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Retailing and Retail Operations

Program Description

Just the Facts

Retailing and Retail Operations. A program that prepares individuals to perform operations associated with retail sales in a variety of settings. Includes instruction in over-the-counter and other direct sales operations in business settings, basic bookkeeping principles, customer service, team/staff leadership and supervision, floor management, and applicable technical skills.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Additional Information

Retailing programs give students the skills to advance through the ranks from sales clerk to assistant manager and store manager more quickly, or even to run their own businesses.

Two-year associate's degree programs give students the basics in business administration, management and sales.

Upper-level management positions in large corporations require at least a bachelor's degree in commerce or business administration with many years' experience, or sometimes a master's degree in marketing or management.

Keep in mind that two-year programs tend to focus only on the core business courses, while four-year degree programs require students to take arts and science courses as well.

You should find out if you can pursue your education beyond one particular program. Most programs label their degrees as terminal or transfer. Terminal means the degree or diploma is not transferable to another college or university. Transfer means the courses count towards a four-year degree at a participating college or university.

Programs may have work terms or internships as well.

Retail students take courses in marketing, management, business communications (written and oral), visual display and presentation, retail finance, business math, sales, psychology, business computing, accounting and entrepreneurship.

Leadership and communications skills are also vital, says William Perttula. He is a business professor at San Francisco State University. "Leadership in clubs of any sort helps students learn planning and organizing skills. It's important to learn to delegate and supervise, learn to communicate your ideas."

He adds that writing and communication skills are also important. "We require students to write about marketing problems and solutions, and make oral presentations in several classes. Then, they must work in a team to write a report and make a presentation as a group."

You can start building your skills in high school. "Extracurricular activities should include participation in Future Business Leaders of America, holding offices in student government, and retail work experience," says Diane Pickel, a professor at Central Pennsylvania College in Harrisburg.

Pickel also suggests students focus on classes that teach computer skills, business communication and analytical skills.

Besides tuition and books, you may have to get business clothing.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Sales Worker Supervisors

The Retail Network
Links to jobs and careers in the retail industry

Retail Merchandising Fact Sheet
Get some more background on this field


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