Retail Management Associate Degree - Curriculum | Penn Foster College
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Retail Management Associate Degree Program Details

Penn Foster’s online Retail Management program can help you take your first step toward a rewarding and fast-paced career as a retail manager in a variety of settings. Your classes will cover foundational topics in business, such as Principles of Management, Marketing, and Economics. You’ll also study retail-specific courses such as Retail Management, Supply Chain Management, and more.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

The Retail Management Associate's Degree program prepares students for an entry-level position in the field of retail management.

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to...

  • Demonstrate effective written and interpersonal communication skills
  • Demonstrate a high level of inquiry, analytical, and problem-solving skills
  • Demonstrate effective quantitative skills
  • Demonstrate computer and information literacy
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the liberal arts, natural sciences, and social sciences
  • Discuss topics such as budgets and develop an understanding of financial statements
  • Understand and apply development of pricing strategies for products or services marketed to the target customers of a firm
  • Discuss the management function and application to the business organization and develop problem solving skills needed for management
  • Apply the factors affecting marketing plans to promote the business's products or services through an understanding of marketing principles, consumer buying habits, and advertising strategies
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principles and processes involved in the functional areas and the need for collaboration among the different functions
  • Demonstrate an understanding of macroeconomics as well as the modern market economy

Semester 1

Basic Skills Assessment

All degree applicants are required to complete two Basic Skills Assessments, one in reading and one in math, to determine their level of readiness for beginning their selected program. Additional studies may be required.

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program, and learn how to effectively manage your time, talents, and resources in your personal life, academics, and in your career.

Objectives:

  • Understand how to use your Student Portal.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
  • Examine your individual life goals and the steps needed to fulfill them.
  • Recognize how your personal financial goals mirror that of most businesses.
  • Use time management skills to make the most of your day.
  • Determine personal financial goals.
  • Set up a typical budget.
  • Explain why creative thinking, research, planning, gathering resources, and production and marketing are vital for the start-up and maintenance of a business.

Get better at finding and using information!

Objectives:

  • Search the Internet more effectively.
  • Get tips about search engines and reliable websites.
  • Learn how to search libraries and other information centers for important, useful information.

This course is designed to introduce you to basic business concepts, theories, and perspectives. It will serve as a basis for further learning in your program.

Objectives:

  • Understand the principles of business ethics and basic economics.
  • Compare the different types of business ownership.
  • Describe the basics of organizational structure.
  • Identify the differences between management and leadership.
  • Understand the importance of information technology in today’s business environments.

 

This course familiarizes the student with both the business environment and the manager's role within it. It covers decision making, planning, organizing, leading, and controlling, as well as developing an ethical perspective.

Objectives:

  • Summarize the functions of management and the basic steps in various planning processes
  • Explain how to make effective decisions as a manager and a leader
  • Describe the fundamental elements of an organization's structure and the components of an organization's competitive environment
  • Explain principles for setting goals that motivate employees, why companies develop control systems, and why teamwork is beneficial
  • Analyze why diversity is a critical organizational issue, the criteria for technology decisions, and managing change

Textbook: Management, 5th Edition

 

This course will hone your math skills so you are able to successfully use them in business and finance industries.

Objectives:

  • Use percentages, discounts, and interest formulas effectively.
  • Analyze present worth and sinking funds.
  • Understand how to buy in installments and price merchandise.
  • Explain depreciation, insurance, equations, and formulas.
  • Discuss investments and statistics.

Textbook: Practical Business Math Procedures

 

In this course, you will gain an understanding of artistic media, historical periods and artistic movements, the roles of the artist and the viewer, and the principles of art criticism.

Objectives:

  • Define the language, visual elements, and principles of design of art
  • Identify two-dimensional media
  • Identify three-dimensional media
  • Explain the evolution of art from ancient Mediterranean cultures through eighteenth century Europe
  • Identify features and popular examples of art throughout the history of African, Asian, Pacific, and American cultures
  • Compare the genres of the Modern and Postmodern eras of art from around the world

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Living with Art, 11th Edition

Proctored Examination

You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

Semester 2

Marketing is fundamental to the success of any business. Analyze the concept of marketing in a societal and global sense. Learn the four areas of strategy in marketing.

