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Top 11 Assistant Retail Manager Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications available for assistant retail managers to help them develop their skills and advance their careers.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 19 min read

Certifications are important for an assistant retail manager in the job market because they demonstrate that the individual has a certain level of knowledge and skill in their field. Certifications give employers confidence that the applicant is qualified to do the job and can be trusted to handle important tasks. Additionally, certifications help an individual stand out from other applicants and can give them an edge when competing for jobs. They also provide evidence that the person has taken initiative to further their education and stay up-to-date on industry trends.

This article reviews the top certifications for Assistant Retail Managers and explains how they can help to advance an assistant retail manager's career.

What are Assistant Retail Manager Certifications?

Assistant retail manager certification is a professional certification program designed to help retail professionals gain the knowledge and skills needed to manage a retail store. This certification is typically obtained through a comprehensive course of study that focuses on topics such as customer service, store operations, merchandising, marketing, and financial management. By obtaining this certification, an assistant retail manager can demonstrate their commitment to their profession and demonstrate their ability to lead and manage effectively in a retail environment.

This certification provides an assistant retail manager with the tools necessary to successfully manage a store’s operations from day-to-day operations to long-term strategic planning. The program also provides an understanding of the current trends in the industry, allowing managers to better anticipate changes in customer needs and preferences. Additionally, it enables them to understand how technology can be used to improve efficiency and increase sales. Finally, with this certification, assistant retail managers will be able to develop strong relationships with customers and vendors while developing effective communication strategies.

In sum, obtaining an assistant retail manager certification can help those looking for career advancement in the field of retail by providing them with the knowledge they need to excel at their job. With this certification, they will be able to more effectively manage stores and ensure that they are meeting customer expectations while also staying ahead of industry trends.

Pro Tip: When obtaining your assistant retail manager certification, make sure to take courses that are specific to the industry you are working in. This will ensure that you have the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in your role and can provide valuable leadership within the organization.

Related: What does an Assistant Retail Manager do?

Top 11 Assistant Retail Manager Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Assistant Retail Managers today.

1. Certified Retail Manager (CRM)

Certified Retail Manager (CRM) is a professional certification program designed to recognize and validate the knowledge, skills and abilities of retail managers. The CRM certification is administered by the National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest retail trade association, which provides education and resources for retailers.

The CRM program consists of three levels: Certified Retail Associate (CRA), Certified Retail Manager (CRM) and Certified Senior Retail Manager (CSRM). Each level requires completion of an exam, as well as a minimum number of years in retail management experience.

To become certified at any level, applicants must first complete an online application with NRF. Once approved, applicants can then register for the appropriate exam. Exams are offered twice a year at testing centers across the United States. The cost for each exam varies depending on the level; CRA costs $125, CRM costs $195, and CSRM costs $295.

Once an applicant passes their exam they will receive their official certification from NRF. This certification is valid for three years before needing to be renewed by retaking the appropriate exam or demonstrating continuing education credits in retail management topics.

2. Certified Professional in Retail Management (CPRM)

Certified Professional in Retail Management (CPRM) is a professional certification program that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated the knowledge and skills necessary to manage retail operations. The program is offered by the National Retail Federation (NRF), a trade association representing retailers in the United States.

The CPRM certification requires candidates to demonstrate their knowledge of retail management through an exam that covers topics such as customer service, store operations, marketing, finance, and human resources. Candidates must also complete a minimum of three years of retail management experience before they can take the exam.

The CPRM exam is offered twice a year, in May and October, at NRF-approved testing centers throughout the United States. The cost of the exam is $395 for NRF members and $495 for non-members. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately four hours to complete.

Candidates who pass the exam will receive their CPRM certification from NRF within two weeks after passing the test. The certification is valid for three years from the date of issue and must be renewed every three years in order to remain active. There are no continuing education requirements associated with maintaining your CPRM certification; however, some employers may require you to maintain your certification by taking additional courses or attending conferences related to retail management.

3. Certified Store Manager (CSM)

Certified Store Manager (CSM) is a professional certification program designed to provide store managers with the skills and knowledge necessary to manage retail stores effectively. The certification is administered by the National Retail Federation (NRF).

The CSM program consists of two parts: an online course and an in-person exam. The online course covers topics such as customer service, store operations, sales and marketing, human resources management, financial management, and more. It takes approximately 10 hours to complete the online course.

In order to get certified as a CSM, you must pass the in-person exam. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions that cover all aspects of store management. You must score at least 70% on the exam in order to pass it.

The cost for the CSM certification program varies depending on where you take it. Generally speaking, it costs around $600-$900 USD for both the online course and the in-person exam.

4. Professional Retail Store Manager (PRSM)

Professional Retail Store Manager (PRSM) is a certification program offered by the National Retail Federation (NRF). The certification is designed to recognize retail professionals who have demonstrated their knowledge and expertise in the management of retail stores. It is intended to provide employers with assurance that their managers are well-versed in the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in retail operations.

The PRSM certification requires applicants to pass an exam that covers topics such as customer service, sales and marketing, store operations, human resources management, financial management, and legal compliance. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately three hours to complete.

