If you’re interested in a career where you can work directly with customers and learn what makes them tick, a business degree in sales and retail management can put you in the thick of a multitude of retail settings. Whether you want to oversee a growing international retail business, travel the country or world launching retail spaces, or gain the skills and knowledge you need to start your own successful business, an online sales and retail management degree could be your ticket to honing essential sales and retail marketing skills while expanding your career options.
Taking the time to find the right sales and retail management program is crucial, so you won’t want to miss our spotlights of several of the best online program options. While our full ranking will drop later this year, the schools showcased here boast quality academics and extensive student services. These flexible and affordable programs let you earn your sales degree online on your terms and on your own time.
In addition to exploring our college spotlights, you’ll learn what to expect during your online sales and retail management program, how to gain admission, and how much your degree might cost. To wrap it all up, you’ll find salary and employment data so you know what to expect once you graduate.
Continue reading to see which online sales and retail management degrees stand out and learn more about this versatile academic and career pathway.
Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a large public institution offering an impressive catalog of online programs. Among this long list of online options is an online bachelor’s in business with a specialization in retail management. Whether you’re interested in starting your own business or working in an established retail company, this flexible online option introduces essential business knowledge and topics unique to retail management such as sustainability and quality management and measurement.
Throughout this 120-credit, 100% online program, online learners complete 41 classes for this Bachelor of Arts degree. Alongside general education classes and foundational business coursework, Students in the program tackle core topics such as food retailing, essentials of services marketing, retail management, and organizational leadership.
Prospective students must hold a high school diploma with a cumulative GPA of 3.0. Students not meeting the GPA requirement can receive admission with an above-average ACT or SAT score. Additionally, students who don’t meet admission requirements can complete ASU’s Earned Admission Pathway.
- Online Bachelor of Arts in Business-Retail Management
- Credits: 120
- Length: 4 years
- Cost: $552 per credit in-state | $552 per credit out-of-state
- Mode: Fully Online
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Oregon State University
Established in 1869, Oregon State University is a sizeable public research university that’s located between Portland and Eugene. Among the school’s 35,000 students are about 10,000 online learners taking advantage of the school’s flexible and affordable online catalog, which includes a bachelor’s in business with a specialization in retail management.
As a part of this fully online business bachelor’s with a retail management focus, students develop the knowledge and skills needed to lead a retail business with modern tools. Alongside core business classes and general education courses, students tackle specialization topics like consumer behavior, retail management, supply chain strategy, and human resources management.
Oregon State ensures that online learners can access similar resources and services that benefit in-person students. Online students can utilize success coaching, free tutoring, career counseling, and digital library services.
Applicants to this program should apply online and include high school transcripts, a personal essay, and a resume. OSU has a test-optional admissions policy and does not require letters of recommendation for admission.
- B.A. or B.S. in Business Administration-Retail Management Concentration
- Credits: 180 quarter credits
- Length: 4 years
- Cost: $370 per credit in-state | $370 per credit out-of-state
- Mode: Fully Online
- Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
University of Toledo
Based in northwest Ohio, the University of Toledo is a public school serving over 15,000 students. Alongside traditional campus-based programs, the University of Toledo offers more than 50 online degrees and certificates, including a 100% online bachelor’s in business with a professional sales concentration. Students in this program gain essential business knowledge while developing sales skills in real-world situations.
Throughout this four-year business and sales degree online, students complete a mix of core business classes, sales specialization classes, and general education coursework. Some popular topics include professional sales, sales technologies and strategies, salesforce leadership, and business analytics. Before graduation, all BBA students in professional sales must complete an in-person internship at an approved site.
Freshman applicants must hold a high school diploma or equivalent with four years of both English and math at the high school level. Prospective students can apply online and must have a minimum high school GPA of 2.8. ACT and SAT scores are optional for some students, but those not meeting GPA requirements must submit their scores.
- Bachelor of Business Administration-Professional Sales
- Credits: 120
- Length: 4 years
- Cost: $398 per credit in-state | $398 per credit out-of-state
- Mode: Fully Online
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
What You’ll Learn in Your Online Sales and Retail Management Degree Program
Successful retail and sales professionals should be able to combine business acumen, psychology, strategic planning, and a little crystal ball gazing to ensure profitability and growth for their companies. Depending on your career path, you may be responsible for retail store location, display, and setup, product selection and pricing, product distribution, customer satisfaction, or employee hiring and support.
An online bachelor’s in sales and retail management will teach you the foundational sales and management knowledge and specialized skills that will enable you to pursue a path in any one or more of these areas. These programs cover topics that include supply chain management, consumer forecasting and behavior, situational supervision, customer service, and product development, pricing, promotion, and distribution while introducing the real-world technologies and best practices that inform this sector of the business world.
While academic requirements vary between schools offering these online programs, you should expect to gain some combination of these concrete, practical skills along with theoretical business knowledge. In addition to the typical classes in the virtual classroom, schools like the University of Toledo ensure that students gain hands-on experiences through internships before graduation, while ASU offers its Senior Career Transition Management course, which is a deep dive into the job application process and designed to help students land jobs by the time they graduate.
