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Top 10 Retail Store Manager Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for retail store managers, including their benefits and how to obtain them.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications are important for a retail store manager in the job market because they demonstrate to potential employers that the individual has the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in the position. Certifications can also provide evidence of continued professional development, which is critical for any successful retail store manager. Additionally, certifications provide an employer with assurance that their new hire is qualified and up-to-date on industry best practices. Finally, certifications give retail store managers a competitive edge when it comes to finding job opportunities and negotiating salaries.

The purpose of this article is to review the top certifications for Retail Store Managers and explain how they can help to enhance a retail store manager's career.

What are Retail Store Manager Certifications?

Retail store manager certification is a type of professional certification designed to help retail store managers develop their skills and knowledge in order to better manage their stores. The certification typically requires the completion of courses, workshops, or seminars that cover topics such as customer service, marketing, operations, financial management, and more. This type of certification can be beneficial for retail managers in a variety of ways.

First, it can provide them with a comprehensive understanding of the various aspects of running a successful retail store. This includes topics such as how to create an effective customer experience, how to properly manage inventory levels, and how to use marketing strategies that will maximize profits. Additionally, it can also help them stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices so they can make informed decisions when it comes to managing their stores. Finally, having this type of certification may also give them an edge when applying for jobs due to demonstrating their commitment to professional development and growth.

Pro Tip: When considering a retail store manager certification, look for programs that offer hands-on experience in addition to classroom instruction. This will ensure that you gain the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively manage a retail store. Additionally, seek out certifications that offer continuing education opportunities to stay up-to-date on the ever-changing retail industry.

Related: What does a Retail Store Manager do?

Top 10 Retail Store Manager Certifications

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

1. Certified Retail Store Manager (CRSM)

Certified Retail Store Manager (CRSM) is a professional certification program designed to recognize retail professionals who demonstrate excellence in store management. The certification is offered by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and is recognized as an industry standard for retail store managers.

The certification process includes a comprehensive exam that covers topics such as customer service, inventory management, merchandising, human resources, and financial management. To be eligible for the CRSM certification, applicants must have at least two years of experience in a retail environment and complete at least 30 hours of approved training courses.

The exam takes approximately three hours to complete and costs $299. Once the exam has been completed successfully, applicants will receive their CRSM certificate within four weeks. The certificate is valid for three years and must be renewed every three years with continuing education credits or another approved training course.

2. Certified Professional Retail Store Manager (CPRSM)

Certified Professional Retail Store Manager (CPRSM) is a professional certification program designed to recognize the knowledge and skills of retail store managers. It is offered by the National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest retail trade association.

The CPRSM program is an in-depth study of retail management principles and best practices, including topics such as customer service, merchandising and marketing, operations, human resources, financial management, and leadership. The program also includes a comprehensive exam that tests a candidate’s knowledge and understanding of these topics.

It takes approximately 8-10 weeks to complete the CPRSM program. To become certified, candidates must successfully complete all coursework and pass the exam with a score of 80% or higher.

The cost for the CPRSM program varies depending on whether you take it online or in person. The online version costs $399 while the in-person version costs $599.

3. Certified Retail Manager (CRM)

Certified Retail Manager (CRM) is a professional certification program designed to recognize the knowledge, skills and abilities of retail managers. The CRM program is offered by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and is the only national retail certification program available in the United States.

The CRM program consists of four courses: Introduction to Retailing, Store Operations, Human Resources Management and Financial Management. Each course covers topics such as customer service, inventory management, store layout and design, personnel management and financial analysis. Upon completion of all four courses, participants are eligible to take an online exam which tests their knowledge of retailing principles and best practices.

It typically takes about three months to complete all four courses and pass the online exam. The cost for the entire CRM program is $1,400 USD. To get started with the CRM program you must first register with NRF at www.nrf.com/crm-program. Once registered you will be able to purchase study materials for each course and access additional resources such as webinars and practice exams that can help prepare you for the online exam.

4. Certified Sales Associate (CSA)

Certified Sales Associate (CSA) is a professional certification program designed to provide sales professionals with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to be successful in today’s competitive marketplace. The CSA certification is administered by the National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP) and is recognized by employers as a mark of excellence in sales.

The CSA program consists of two parts: an online course and an exam. The online course covers topics such as customer service, communication, negotiation, product knowledge, selling strategies, and more. The exam tests your knowledge of these topics and is divided into three sections: written questions, multiple choice questions, and practical application questions.

