Minnesota State College Southeast
A Technical & Community College

Retail Merchandising Sales Associate - Diploma

Career Area: Business & Management
Program: Retail & Sales Management
Campus(es): Winona

Close the deal on a successful new career in retail merchandising and sales.

In our one-year diploma in Retail Merchandising Sales Associate, you will focus on marketing, sales, and advertising as well as visual merchandising, retail business operations, and communications skills as they apply to selling.

The skills you learn at Minnesota State College Southeast in Winona will go with you whether you choose to enter the workforce upon graduation or continue your education. There is constant demand for employees in this field.

Coursework is varied and you will learn from textbooks as well as class discussions. You will work on real life, up-to-date marketing situations using programs such as Microsoft PowerPoint and online resources. In fact, you'll have an opportunity to gain valuable real-world experience in an internship or on-the-job cooperative arrangement.

Our Retail & Sales Management program has had 100% placement in the past several years. You'll be ready to start work when you finish your diploma!

Apply now for admission to MSC Southeast

Career Field: Business Management & Administration
Cluster: Business Management & Administration
Pathway: General Management, Merchandising & Professional Sales
Recommended high school classes and basic job/program skills

Download the Program Plan


1) 1000 level (minimum) General Education courses required unless specified

Retail Merchandising Sales Associate - 34 credit Diploma
Program Reports

Computer requirement
Choose digital literacy courses totaling 3 credits. View the available Digital Literacy courses.
3 cr
English/Communications requirement
Choose one 2 credit (or greater) English or Communications course.
2 cr
Math requirement
Choose one 2 credit (or greater) Math course.
2 cr
7 crs
Technical electives (see advisor for approved electives)
Choose one or more Technical electives.
4 cr
Introduction to Marketing
This course introduces the basic principles of marketing and how they apply to our economy today. The student will be given the opportunity to apply elements of the marketing mix and market research in case studies. (Prerequisite: None) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
Introduction to Sales
This course covers the role of sales in the economy, the importance of a positive sales attitude, the importance of communication skills, the basic steps of a sale, and how a salesperson is viewed as a representative of a specific company. (Prerequisite: None) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
This course covers the fundamentals of sales promotion, the types of promotional tools available, and effective use of those tools. This course also focuses on advertising including the various types of retail advertising options, the parts of the advertisement, and the creation of actual advertisements as a part of class work. (Prerequisite: None) (3 credit: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
Visual Merchandising
Visual display is an important part of the selling process. In this course, the student will analyze store image and create displays. The student will receive instruction on the principles and elements of design, lighting techniques, and how to utilize the appropriate props, mannequins, and fixtures. Students are required to build various types of displays. (Prerequisite: None) (2 credits: 1 lecture/1 lab)

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2 cr
Retail Business Operations
The basic operational side of a retailing business is the focus of this course. The course covers information on housekeeping, cashiering, customer service, security, shoplifting, marking, receiving and storing of merchandise. Principles and techniques for physical layout of the selling floor utilizing retail layout principles to create a store image and ambiance along with the calculation of layout profitability ratios are addressed. (Prerequisite: None) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
Applied Sales
This course focuses on practical application of communication skills as they apply to selling. Primary attention is given to customer prospecting, utilization of information and skills to appeal to customer needs, completing the sale, and follow up and review. Significant time is spent planning, delivering and critiquing sales presentation. (Prerequisite: Instructor Approval) (3 credits: 0 lecture/3 lab)

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3 cr
This course is designed to provide the student with a purposeful occupational experience in the wholesale-retail marketing industry. Since each Supervised Occupational Experience is an individualized experience, a training plan is specifically created for each student in conjunction with the training station the student is assigned to. Supervised Occupational Experience can be offered as a cooperative arrangement, an internship arrangement, or other appropriate work experience arrangement. (Prerequisite: Instructor Approval) (6 credits: 0 lecture/0 lab/6 OJT)

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6 cr
27 crs

Total Credit Requirement - 34

Estimated Costs for this Major

Approximate Tuition/Fees:$6,616
Minimum Tool Cost:N/A
Estimated Total:$7,416


Career Opportunities

  • Store/District Manager
  • Brand Manager
  • Retail Buyer
  • Retail Manager
  • Retail Sales
  • Customer Service Representative


Retail and Sales Management program graduates will be able to:

  1. Communicate with prospects/customers using above average communication skills.
  2. Negotiate win/win outcomes with prospects and customers.
  3. Perform customer relationship management techniques.
  4. Quality prospects and analyze customer needs.
  5. Demonstrate human relation skills on the job.
  6. Perform the steps of the professional selling process.
  7. Demonstrate an understanding of the marketing concept.


  • Working in sales/marketing gives you the ability to work in an area of interest to you
  • Courses are focused on the latest trends in sales and marketing
  • Marketing is integrated into every course taught
  • A wide variety of jobs are available to you upon graduation


  • James Elvidge holds four degrees from Minnesota State College Southeast: Undercar Certificate, Automotive Technology, Retail Management, and Sales Management. While a student, he competed at the international level in Collegiate DECA, winning the first place award in Sales Manager Meeting (2015). Having returned to MSC Southeast in 2019 as an instructor in the Retail and Sales Management program, he also supervises Winona Student Senate and is the mentor for Collegiate DECA.


Other Majors in the Retail & Sales Management program

Retail Management AAS

Sales Management AAS

Sales Representative DIP

Apply Now!

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Transfer Credits

Expand your opportunities. Learn how your credits can transfer to other colleges and universities.

College Articulated Transfer Agreements: Specific agreements between MSC Southeast and other institutions to accept transfer credits.

Minnesota Transfer: Transfer information provided by Minnesota State colleges and universities, Minnesota private colleges, and the University of Minnesota.

Transferology: A nationwide network to assist students in determining which courses will transfer.



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RED WING CAMPUS | 308 Pioneer Road | Red Wing, MN 55066 | 651-385-6300
WINONA CAMPUS | 1250 Homer Road | Winona, MN 55987 | 507-453-2700

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