Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for your interest in the Retail Management Certificate and the WAFC. If you have questions about the Retail Management Certificate, please review the following frequently asked questions. Choose the question name to view the answer.

If you are unable to find your answer or have a specific interest or need, please complete our contact form or email contact@retailmanagementcertificate.com and one of our team members will be happy to assist you.

What is the Retail Management Certificate program? +

The Retail Management Certificate is an accredited Community College program available on campus at approved community colleges throughout the Western U.S. and nationally online. Coursework will prepare current and future retail employees for the fast-paced changes taking place in the retail industry, so they are better prepared to fill the numerous and varied management positions that are available.

The coursework incorporates educational knowledge such as technical skills, management styles, people skills, merchandising philosophies, and technology. Visit the For Students section to learn more.

Why should I get the Retail Management Certificate? +

According to employers, applicants and employees with the skills acquired in the Retail Management Certificate are more likely to be hired or promoted to management and leadership roles. The Retail Management Certificate provides the skills needed to become a retail manager.

What are the Retail Management Certificate classes? +

Colleges vary between 8 and 10 courses to cover the required material. Topics covered in the Retail Management Certificate include Human Relations/Organizational Behavior, Computer Applications, Business Communication Skills for Managers, Principles of Management, Principles of Marketing, Human Resources Management, Financial Management & Budgeting, and Retail Management. Course titles and official descriptions may vary. For a full list of sample courses and descriptions visit the Approved Certificate Courses page.

How do I get started? +

The first step for getting started will be to choose a community college. You can search online by choosing Find a College.

Once you have selected your school, contact the Retail Management Certificate representative listed and they will assist you in applying and enrolling. Additionally, be sure to notify your HR manager. Some companies offer tuition support.

How much the Retail Management Certificate cost? +

The costs and time to complete the program will vary based on college schedules and required courses. Once you have selected the college of choice you will want to contact the college representative to discuss costs for completion at their college and the enrollment process.

Many companies also offer tuition support and reimbursement. Check with your employer about potential education support.

How long will it take me to complete my certificate? +

Completion times for students vary depending on schedules however, many students complete the program in 1-2 years.

Can I take classes online? +

The Retail Management Certificate is available online or in person at over 130 community colleges throughout the Western United States.

The Certificate is also available 100% online through our approved National Online Providers for students in states where there are no approved participating colleges (either on campus or 100% online)

Locate a Participating College.

There isn't a college in my state. Can I still take courses? +

Yes. For students living in states where there are no approved participating colleges the Certificate is available 100% online through our approved National Online Providers.

Is the Retail Management Certificate available internationally? +

No. Currently the WAFC-approved Retail Management Certificate is only available in the United States and its territories.

How can I find out if my employer supports the program? +

According to employers, applicants and employees with the skills acquired in the Retail Management Certificate are more likely to be hired or promoted to management and leadership roles. The Retail Management Certificate provides the skills needed to become a retail manager.

See a list of participating employers.

Do I have to work in the Grocery Industry to participate? +

No. The approved curriculum is relevant to all areas of retail and business. View the course listing.

Is online learning for me? +

Online learning is an increasingly popular way for people to get access to the courses and knowledge they need.

People who learn effectively in an online setting are:

  • Self-motivated and willing to accept responsibility for their own learning,
  • Self-disciplined, able to budget their time effectively and willing to stick to deadlines,
  • Comfortable with technology, especially web-based and Internet technologies,
  • Willing to accept the challenge of being an independent learner,
  • Willing to take the initiative and contact their instructor when they have questions or concerns regarding the course,
  • Able to communicate well in writing,
  • Aware that the flexibility inherent in many online courses does not mean the course will be easy.

Sound like you? Consider if online learning is right for you:

Watch video provided by the California Community College Online Learning Initiative.

Take a quiz to find out if you are ready to take online classes provided by Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

I have taken several college classes in the past. Can I apply these classes towards the Retail Management Certificate? +

If you have taken community college or university courses in the past, you may have already completed several of the courses in the retail management certificate program. To determine if your previous colleges courses will apply and can be transferred, visit the find a college section of the website to locate a college in your area. Once you have located a college, you will want to contact the retail management certificate contact listed to discuss your past education, and determine what classes might be counted towards your certificate or if a placement test is required to place out of certain classes. It is helpful to have copies of  your past college transcripts available when you contact the college.

Who is the WAFC? +

The Western Association of Food Chains is a non-profit organization comprised of retailers and wholesalers in the Western United States representing over 7,500 supermarkets and $200 billion dollars in annual sales.

The WAFC’s primary mission is to provide educational opportunities for food industry associates and ensure employees have the skills they need for success in a retail leadership career.

The WAFC’s most far reaching educational program is the Retail Management Certificate, an accredited community college program that provides the core skills and knowledge to move into a management role in the retail industry. Read More.