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Top 10 Retail General Manager Certifications

This article explores the top certifications available for retail general managers to ensure they have the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively manage their stores.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications for a retail general manager are important in the job market because they demonstrate to employers that the individual has a certain level of knowledge and experience in the field. They can also provide proof of specialized training and qualifications, which can increase an individual’s chances of landing a job. Certifications can also help to distinguish an individual from other candidates and demonstrate that they have taken the initiative to develop themselves professionally. Additionally, certifications may be required by certain employers in order to qualify for certain positions or promotions.

The purpose of this article is to review the top certifications for Retail General Managers and explain how they can help advance their career.

What are Retail General Manager Certifications?

Retail General Manager Certification is a program designed to help retail professionals gain the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively manage their store and staff. This certification can be helpful for current retail managers as well as those aspiring to become one. The certification program consists of courses that cover topics such as customer service, store operations, personnel management, financial management, marketing, and many more. These courses are designed to give retail managers the tools they need to successfully lead their stores and teams.

The certification also provides opportunities for networking with other industry professionals and gaining access to resources such as job postings and career advice. With this certification, retail managers will be better equipped to handle the day-to-day operations of their store while also staying up-to-date on trends in the industry. Additionally, employers may view holders of this certification as having higher qualifications than non-certified retail managers, potentially making them more attractive candidates for job openings or promotions.

Pro Tip: When considering retail general manager certification, make sure to research the various certifications available and compare them to determine which one is best suited for your needs. Additionally, many certifications require completion of a certain number of hours in order to qualify, so be sure to plan ahead and give yourself enough time to complete the necessary coursework.

Related: What does a Retail General Manager do?

Top 10 Retail General Manager Certifications

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

1. Certified Retail General Manager (CRGM)

Certified Retail General Manager (CRGM) is a certification program designed to provide retail professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to become successful general managers in the retail industry. The certification program consists of two parts: a comprehensive online course and an exam.

The online course covers topics such as customer service, store operations, marketing, financial management, human resources, and leadership. It takes approximately 40 hours to complete the online course.

To obtain the CRGM certification, applicants must pass an exam administered by the National Retail Federation (NRF). The exam consists of multiple-choice questions that test applicants’ knowledge of retail management principles. The exam fee is $200.

Once applicants have passed the exam, they will receive a certificate from NRF confirming their Certified Retail General Manager status. This certification is valid for three years and can be renewed by completing continuing education courses or retaking the exam.

2. Certified Retail Store Manager (CRSM)

Certified Retail Store Manager (CRSM) is a professional certification program designed to recognize retail store managers who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in their profession. The CRSM program is offered by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and provides a comprehensive set of core competencies that are essential for successful store operations.

The program consists of four courses: Store Operations, Financial Management, People Management, and Customer Service. Each course includes an online assessment and a final exam. To become certified, a store manager must successfully complete all four courses and pass the final exam with a score of 80% or higher.

The entire program takes approximately eight months to complete, depending on the individual's schedule. The cost of the program is $1,295 plus applicable taxes. This fee covers all four courses and the final exam.

To get started with the CRSM program, interested individuals must first register online at NRF’s website. Once registered, they will be provided with access to the online learning platform where they can begin taking courses and completing assessments. Upon completion of all four courses and passing the final exam with a score of 80% or higher, participants will receive their official CRSM certification from NRF.

3. Certified Professional in Retail Management (CPRM)

Certified Professional in Retail Management (CPRM) is a professional certification program designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in retail management. It is offered by the National Retail Federation (NRF), a non-profit trade association representing retailers in the United States.

The CPRM certification program consists of three levels: Associate, Professional, and Executive. Each level requires completion of an online course as well as passing an exam. The Associate level focuses on basic retail concepts such as customer service, inventory management, store operations, and marketing. The Professional level covers more advanced topics such as financial planning and analysis, human resources management, and business strategy. The Executive level covers topics such as leadership development and organizational change.

The certification process typically takes about six months to complete depending on the individual’s availability for study time. To get started with the program, individuals must first register with NRF and pay a fee of $395 for the Associate level or $495 for the Professional or Executive levels. After registering, individuals can access their online courses which are self-paced so they can work at their own speed. Once all course requirements have been completed, individuals must take an online exam which is proctored by a third party testing center. Upon successful completion of the exam, individuals will receive their official CPRM certification from NRF.