Objectives:

  • Identify the principles of product, price, promotion, and distribution by studying real world examples.
  • Explore how environmental factors affect designing strategies for marketing.

Textbook: Marketing

 

This course will allow you to build your computer skills through a combination of reading and hands-on practice. You will navigate popular software tools such as Windows® and Microsoft® Office.

Objectives:

  • Create, edit, and illustrate Microsoft® Word documents.
  • Apply formulas and functions to large data sets in Microsoft® Excel.®
  • Incorporate useful charts and graphs to summarize data.
  • Add, delete, sort, and lay out table data.
  • Create presentations in Microsoft® PowerPoint® using advanced tools, tables, and charts.

Get the skills and techniques you need to develop, draft, and revise college-level essays

Objectives:

  • Identify your purpose and audience. Read actively and critically.
  • Edit for standard written conventions.
  • Submit three essays (process analysis, classification and division, and argumentation) and a course journal.

Additional Course Material
Textbook: Successful College Writing

Learn about the relationship between biology and behavior.

Objectives:

  • Describe major theories in psychology.
  • Compare consciousness, memory, thought, and language.
  • Define intelligence, personality, and stress.
  • Analyze the role of gender in psychology.
  • Understand how community influences behavior.

Textbook: Psychology and Your Life

 

This course will provide an overview of macroeconomics and the modern market economy. Law of supply and demand, the cost of living, monetary systems, international factors, and short-run economic fluctuations will be examined and discussed.

Objectives:

  • Explain the economic systems and the economic perspective
  • Identify the key factors in macroeconomics and how economists study the economy as a whole
  • Explain the macroeconomic models and fiscal policies
  • Explain money, banking, and financial policy
  • Explain extending analysis of aggregate supply, current issues in theory and policy, and international economics
  • Analyze foreign exchange and investment and the effects each nation’s economy has on another nation’s economy

Textbook: Macro Economics

 

Learn the basic concepts and key motivators of electronic commerce.

Objectives:

  • Contrast E-commerce with traditional commerce.
  • Identify major market and enterprise issues that impact electronic commerce.
  • Explore how firms conduct business on the Internet, including their selling and marketing strategies.
  • Examine legal and ethical challenges that are unique to E-commerce.
  • Discover the major steps in implementing an E-commerce venture.

Textbook: Complete B2B Online Marketing

 

Proctored Examination

You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

Semester 3

Study basic algebraic concepts. Review the systems of equations, polynomials, and radicals. Learn how to factor polynomial expressions and simplify rational expressions.

Objectives:

  • Explain basic algebraic concepts
  • Solve and graph linear equations and inequalities
  • Analyze relations, functionality, and systems of linear equations
  • Prepare algebraic operations on polynomial and rational expressions and equations
  • Solve problems involving radicals and complex numbers

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Intermediate Algebra

This course provides an introduction to the various methods of organizing material for a professional setting. Students will compose business documents using the ABC method. These include memos, emails, outlines, reports and proposals, descriptions, and organizing materials. Students also work on honing their grammar skills.

Objectives:

  • Describe the basics of the writing process and the ABC method of organizing material for a document
  • Identify the parts of speech in a sentence
  • Demonstrate correct pronoun use
  • Choose proper and effective words for writing documents
  • Identify the elements of a well-written sentence
  • Demonstrate how to use length, directness, emphasis, and variety to craft impactful sentences
  • Explain how to construct a coherent paragraph
  • Describe how to write an effective cover letter and resume
  • Format and write an interoffice memorandum, a routine business letter, and an effective email
  • Identify the different ways to write for blogs, the Internet, and social media
  • Describe how to create an organized formal outline
  • Identify the types of research and methods of documentation used in business and technical writing
  • Explain how to create visual interest and clarity in reports with illustrations, tables, graphs, charts, and overall design
  • Explain the purpose and importance of various types of informal reports
  • Describe the nature of formal reports and identify their components
  • Differentiate among external, internal, informal, and formal proposals
  • Describe an object or a process and prepare a set of instructions
  • Describe the preparation and submission of professional and technical articles and manuals

This course will provide students with a basic understanding of the principles of financial accounting. Topics covered include analyzing transactions; completing the accounting cycle; merchandising businesses; inventories, assets, and liabilities; and corporations, stocks, bonds, and cash flow.

