e–commerce for individuals who choose to focus on online shopping.

Core subjects you can expect to cover in any retail management program include consumer behavior, business statistics, and marketing research. These courses provide you with a business foundation and the knowledge required to manage the operations of any retail business. Upon program completion, you will have the option to take the National Retail Federation’s credential exams that will certify you as a retail sales manager.

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Online Bachelor’s in Retail Sales Management Careers

Earning an online retail management degree qualifies graduates for management positions in and outside of the retail industry. With skills applicable to both small startup companies and large corporations, you will find opportunities to lead a variety of teams, from a store’s band of retail staff to entire sales departments.

Sales Manager
Sales managers direct the actions of a company's sales teams. Primary responsibilities include goal setting, developing training programs, and analyzing sales statistics. They work closely with other departmental managers to help meet sales quotas.
  • Median Annual Salary: $117,960
  • Projected Growth Rate: 7%
Assistant Store Manager
Assistant store managers oversee the daily operations of the retail location. Responsibilities include hiring staff, assigning employee schedules, setting the standard for customer service, and enforcing store policies.
  • Median Annual Salary: $46,466
  • Projected Growth Rate: 2%
Operations Manager
Operations managers oversee a wide variety of areas within an organization. The specific responsibilities of this position vary depending on the size of the company but will typically include creating policy and managing daily operations, such as assigning work schedules and supervising the completion of projects.
  • Median Annual Salary: $103,950
  • Projected Growth Rate: 8%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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