The cost of getting certified typically includes registration fees plus any additional costs associated with taking exams or attending conferences related to retail management topics.

4. Certified Retail Operations Professional (CROP)

Certified Retail Operations Professional (CROP) is a certification program offered by the National Retail Federation (NRF) to recognize retail professionals who demonstrate expertise in retail operations. The program is designed to help retail professionals gain the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in today’s competitive retail environment.

The CROP certification requires successful completion of an online course, which covers topics such as customer service, store operations, inventory management, merchandising, marketing, and more. The course takes approximately 10-12 hours to complete and can be taken at your own pace. Once you have completed the course, you will need to take a proctored exam to receive your certification.

The cost of the CROP certification varies depending on whether you are an NRF member or not. For NRF members, the cost is $295; for non-members it is $395. Additionally, there is a fee of $50 for taking the proctored exam.

Overall, obtaining the CROP certification can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks depending on how quickly you complete the online course and schedule your proctored exam.

5. National Retail Federation’s Certified Retail Executive (NCRE)

The National Retail Federation's Certified Retail Executive (NCRE) program is a professional certification program designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate a high level of knowledge and expertise in the retail industry. The NCRE is awarded to those who have achieved a specific set of qualifications and have demonstrated mastery of core retail competencies.

The NCRE program consists of three levels: Certified Retail Associate, Certified Retail Professional, and Certified Retail Executive. To qualify for the NCRE, an individual must successfully complete all three levels within a two-year period. Each level requires the completion of at least one exam and/or coursework related to the retail industry.

To get started, individuals must first register with the NRF online portal and pay an application fee. Once registered, they can begin their journey towards earning their NCRE by completing the required courses and exams for each level.

The cost to obtain the NCRE varies depending on which level you are attempting to achieve. The cost for each level ranges from $100-$300 USD, with additional fees for any required course materials or exams. Upon successful completion of all three levels within two years, applicants will be awarded their NCRE credential from the NRF.

6. International Council of Shopping Centers’ Certified Shopping Center Manager (CSCM)

The Certified Shopping Center Manager (CSCM) is an international certification program developed by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). This certification is designed to recognize and promote excellence in shopping center management. It provides a comprehensive understanding of the various aspects of managing a shopping center, including financial analysis, leasing, marketing, operations, and customer service.

The CSCM program consists of two parts: an online course and an exam. The online course covers topics such as financial analysis, leasing, marketing, operations and customer service. The course takes approximately 10 hours to complete. After completing the course, candidates must pass an exam with a score of 70% or higher in order to be certified.

To obtain the CSCM certification, candidates must pay a fee of $595 USD for ICSC members or $695 USD for non-members. This fee includes access to the online course and the exam. Candidates can also purchase additional study materials such as practice exams and flashcards from the ICSC website for an additional fee.

Once certified, CSCMs are eligible to receive discounts on ICSC events and publications as well as access to exclusive job postings and networking opportunities through ICSC’s Career Center. They also become part of a global network of professionals dedicated to advancing shopping center management practices worldwide.

7. American College of Business Administration’s Certified Sales and Marketing Executive (CSME)

The Certified Sales and Marketing Executive (CSME) is a professional certification offered by the American College of Business Administration (ACBA). The CSME is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of mastery in sales and marketing.

The CSME program consists of two parts: an online course and an exam. The online course covers topics such as sales process, customer service, marketing strategies, and more. It takes approximately 10-12 hours to complete the course. After completing the course, candidates must pass an exam to earn their certification. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics from the online course.

To get the CSME certification, candidates must register with ACBA and pay a fee of $299 USD. Once registered, they can begin taking the online course and then take the exam when they are ready. Candidates must pass the exam with at least 70% accuracy in order to earn their certification.

Once certified, individuals will be able to demonstrate their expertise in sales and marketing and gain recognition for their achievements within their industry or organization.

8. National Association of Home Builders’ Certified Home Builder Professional (CHBP)

The National Association of Home Builders’ Certified Home Builder Professional (CHBP) is a professional certification program designed to recognize the highest standards of excellence in home building. It is the only certification program that is endorsed by the NAHB, and it provides recognition to those who have achieved a level of expertise in the home building industry.

The CHBP requires applicants to demonstrate their knowledge and experience in all aspects of home building, including design, construction, marketing, sales, customer service, and management. Applicants must also pass an exam administered by the NAHB. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions on topics such as building codes, construction methods, business practices, and customer service.