In order to qualify for the PRSM certification, applicants must have at least two years of experience working in a retail store or related field. They must also demonstrate knowledge of current industry standards through completion of coursework or other activities.

The cost for the PRSM certification varies depending on the type of package selected. The basic package costs $395 and includes access to study materials, practice exams, and a voucher for the final exam. Additional packages are available with additional features such as webinars or coaching sessions. Applicants can also purchase additional study materials separately if desired.

5. Certified Retail Associate (CRA)

Certified Retail Associate (CRA) is a professional certification that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and skills in retail operations. The CRA credential is awarded by the National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest retail trade association. It is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of retail operations, including customer service, sales techniques, product knowledge, merchandising, store operations, and more.

The CRA certification program consists of two exams: the Core Exam and the Specialty Exam. The Core Exam covers topics such as customer service, sales techniques, product knowledge, store operations, and more. The Specialty Exam focuses on a specific area of retailing such as apparel or foodservice.

It typically takes about three months to complete both exams and receive your certification. To get started you must first register for the exam online through the NRF website. Once registered you will be able to access study materials and take practice tests to prepare for the exam.

The cost of the CRA certification program varies depending on which exams you choose to take. The Core Exam costs $225 USD while the Specialty Exams range from $125 – $175 USD each.

6. Certified Merchandising Professional (CMP)

Certified Merchandising Professional (CMP) is a professional certification program designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of proficiency in the field of merchandising. The CMP program is administered by the International Association of Certified Merchandisers (IACM), and it provides a comprehensive curriculum that covers all aspects of merchandising, from product selection and pricing to marketing and sales.

The CMP program consists of three courses: Merchandise Management, Visual Merchandising, and Retail Management. Each course is offered online or in-person at an IACM-accredited institution. The courses are designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become successful merchandisers. Upon completion of all three courses, students must pass an exam in order to receive their certification.

The total time it takes to complete the CMP program depends on how quickly you can complete each course. Most students take between six months and one year to complete all three courses.

In order to get certified as a CMP, you must first register for the program through IACM's website. Once registered, you will be given access to the course materials and exams needed for completion of the program. After completing all three courses, you will need to submit your exam results for review by IACM before being awarded your certification.

The cost for becoming certified as a CMP varies depending on where you take the courses and how long it takes you to complete them. Generally speaking, most people can expect to pay anywhere from $2,000-$4,000 for tuition fees associated with taking all three courses online or in-person at an accredited institution.

7. Certified Visual Merchandiser (CVM)

Certified Visual Merchandiser (CVM) is a professional certification that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be successful in the visual merchandising field. It is a comprehensive program that covers all aspects of visual merchandising including store design, product presentation, customer service, retail operations, and marketing.

The CVM certification program consists of two parts: an online course and an on-site assessment. The online course provides foundational knowledge about visual merchandising and helps prepare for the on-site assessment. The on-site assessment consists of a series of practical exercises designed to test the individual’s ability to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios.

It takes approximately 8 weeks to complete the CVM certification program. During this time, individuals must complete the online course and pass the on-site assessment with a score of 80% or higher.

To get certified as a Certified Visual Merchandiser (CVM), you must first register with the National Retail Federation (NRF). You can do this by visiting their website at www.nrf.org/certification/. Once you are registered, you will receive information about how to access the online course and schedule your on-site assessment.

The cost for registering for the CVM certification program is $350 USD plus applicable taxes. This fee includes access to all materials needed for completion of both parts of the certification process as well as a one year membership with NRF which provides additional resources and benefits related to visual merchandising.

8. Certified Loss Prevention Specialist (CLPS)

Certified Loss Prevention Specialist (CLPS) is a professional certification program offered by the Loss Prevention Foundation (LPF). It is designed to provide loss prevention professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively reduce shrinkage, losses, and risks in retail organizations.

The CLPS program consists of two parts: a comprehensive online course and an exam. The online course covers topics such as asset protection strategies, inventory control systems, shoplifting prevention techniques, fraud prevention strategies, and security systems. The exam tests your knowledge of these topics and your ability to apply them in a professional setting.

The CLPS program takes approximately 8-10 hours to complete. You can take the course at your own pace or you can opt for an accelerated version that takes only 4-6 hours. Once you have completed the course, you will be eligible to take the exam which is administered by LPF.

The cost of the CLPS program varies depending on whether you choose to take it online or in person. Online courses typically cost between $150-$200 while in-person courses usually cost between $250-$350. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with taking the exam such as registration fees and proctoring fees.

Overall, obtaining a Certified Loss Prevention Specialist certification can help you stand out from other job applicants in the field of loss prevention and provide employers with evidence of your commitment to professional development and excellence in loss prevention practices.

9. National Retail Federation Certification Program (NRFCP)

The National Retail Federation Certification Program (NRFCP) is a certification program that provides retail professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the retail industry. The program consists of two levels: Level 1 and Level 2.

Level 1 focuses on basic retail concepts, such as customer service, merchandising, inventory management, financial analysis, and marketing. It is designed for entry-level and mid-level retail professionals who want to gain a better understanding of the industry. The course takes approximately three months to complete and requires passing an exam at the end of the course.