Objectives:

  • Solve important accounting principles and concepts by creating four common types of financial statements: balance sheet, income statement, statement of retained earnings, and statement of cash flows
  • Explain inventory systems, the inventory process, and the role of ethics in accounting
  • Explain cash and receivables, assets, current liabilities, and debt
  • Analyze stocks and the statement of cash flows and financial statements that are used to assess the value of a business

 

This course will teach you the principles involved in how and why consumers make decisions. Topics covered include influencing consumer behavior, consumer decision making, effects on research and marketing, factors that affect purchasing behavior, and consumer acceptance of products.

Objectives:

  • Define consumer behavior, segmentation, targeting, and positioning
  • Explain how individual influences, such as perception, memory, attitudes, emotions, lifestyles, and decision-making processes, all influence consumer behavior
  • Describe how different social and cultural groups, roles, and expectations impact consumer behavior

This course will provide you the opportunity to explore statistics and how they affect business.

Objectives:

  • Interpret and present data.
  • Analyze frequency distribution, averages, dispersion, and index numbers.
  • Conduct time series analysis.
  • Forecast business.
  • Apply the theory of probability and statistical inference.

Textbook: Statistics for Business and Economics

 

Choose one...

HUM104-Music Appreciation

In this course, you'll understand how to appreciate music by learning about the roles of the composer and the listener, the principles of music theory and instrumentation, musically significant historical periods, and varying styles of music.

Objectives:

  • Identify the building blocks of music a composer can use to create a piece, such as rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, form, and timbre
  • Explain the evolution of Western music through history, from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century
  • Differentiate between the music of the baroque era and the musical styles of previous time periods
  • Recognize the major characteristics of classical music, including form, melody, and instrumentation
  • Discuss the musical trends and innovations that occurred during the romantic era
  • Trace the evolution of American popular music in the twentieth century
  • Recognize the influence of world music on modern Western composition

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Experience Music, Fourth Edition

 

ENG115 - Introduction to Literature 

This course will allow you to develop your critical thinking skills and broaden your knowledge of the main genres of literature — fiction, poetry, and drama.

Objectives:

  • Explain how to effectively read fiction for both knowledge and enjoyment
  • Identify different styles and forms of poetry
  • Use what you've learned in this course to discuss, write about, and understand literature
  • Prepare a critical interpretation of fiction or poetry based on what you've learned in this course
  • Discuss how literary dramas differ from fiction and poetry
  • Identify different strategies of critical literary analysis
Proctored Examination

You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

Semester 4

This course is designed to introduce students to retailing in a rapidly changing environment. Topics covered include organization of retail stores, basics of retailing, management of a successful retail business, and merchandising principles.

Objectives:

  • Describe the functions retailers perform and the variety of decisions they make to satisfy customer’s needs
  • Describe the different types of food, merchandise, and service retailers; and their ownership structures
  • Examine how retailers use and coordinate multiple selling channels—stores, the Internet, catalogs, and so on to — interact with their customers
  • Discuss the process that consumers go through when choosing retail outlets and buying merchandise and how retailers can affect this buying process
  • Describe the development of retail market strategy
  • Examine the financial strategy associated with the market strategy
  • Describe the types of retail locations available to retailers
  • Identify the factors considered during the site selection process
  • Look at the firm’s organization and human resource strategies
  • Examine systems used to control the flow of information and merchandise
  • Detail approaches that retailers take to manage relationships with their customers
  • Provide an overview of how retailers manage their merchandise inventory
  • Explore how retailers buy merchandise from vendors—their branding options, negotiating processes, and vendor relationship-building activities
  • Address the question of how retailers set and adjust prices for the merchandise and services they offer
  • Look at the approaches that retailers take to build their brand image and communicate with their customers
  • Describe how to improve the ability of workers through efficient recruiting, socializing, and training
  • Explain how retailers can create a more appealing shopping experience by taking into account the store’s layout and design and visual merchandising
  • Identify how retailers can build a competitive advantage through customer service

Textbook: Retailing Management

 

This course will teach you the pros and cons of merchandising and retail buying.

