How to Become a Store Manager?

Are you thinking of becoming a Store Manager or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Store Manager, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Store Manager job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become a Store Manager

A store manager oversees the general operations of a retail location. Previous experience in retail is an absolute must. Most store managers started on the sales floor or behind a cash register before they became store managers. If you don't already have retail experience, you should apply for an associate position or stock position to get your foot in the door.

Choose an educational path relevant to store management.

As you gain retail experience as a cashier, stock clerk, or customer service representative, you might consider pursuing a degree. While most employers don't expect a store manager to have any formal training outside of the workplace, a degree can give you an edge over other candidates. Some schools offer degrees in retail sales management. A degree in fashion management, business studies, or marketing can also make you stand out in a crowded field of manager candidates. The National Retail Foundation also offers a retail management certification program.

What type of degree should you pursue to become a Store Manager?

79% of people working as a Store Manager earned a Bachelor's Degree

What skills do you need to be a Store Manager?

  • Leadership
  • Good Time Management
  • Solution Selling
  • Excellent Communication
  • Excellent Organizational
  • Job Descriptions
  • MS Office
  • Business Processes
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Store Manager in the United States.

Continue to develop your current retail career.

On your way to becoming a store manager, don't overlook other positions that can help you grow in your retail career and bolster your qualifications. Working as a department manager or assistant manager is a common step before becoming a store manager. Be sure to participate in any trainee programs or apprenticeship programs that your company offers. The more in-store training and experience you have, the more likely you'll be considered for the store manager position.


Consider transferring for store manager opportunities.

Once you put some time in as a department manager or assistant manager, you might consider using your experience to leverage a transfer to another store within the company, especially if you work for a major chain with several locations. It isn't uncommon for retail workers to transfer for promotion. When possible, offer to work a shift at a store you would like to transfer to so you can get to know the employees there. Working at multiple locations is also an excellent way to get the attention of regional management, which often makes decisions when promoting employees to store managers.


Start looking for a store manager position with a new company.

In some cases, you may not be able to transfer within the company you already work for. If you're serious about becoming a store manager, you may need to start looking for a store manager job with a new company. As long as you have lots of retail experience, you should be able to find a career in store management that's right for you.

Store Manager Career Path

Store Manager

8+Years of Experience
$55K - $88K /yrMost Likely Range
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Senior Store Manager

2 - 4Years of Experience
$64K - $102K /yrMost Likely Range
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Store Manager IV

5 - 7Years of Experience
$62K - $98K /yrMost Likely Range
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Total Pay Trajectory

Store Manager Career Path

Store Manager I
Store Manager
Assistant Manager of Retail
Senior Store Manager
Store Manager Manager
Store Manager IV
Assistant Head Store Manager
Store Manager V
Associate Director of Retail
Head Store Manager
Senior Director of Retail Sales
Vice President of Retail Sales
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Related Careers in the Retail & Food Services Industry

Interested in other Retail & Food Services careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Store Manager skills. Discover some of the most common Store Manager career transitions, along with skills overlap.

25% skills overlap
20% transitioned to Manager