It typically takes between six months and one year to complete the CHBP program. During this time period, applicants must complete a series of courses offered by the NAHB or other approved providers. These courses cover topics such as safety regulations, green building techniques, and business management principles. After completing these courses and passing the exam with a score of 70% or higher, applicants are awarded their CHBP designation.

The cost for obtaining the CHBP varies depending on which courses are taken and how many credits are earned. Generally speaking, it costs between $500-$1,000 to become certified through this program.

9. International Association of Exhibitions and Events’ Certified Trade Show Marketer (CTSM)

The Certified Trade Show Marketer (CTSM) is an internationally recognized professional certification program offered by the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE). The CTSM program is designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate a high level of knowledge, experience, and skill in trade show marketing. The certification is a voluntary process that requires the successful completion of a comprehensive examination.

The CTSM exam consists of two parts: a written exam and an oral presentation. The written exam covers topics such as trade show marketing strategy, budgeting, planning, implementation, evaluation, and more. The oral presentation requires the candidate to present a case study on a specific topic related to trade show marketing.

To be eligible for the CTSM program, candidates must have at least three years of experience in trade show marketing or related fields. Candidates must also submit an application form along with supporting documents such as letters of recommendation and proof of education.

It typically takes four to six months for applicants to receive their CTSM certification after submitting all required materials. The cost for the CTSM program varies depending on the country in which it is taken; however, it generally ranges from $400-$600 USD.

10. Institute for Independent Business’s Master of Business Administration in Retailing and Merchandising (MBARM).

The Institute for Independent Business’s Master of Business Administration in Retailing and Merchandising (MBARM) is an advanced degree program designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and competencies necessary to become successful leaders in the retail industry. The program focuses on developing a comprehensive understanding of retailing and merchandising strategies, operations, management techniques, and customer service practices.

The MBARM typically takes two years to complete. Students must complete a minimum of 48 credit hours of coursework, including core courses such as Retail Management, Retail Strategy & Planning, Consumer Behavior & Marketing Research, and Merchandise Management & Buying. Additionally, students must complete an internship or capstone project.

To be eligible for admission into the MBARM program at the Institute for Independent Business, applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants must also submit official transcripts from all previous institutions attended; two letters of recommendation; a resume; and a statement of purpose outlining their career goals and objectives.

Tuition for the MBARM program varies depending on the number of credit hours taken each semester. For example, tuition for one semester at 12 credit hours is approximately $7000 USD. Other fees associated with the program include application fees ($50 USD), technology fees ($200 USD per semester), and books/supplies ($500 - $1000 USD per semester).

Do You Really Need a Retail General Manager Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the individual and their current goals. For some, having a Retail General Manager Certificate may be beneficial to furthering their career or education in the retail industry. It could provide them with additional knowledge and skills that would make them more marketable for higher-level positions.

However, for others, obtaining a Retail General Manager Certificate might not be necessary. If they already possess the required experience and skills needed to become a successful manager in the retail field, then there may be no need for them to pursue such a certificate. Additionally, if they are just starting out in the industry and do not have any prior management experience, then it might be more beneficial for them to gain some hands-on experience before investing time and money into obtaining a certificate.

Ultimately, whether or not someone should pursue getting a Retail General Manager Certificate is up to them and their individual circumstances. Each person must decide if they think it will truly benefit them in their current position or future aspirations.

Related: Retail General Manager Resume Examples

FAQs About Retail General Manager Certifications

1. What is a Retail General Manager Certification?

Answer: A Retail General Manager Certification is a professional certification that demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of retail management principles and practices. It provides recognition to those who have achieved a certain level of expertise in managing retail operations.

2. What are the requirements for obtaining a Retail General Manager Certification?

Answer: The requirements vary depending on the specific certification program, but typically include completing coursework or training programs, demonstrating managerial experience, and passing an exam.

3. How long does it take to complete the certification process?

Answer: Depending on the program, it can take anywhere from six months to one year to complete all of the necessary requirements for certification.

4. Is there any cost associated with obtaining a Retail General Manager Certification?

Answer: Yes, most certification programs require fees for registration, course materials, exam fees, and other related costs.

5. How often do I need to renew my Retail General Manager Certification?

Answer: Most certifications must be renewed every three years in order to stay valid and up-to-date with current industry standards and practices.