Education & Training
To work as a retail salesperson, you typically need to:
- have a high school diploma or GED; and
- complete short-term on-the-job training.
Education after high school
No formal education is required beyond high school. However, a college degree can be good preparation for selling high priced or technical products, such as cars or computers. Several fields of study provide a good background for this occupation.
Many employers require salespeople to have a college degree if their jobs are part of a management-training program. Be sure to take courses in business management, marketing, and computers if you are interested in a retail management position.
Retail salespeople learn their skills mainly through on-the-job training. In smaller stores, training happens one-on-one with a manager or owner. Larger stores have formal training programs. In these programs you learn about customer service, security risks, and store policies. You also learn how to operate cash registers and price-scanning machines. Training may last up to one month.
Some retail salespeople receive special training from manufacturers. This training is usually limited to expensive or complex items, such as computers or cars. You may also need special training if you sell very specific types of items, such as plants, fabrics, or health care products.
Many jobs are entry level and do not require previous experience.
Some jobs, such as selling cars, building materials, or computers may require previous experience.
Some branches of the military train people to work as sales and stock specialists. Training lasts six to seven weeks. Further training occurs on the job.
Related Programs (Current training programs available)
- Floriculture/Floristry Operations and Management
- Sales, Distribution, and Marketing Operations, General
- Retailing and Retail Operations
- Selling Skills and Sales Operations
Fields of Study (What to study to prepare for this career)
Click on any of the Fields of Study listed below to find out more about preparing for this career.
Helpful High School Courses
You should take a general high school curriculum that meets the state's graduation requirements. You will be required to take both math and science classes to graduate.
Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this occupation include:
- Principles of Sales
The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.
You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.
Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career.
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.