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Do you love to shop? Do you browse catalogs just to see the latest items to hit the shelves? Is there a particular consumer item you know everything about? If so, a career in retail sales might be a perfect fit for you. In this career, you will share your merchandise knowledge with consumers and answer their questions. In addition to talking about the merchandise, retail sales persons collect money, open and close cash registers, make deposits at the cash office, stock shelves, take inventory, and prepare displays. Managers assume further responsibility, including supervising, ordering merchandise, and overseeing books.

Retail Sales Degree Programs

In the past few generations, the American economy has shifted away from manufacturing and into service. Sales and marketing professionals play a major role in helping consumers select the sources for their goods and services. Therefore, strong skills in sales and marketing can help any job candidate survive a competitive business landscape. Also, the most successful retail sales people are friendly, approachable, and enjoy talking to other people. While these traits most often come naturally, sales and marketing skills can be gained through an accredited degree program in sales or marketing.

While a college degree is usually not required for entry-level jobs in retail sales, a degree is often required for advancement. Advancement opportunities include becoming a first line store supervisor, assistant manager, manager, and purchasing manager or agent. Retail store supervisors and managers supervise retail store employees, purchase goods, and help coordinate store budgets and accounting. Purchasing managers or agents essentially shop for a living, purchasing the goods and services needed by a company or institution. Analytic tools to evaluate procurement options can be gained in retail sales degree programs.

Typical business program in retail sales include those in accounting, marketing, management, and sales. Degrees can be earned at the associate's, bachelor's, or master's level, and can be earned online.

Retail Sales Earnings and Career Prospects

With companies battling for the best salespeople, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) analysts expect the demand for skilled, experienced employees in most areas of the field to grow between 2006 and 2016. For retail salespeople, there is an expected growth of 12 percent. For first-line supervisors and other retail sales managers, growth is projected to be 7 percent. For purchasing managers or agents, though, employment numbers are forecast to remain stagnant.

Median earnings for retail sales persons, including commissions, were $9.69 an hour in 2007, or $20,150 annually. The highest earnings were enjoyed by those working for automobile dealers and building materials and supplies dealers. For retail supervisors and managers, median earnings varied. For first-line supervisors of retail sales people, 2007 hourly earnings were $16.57, or $34,470 per year. General and operations managers earned a median $49.89 an hour, or $103,780 a year, in 2007. Purchasing managers earned a median salary of $81,570, or $41.08 an hour, in 2007. For most of these retail sales employees, especially those in management, salaries were highest for those who worked in urban areas.

Specializing in niche fields can help sales and marketing managers convert prospects into customers and earn even more money for their companies and themselves. Therefore, many smart firms encourage their brightest employees to enroll in part-time sales and marketing degree programs with assistance from tuition reimbursement programs. Online career training enables successful staff to continue contributing to their corporations while building skills that increase their future effectiveness.

Pursue your Sales major today…