It typically takes about 10-12 weeks to complete the CSA program. You can take the course at your own pace or enroll in a classroom setting if available. The cost for the program varies depending on how you choose to take it but generally ranges from $500-$1,000 USD. To get certified, you must pass the exam with a score of 70% or higher. Once you have passed the exam and received your certificate, you will be able to use the CSA designation on your resume and other professional documents.

5. National Retail Federation Certification Program (NRFCP)

The National Retail Federation Certification Program (NRFCP) is a comprehensive certification program that provides retailers with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in today’s competitive retail environment. The program is designed to help retailers understand the fundamentals of retail operations, including customer service, product selection and pricing, store layout and design, inventory management, marketing, sales strategies, and more.

The NRFCP consists of four levels of certification: Certified Associate (CA), Certified Professional (CP), Certified Expert (CE), and Certified Master (CM). Each level requires completion of a series of courses and exams. The CA level is designed for entry-level professionals who are just beginning their careers in retail; the CP level is for those looking to advance their career; the CE level is for experienced professionals who want to become experts in the field; and the CM level is for senior-level executives who are responsible for making key decisions within their organizations.

It typically takes between one and two years to complete all four levels of certification. To get started on your NRFCP journey, you must first register with the National Retail Federation as an individual or business. Once registered, you will be able to access course materials online or through a local training provider. You will then need to pass each course's exam before progressing to the next level.

The cost of the NRFCP varies depending on which courses you take and whether you choose an online or in-person training provider. Generally speaking, it can range from $500-$2,500 USD per course.

6. National Association of Store Managers Certification (NASMC)

The National Association of Store Managers Certification (NASMC) is a certification program designed to recognize the skills and knowledge of store managers in the retail industry. The NASMC certification is awarded to those who demonstrate mastery of the core competencies required for successful store management.

The NASMC certification process takes approximately two months to complete, depending on how quickly you can complete the required courses and exams. To get certified, you must first register with the National Association of Store Managers and then complete a series of online courses and exams. After completing all requirements, you will receive your official NASMC certificate.

The cost for the NASMC certification varies depending on which package you choose. The basic package costs $395 and includes access to all course materials, exams, and a one-year membership in the National Association of Store Managers. There are also more comprehensive packages available that include additional benefits such as personalized coaching sessions or discounts on future courses and certifications.

7. Professional in Retail Management (PRM)

Professional in Retail Management (PRM) is a certification program offered by the National Retail Federation (NRF). It is designed to provide retail professionals with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to excel in their roles. The program consists of five courses that cover topics such as customer service, sales and marketing, store operations, financial management, and technology.

The PRM certification program takes approximately six months to complete. To get started, individuals must first register for the program through the NRF website. After registering, applicants will be required to take an online assessment test to assess their knowledge of retail management topics. Once they have passed this assessment test, they can then proceed with taking the five courses that make up the PRM certification program.

The cost of the PRM certification program varies depending on which option you choose. The full program costs $2,000 USD and includes all five courses plus access to additional resources such as webinars and e-learning modules. There are also options for individual courses at a cost of $400 USD each or a bundle package that includes four courses for $1,500 USD.

Once an individual has completed all five courses and passed the final exam with a score of 70% or higher, they will receive their PRM certification from the NRF. This certificate is valid for three years and can be renewed upon completion of additional training or continuing education credits.

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

The International Council of Shopping Centers Certification Program (ICSC-CP) is a professional certification program designed to recognize the expertise, knowledge and commitment of retail real estate professionals. It provides a comprehensive understanding of the industry’s best practices and standards. The ICSC-CP certification is an internationally recognized designation that demonstrates an individual's commitment to excellence in shopping center management.

The ICSC-CP program consists of three levels: Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. Each level requires the successful completion of a series of courses and exams. Level 1 focuses on basic concepts, while Levels 2 and 3 cover more advanced topics such as leasing, marketing, finance and operations.

The process to obtain the ICSC-CP certification typically takes between six months to one year depending on how quickly you complete your coursework and exams. To get started, you must first register for the program online at www.icsc.org/certification/. Once registered, you will be provided with access to all required course materials which can be completed online or in person through ICSC workshops or seminars. After completing the coursework for each level, you must pass an exam before moving onto the next level.

