An associate degree in sales management combines sales theory with practical skills that can be applied within management roles. In many sales management degree programs, the student has the option to pursue an emphasis in marketing as well. These degree programs include basic business principles such as accounting practices, legal and ethical guidelines, and relevant computer software. Students who graduate with an associate degree in sales, sales management, or sales management and marketing are generally qualified for entry-level marketing, management, and sales positions. This degree path may also be an option for professionals who wish to take the next step in their careers.
Why an Associate Degree?
In as little as two years, graduates of associate degree programs can begin their professional careers and earn competitive salaries. An associate degree may also serve as the foundation of a four-year degree. By transferring credits, a student can enroll in a bachelor’s degree program in sales management or marketing. This option allows students to pursue higher education in multiple stages or between different institutions. Because associate degree programs are offered by both universities and colleges, students have many different options in regard to their sources of education. Moreover, many associate degree programs are offered online, allowing students to maintain a flexible schedule for work or internships.
Getting Into an Associate Degree Program
Associate degree programs at junior colleges often offer open enrollment to students, meaning admission is granted on a non-competitive basis to as many students as possible. Based on both competitive and non-competitive enrollment processes, here are the things you can expect when applying for an associate degree program:
- A high school diploma or equivalent with transcripts
- TOEFL scores if English is not your first language
- Competitive schools will require a minimum GPA and ACT/SAT scores.
- Supplemental documents such as recommendations and an essay are generally required by competitive schools.
- An admissions interview may be required in both competitive and non-competitive enrollment processes.
Inside a Associate Degree Program
Sales management associate degree programs generally consist of 60 credit hours, half of which are general education requirements. The other half of the curriculum is comprised of specific requirements, and in the case of a sales management degree, course topics would include human relations, computer concepts, customer service, financial accounting, selling tactics, marketing principles, business ethics, and business management.
Students earning an online associate degree in sales management will share and access class materials through an online learning platform referred to as a virtual classroom. In virtual classrooms, teachers post assignments and lectures where students can access them anytime. Students can use the classroom to talk to other students, message instructors, take quizzes, and upload completed assignments. In many cases, tests are also delivered and taken online; however, some courses may require students to travel to testing sites in order to take a proctored exam. Check with your school of choice for details.
What’s Next for Sales Management Associate Degree Holders?
In order to become a sales manager, candidates are generally required to have sales experience. While the pay for a retail sales associate is relatively low, with a national median of $20,990 in 2010, there are other positions that pay much higher. A wholesale sales representative earns a national median wage of $56,620 per year according to 2010 statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor. Nationally, advertising sales agents earned a median salary of $45,350 per year; and sales managers earned a median of $98,530. Though these salary figures do not take variables like region or experience into account, they can serve as good guidelines for an estimated income.