Level 2 focuses on more advanced topics such as data analysis, strategic planning, supply chain management, and ecommerce. It is designed for experienced professionals who are looking to advance their careers in the retail industry. The course takes approximately six months to complete and requires passing an exam at the end of the course.

The cost for both levels of NRFCP certification varies depending on whether you take the courses online or in person. Online courses typically cost around $400-$500 per level while in-person courses can range from $1,000-$2,000 per level depending on location and instructor availability.

In order to get certified through NRFCP you must first register with them by filling out an application form on their website. Once your application has been approved you will be given access to their online learning platform where you can purchase either or both levels of certification courses. After completing each course you will need to pass a final exam in order to receive your certification.

10. International Council of Shopping Centers Certification Program (ICSC-CP)

The International Council of Shopping Centers Certification Program (ICSC-CP) is a certification program designed to equip professionals in the retail real estate industry with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful. The program offers three levels of certification: Professional, Executive, and Master.

To get certified at any level, applicants must first pass an online exam. To qualify for the Professional level, applicants must have at least two years of experience in the retail real estate industry or a related field. For the Executive level, applicants must have at least five years of experience in the retail real estate industry or a related field. Finally, for the Master level, applicants must have at least seven years of experience in the retail real estate industry or a related field.

The online exam typically takes about two hours to complete and covers topics such as market analysis, leasing fundamentals, tenant mix optimization, financial analysis and more. The cost for taking the exam is $395 USD per person. Upon successful completion of the exam, applicants will receive their ICSC-CP certification which is valid for three years.

11. American Marketing Association Professional Certified Marketer in Retailing and Services (PCMR-RS).

The American Marketing Association Professional Certified Marketer in Retailing and Services (PCMR-RS) is a professional certification program designed to recognize marketing professionals who have demonstrated excellence in retailing and services. The PCMR-RS certification is awarded to individuals who have met the highest standards of knowledge, experience, and ethics in the retailing and services industry.

To become certified, applicants must pass an exam that covers topics such as retailing principles, customer service, sales techniques, marketing research, product management, pricing strategies, and more. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and takes approximately two hours to complete. Applicants must also demonstrate at least three years of professional experience in the retailing or services industry.

The cost of the PCMR-RS certification program varies depending on the applicant’s country of residence. In the United States, it typically costs between $395-$495 USD for members of the American Marketing Association and $495-$595 USD for non-members. The fee includes access to study materials and a practice exam.

Once an applicant has successfully passed their exam, they will receive their PCMR-RS certificate within 4–6 weeks after submitting their application. The certification is valid for three years from date of issue; after this period applicants are required to recertify by taking another exam or completing an approved continuing education course.

Do You Really Need a Assistant Retail Manager Certificate?

Whether or not you need an assistant retail manager certificate depends on your individual situation and career goals. The certificate can serve as evidence of a strong foundation in the principles of retail management, including customer service, inventory management, operations and financial management. It can also help demonstrate to potential employers that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to manage a retail store.

However, depending on your experience and qualifications, you may be able to get away without having an assistant retail manager certificate. For example, if you have prior experience in retail management or have completed other professional training related to it, then employers may not require a certificate for employment. Additionally, if you already possess other advanced degrees such as an MBA or are working towards one, then the certificate may not be necessary either.

Ultimately it’s up to you to decide whether or not obtaining an assistant retail manager certificate is worth your time and money. If you’re serious about pursuing a career in retail management, then it might be beneficial to invest in one as it could give you an edge over other job applicants and serve as proof of your commitment and dedication to the field.

Related: Assistant Retail Manager Resume Examples

FAQs About Assistant Retail Manager Certifications

Q1. What is an Assistant Retail Manager Certification?

A1. An Assistant Retail Manager Certification is a credential that demonstrates a successful completion of coursework and/or training in the field of retail management. It provides employers with assurance that the individual has obtained the necessary knowledge to effectively manage a retail store.

Q2. How do I become certified as an Assistant Retail Manager?

A2. To become certified, you must complete a program offered by an accredited institution or organization such as the National Retail Federation, or NRF. Programs typically consist of coursework, exams, and hands-on experience in a retail setting to demonstrate your proficiency in the role of an assistant retail manager.

Q3. What topics are covered in an Assistant Retail Manager Certification program?

A3. Topics typically include customer service and satisfaction, personnel management, inventory control, store operations and merchandising, financial management, loss prevention and safety, business law and compliance regulations, sales promotions and marketing strategies, among others.

Q4. How long does it take to get certified as an Assistant Retail Manager?

A4. The length of time needed to complete certification varies depending on the certification provider and type of program chosen; however, many programs can be completed within six months or less with full-time enrollment.

Q5. What are some benefits of becoming certified as an Assistant Retail Manager?

A5. Benefits include increased job opportunities due to enhanced marketability; greater earning potential due to higher salaries associated with certifications; improved professional credibility; access to industry resources; networking opportunities; and improved job performance due to increased understanding of best practices for retail management positions.