The cost for obtaining the ICSC-CP certification varies depending on which level you are attempting to achieve and whether or not you are a member of ICSC. Generally speaking, it costs around $500-$1,000 per level plus additional fees for any courses or workshops taken outside of ICSC’s offerings.

9. Certified Loss Prevention Manager (CLPM)

Certified Loss Prevention Manager (CLPM) is a certification program designed to provide individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively manage loss prevention in retail, hospitality, and other industries. The program is offered by the Loss Prevention Foundation (LPF), an international organization dedicated to providing education, training, and certification for loss prevention professionals.

The CLPM certification consists of five courses that cover topics such as security systems, risk management, asset protection, legal issues, and customer service. Each course requires approximately 10 hours of instruction and can be completed online or in-person at one of LPF's accredited schools. After completing all five courses, students must pass an exam to become certified.

It typically takes between two and four months to complete the CLPM certification program depending on how quickly you complete the courses.

To get your CLPM certification, you must first register with the LPF website and pay a registration fee of $99 USD. You will then be able to access the course materials and take the exams when ready. Once all five courses have been completed successfully and you have passed the exam, you will receive your CLPM certificate from LPF.

The total cost of becoming a Certified Loss Prevention Manager is $599 USD which includes registration fees, course materials, and exam fees.

10. Certified Inventory Manager (CIM).

Certified Inventory Manager (CIM) is a professional certification program that provides inventory and supply chain professionals with the skills and knowledge needed to effectively manage their inventory. The CIM program is administered by the International Association for Inventory Management (IAIM).

The CIM program consists of three levels: Certified Inventory Manager (CIM), Certified Professional Inventory Manager (CPIM), and Certified Master Inventory Manager (CMIM). To become certified, candidates must pass an exam at each level. The exams are offered through IAIM or through approved third-party providers.

It typically takes six to twelve months to complete the CIM program, depending on how quickly you can study and prepare for the exams. To get started, you will need to register with IAIM and purchase a study guide. You can then begin studying for the exams using the materials provided in your study guide. Once you have completed all three levels of the CIM program, you will be eligible to receive your certification.

The cost of the CIM program varies depending on which provider you choose to take your exams from. Generally speaking, it costs between $400-$800 USD to become certified in all three levels of the CIM program.

Do You Really Need a Retail Store Manager Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the individual's situation. For some, a retail store manager certificate may be necessary in order to gain employment or promotion within the retail industry. For others, it may not be necessary but could still provide added value.

For those who are looking to enter the retail industry, having a retail store manager certificate can demonstrate to potential employers that you have taken the time to learn the skills and knowledge that is necessary for success in this field. It can also show potential employers that you are committed to your career and have taken steps to improve yourself and your abilities.

On the other hand, if you already have experience in the retail field, then a certificate may not be necessary unless you want it as proof of your knowledge and expertise. In this case, it would likely be more beneficial for you to focus on gaining additional experience or furthering your education instead of obtaining a certificate.

Ultimately, whether or not someone needs a retail store manager certificate is largely dependent on their individual goals and circumstances. The decision should be made based on what will best help them achieve their desired outcomes in the most efficient way possible.

Related: Retail Store Manager Resume Examples

FAQs About Retail Store Manager Certifications

FAQ 1: What is a Retail Store Manager Certification?

Answer: A Retail Store Manager Certification is an official recognition of a person’s knowledge and skills in managing retail stores. It validates the individual’s expertise in areas such as store operations, customer service, marketing, merchandising, inventory management, and financial management.

FAQ 2: How do I obtain a Retail Store Manager Certification?

Answer: To obtain a Retail Store Manager Certification, you must pass an exam administered by an accredited organization. The exam typically covers topics such as retail operations, customer service, marketing and merchandising, inventory management, and financial management.

FAQ 3: Is there any cost associated with obtaining a Retail Store Manager Certification?

Answer: Yes, there may be fees associated with taking the certification exam or enrolling in a training program. Additionally, some organizations may charge annual membership fees to maintain your certification status.

FAQ 4: Are there any prerequisites for obtaining a Retail Store Manager Certification?

Answer: Depending on the organization offering the certification program, there may be certain prerequisites that need to be fulfilled before taking the exam. This could include having prior experience in retail operations or completing certain courses related to retail management.

FAQ 5: How long does it take to complete the certification process?

Answer: The time it takes to complete the certification process will vary depending on the organization offering the program and the number of courses or exams required for completion. Generally speaking however it usually takes several months from start to finish.