Continue reading as we review the main topics you’ll encounter when completing your online bachelor’s in sales and retail management.
Main Topics You’ll Cover
- Retail management principles
- Consumer behavior
- Marketing strategies
- Business analytics
- Customer service
- Business leadership
- Business law and ethics
Lower Division Curriculum (Years 1 and 2)
During the first two years of your online bachelor’s in sales and retail management, you can expect to knock out the majority of general education classes and foundational business coursework. The foundational business classes introduce vital theories and best practices that inform the more specialized courses you’ll encounter as the degree progresses. Continue reading as we spotlight some classes you might complete during your first four semesters.
- Business and Society: This course offers an overview of businesses in the for-profit and non-profit sectors and how they interact with social challenges and public policy. Students also become familiar with topics such as corporate ethics, environmental stewardship, and organizational management.
- Principles of Macroeconomics: This foundational business course takes a broad view of the economy, and tackles topics such as inflation, unemployment, fiscal policy, and economic growth. Students also explore the various methods of economic analysis.
- Principles of Marketing: This online course introduces foundational marketing concepts, including advertising, consumer behavior, marketing data, and product development. Students also explore current trends in digital marketing.
- Financial Accounting: This class challenges students to develop competency with foundational accounting concepts and practices, including drafting financial statements, analysis of financial data, and accounting for assets and liabilities.
- Business Law: This undergrad course introduces the foundational legal concepts that influence how business organizations operate. Standard topics covered include employment law, contracts, torts, and intellectual property.
Upper Division Curriculum (Years 3 and 4)
During the final two years of your bachelor’s in sales and retail management degree program, you get the chance to dig into upper-division major requirements. You’ve taken the time to build a strong foundation of theoretical and practical knowledge, and now you get to develop specialized knowledge in this business field. Here are examples of five upper-level courses you may encounter during your last few semesters.
- Business Communication: This online course challenges students to develop effective communication skills in a business context. Students cover topics including written and verbal communication, culturally sensitive communication, informational and sales copy, and communication and technology.
- Business Statistics: This class introduces foundational statistics concepts and their application to business decisions and operations. Students develop the skills to critically evaluate statistical data and cover topics such as probability, hypothesis testing, and regression analysis.
- Global Supply Operations: This upper-division course examines global supply chain operations through essential topics such as logistics, inventory management, transportation, and distribution. Additionally, students tackle complex issues in international trade policies and environmental sustainability.
- Leading Organizations: This class introduces the essential principles of personal and interpersonal leadership and how they can impact business performance. Students encounter topics such as group dynamics, leadership styles, communication, and organizational change.
- Retail Management: This online option introduces the factors, theories, and practices that influence retail management performance. Students cover essential topics like consumer buying behavior, retail marketing strategies, merchandising, store management, and technology developments in retail.
Admissions: Getting into a Top Online Sales and Retail Management Degree Program
Whether you’re applying directly to a school or through the Common App, be sure to submit a fully completed application. Consider having another person look it over to make sure you didn’t leave anything out. Omissions and mistakes can hurt your chances of getting accepted.
When applying to prospective online programs, you’ll need to provide official high school or college transfer transcripts. While it varies, many schools require a minimum 2.75 or 3.0 GPA for admission. If you’re a transfer student, the GPA requirement may be lower for you than for a new college student.
- Standardized Test Scores
While many schools continue to require SAT or ACT scores for admission, standardized test scores do not carry the same weight as even 10 years ago. Still, test scores can make up for a shaky transcript and can also offer eligibility for some scholarships.
- Personal Essays
Admission essays are typically short and offer a chance to tell your story. Unlike the cold metrics of test scores and GPAs, a personal essay is a chance for you to stand out from other applicants. Be sure to submit a polished essay that clearly addresses the prompt.
- Recommendation Letters
Letters of recommendation allow influential people in your life the chance to vouch for your skill, intellect, and character—or, why you make a quality candidate. Common letter writers include teachers, counselors, coaches, faith leaders, and bosses.
You are more than your grades or test scores; a resume allows you to showcase your work and volunteer experiences. Additionally, this is the place to outline extracurricular activities like sports, clubs, and any awards.
Be sure to allow ample time to get your letters of recommendation and complete your applications. While programs with rolling admissions accept students on a first-come-first-serve basis, you’ll still need to pay close attention to admissions and scholarship deadlines. If you have any questions during the admission process, be sure to reach out—admission counselors are ready to help.
Paying for Your Online Sales and Retail Management Degree: Costs and Financial Aid
Tackling an online degree in sales and retail management is a reliable way to enhance your career options and earning potential but you should expect an accompanying investment of both time and money. Understanding the actual cost of college and how to manage it is essential.
The cost for your online degree in sales and retail management is influenced by various factors, including whether a school is public or private and your status as an in-state or out-of-state student. Generally, paying in-state tuition at a public institution is the most affordable path, whereas private institutions tend to cost the most. Some schools charge identical tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students, including Oregon State University, Liberty University, and the University of Toledo. When seeking out the best program for you, be sure to consider cost alongside academic and career factors.