Objectives:

  • Merchandising and retail buying involve domestic as well as global markets, various ethnicities, and the everyday tasks of working with wholesalers and the consumer market.
  • Discover buying for off-price and off-site retail operations, the buyer’s role, buying for various retail operations, multiculturalism, and merchandising policies.
  • Learn how to make purchases, including foreign market purchases.
  • Get important business etiquette tips for traveling abroad, purchasing on the Internet, and negotiating the purchase price and amount of products.

Textbook: Retail Buying

 

This course provides students with a foundation in the basic concepts of public speaking. Students will learn how to research, organize and write effective speeches, incorporate presentation aids, and rehearse and deliver speeches effectively. Students will prepare, rehearse, record and submit speeches in a number of rhetorical styles to be graded.

Objectives:

  • Describe how to effectively use of the 10 necessary steps to preparing and presenting a public speech
  • Demonstrate effective delivery and presentation techniques through practice and rehearsal
  • Show how to effectively organize and present a narrative/personal experience speech
  • Make effective presentation aids to enhance your public speaking
  • Produce a speech to inform your audience of a product or service
  • Prepare a speech to persuade your audience on a topic in which you are personally invested
  • Demonstrate the key elements of public speaking through a variety of formats and occasions

This course will help you understand the nature and scope of marketing research.

Objectives:

  • Learn about sampling and sampling methods.
  • Use primary and secondary data sources and questionnaire scales.
  • Analyze data.
  • Develop summary statistics.

Textbook: Basic Marketing Research

 

Choose one...

SCI120-Introduction to Biology

This course will allow you to explore the origin of life and the relationships among all living things.

Objectives:

  • Explain how organisms are structured and how they work.
  • Discuss the various forms of life and their processes.

Textbook: Essentials of Biology

 

SCI140-Nutrition

This course will allow you to develop a healthier lifestyle by making smarter nutritional decisions.

Objectives:

  • Explain the various components of nutrition as a science.
  • Describe nutrition from a global viewpoint.
  • Understand the importance of water and exercise.
  • Identify the basics of human growth and aging.
  • Discuss food safety procedures.

Textbook: Nutrition for Life

 

SCI110-Earth Science

This course will allow you to learn about planet Earth and the various aspects of the environment.

Objectives:

  • Describe specific characteristics of Earth.
  • Describe different types of rocks and minerals.
  • Discuss the various components of our solar system.
  • Explain the components of weather and climates.

Textbook: Earth Science

This course teaches the planning and the control of materials that move into, through, and out of stores. It covers transportation planning, inventory control, warehouse management, development of customer service standards, as well as the design and operation of supply and distribution systems. The course also discusses how the Internet and information systems support the previous activities.

Objectives:

  • Identify the principles, strategies, and goals of supply chain management
  • Outline the inventory and logistics considerations involved in the supply chain process
  • Describe how to manage a global supply chain using responsible practices and the latest technology

Textbook: The Essentials of Supply Chain Management

 

Proctored Examination

You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

Additional Details

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered by your Penn Foster Program. You should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where you plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in your Program. Please click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

Associate Degrees from Penn Foster College are awarded under licensing from the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education.

Penn Foster College Accreditation & Licensing Details

Penn Foster College has been nationally accredited for over 40 years, and has met the high standards of integrity and performance set by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) in Washington, D.C. Penn Foster College has been thoroughly reviewed and has earned several important accreditations and licensing. We also participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

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Looking to connect with other Penn Foster students? Our Student Community is the perfect place for you to interact with your peers — as well as Penn Foster faculty and staff — to discuss your online learning experience, congratulate fellow students, and share your Penn Foster experience.

Sample Retail Management Lesson

Penn Foster courses are written in a way that is easy to understand, and materials are broken down into manageable lessons. Take a look at what a Retail Management course would look like.
Penn Foster Sample Lesson
Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 7® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to participate in and complete your program.
Access to Microsoft® Office 365 is a requirement for this program.
We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
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Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
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