For online sales and retail management students, the cost of a degree is inevitably impacted by more than just tuition rates, and expenses like books and technology fees can add up. Still, online students often have access to more affordable tuition rates than in-person students. In addition to boasting more lower tuition rates, online programs also allow students to save in other ways. Online students typically save on gas, food, housing, and campus-related fees.
Take a moment to review the tuition rates for several top online sales and retail management schools.
|School Name||School Type||Total Credits||In-State||Out-of-State|
|Oregon State University||Public||180 quarter credits||$370 / credit||$370 / credit|
|Arizona State University||Public||120||$457 / credit||$552 / credit|
|Central Washington University||Public||120||$224 / credit||$698 / credit|
|Liberty University||Private not-for-profit||120||$390 / credit||$390 / credit|
|University of Toledo||Public||120||$478/ credit||$483 / credit|
While an online bachelor’s in sales and retail management will involve a significant investment of time and money, you’ll have access to multiple financial aid options that can help offset the cost of your sales degree online. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an essential part of the college admission process, and you’ll find out if you have access to various federal financial aid options, including loans, grants, and work-study programs.
Don’t be discouraged if the financial aid you receive falls short of paying for your entire degree. Like most students, you may need to search for other funding opportunities, including institutional and private scholarships. The University of Toledo’s College of Business and Innovation awards more than $400,000 in scholarships each year. Similarly, Oregon State University offers an array of scholarships for new and continuing students, undergraduate and graduate students, and individuals facing financial hardships.
Continue reading to get answers to some of students’ most pressing questions about online sales and retail management programs.
FAQs About Earning Your Bachelor’s Degree in Sales and Retail Management Online
Are online sales and retail management degree programs offered 100% online?
While not all programs are available online, there are multiple bachelor’s in sales and retail management that you can complete entirely online. Schools like Arizona State and the University of Central Washington offer 100% online programs that use asynchronous deliveries. Additionally, schools including Oregon State University and Liberty University offer online business degrees with specializations relevant to sales and retail management.
What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in sales and retail management?
Because a bachelor’s in sales and retail management is focused on foundational business and sales principles, graduates tackle a broad spectrum of jobs in varying industries. In addition to sales and retail management careers, students can pursue work as customer service managers, marketing specialists, and product managers. Additionally, graduates inevitably have the business skills to start their own businesses. We list some common jobs for sales and retail management graduates below:
- Retail Manager
- Customer Service Manager
- Sales Manager
- Merchandise Planner
- Purchasing Manager
- Inventory Control Specialist
- Sales Representative
Is earning a sales and retail management degree worth it?
This sales degree online is uniquely tailored for students interested in pursuing a career in sales and retail management. Still, because the online sales and retail management degree relies on foundational business topics, it can lead to an expansive list of career options. Graduates from an online sales and retail management program often have access to growing jobs as sales managers and advertising, promotions, and marketing managers. If you’re uncertain about a career in sales and retail management, pursuing a more general business degree is also a solid choice.
What accreditation should I look for in a sales and retail management degree program?
When reviewing prospective sales and retail management programs, be sure to seek out schools that hold institutional accreditations. Institutional accreditation verifies that a school offers quality academics, solid instructors, and financial aid opportunities. Common institutional accreditors include the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
While there isn’t unique programmatic accreditation for sales and retail management programs, students pursuing a bachelor’s in business administration can seek out programs that boast accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
How long does it take to earn a bachelor’s degree in sales and retail management?
The time it takes to complete your online bachelor’s in sales and retail management can vary, but full-time students often complete a sales degree online in about four years. Students with transferrable credits from prior college-level coursework can sometimes graduate more quickly. Additionally, students enrolling as part-time learners inevitably take longer to complete graduation requirements, while students in accelerated programs can hasten their graduation date.
Employment Outlook with a Sales and Retail Management Degree
Because a sales and retail management degree leans hard into foundational business topics, graduates learn skills that apply to numerous business-related careers. Add to this spectrum of jobs the various factors that impact earning potential, and graduates can expect an equally broad range of salaries. Common factors impacting earning potential include education, experience, geographic location, and specialized skills.
Those seeking top-earning positions in the sales and retail world should work toward managerial and leadership roles. Jobs for marketing managers, sales managers, and human resource managers all earn generous salaries that exceed a median annual salary of $120,000. Additionally, product development managers and merchandise planners earn more modest, though still higher-than-average salaries.
The employment outlook for sales and retail management jobs can also vary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that sales manager positions may grow by 5% between 2021 and 2031, while jobs for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers may grow by as much as 10% during that same decade.
Check out the table below to review salary and job growth data for sales and retail management jobs.
|Career||Median Annual Earnings (2021)||Job Growth (2020-2030)|
|Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers||$133,380||10%|
|Purchasing Managers, Buyers, and Purchasing Agents||$75,410||-6%|
|Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives||$62,890||4%|
|Market Research Analysts||$63,920||19%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics