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Education and Career Overview for Fashion

Are you interested in pursuing a career in fashion? A job in fashion may be ideal for people who possess a passion for designing and/or working with clothing and accessories. While creative individuals with a flair for fashion generally gravitate toward work as a designer, there are several other career paths available within the industry as well. Some of the most prominent options include:

  • Fashion Designer
  • Retail Buyer
  • Retail Manager
  • Retail Merchandiser
  • Stylist
  • Textile Designer
  • Visual Merchandiser
  • Technical Designer
  • Garment Technologies
  • Fashion Illustrator
  • Fashion Advertiser

Degree Options

Some fashion professionals prefer to join the workforce as soon as possible. They expect to learn most of the necessary skills on the job and, usually, this will suffice.While a high school diploma may be enough to qualify you for some entry-level fashion jobs, most employers do prefer to see some level of formal education. There are programs available at the associate, undergraduate, and graduate levels. As a rule, however, those with more education are often selected for positions with increased responsibility and pay.

Associate Degree

Earning an associate degree in fashion, fashion design, or a related field is a good choice for individuals who want to pursue a career in fashion. A program like this helps students hone the basic skills needed to be successful in the industry. Associate degree programs are usually about 60 credit hours long and most are designed to be completed with two years for full-time students.

Undergraduate Degree

Those who want a more in-depth exploration of the fashion industry or who are interested in technical positions should strongly consider earning an undergraduate degree. people interested in education begin by earning an undergraduate degree. These programs will delve deeper into the field and, in many cases, will offer an opportunity to focus on a specialization, such as intimate apparel, textiles, or visual merchandising. Most bachelor’s degrees consist of 120 credit hours of coursework that can be completed by full-time students in approximately four years.

Fields of Study

The world of fashion is extremely vast, with numerous job opportunities available. Your individual interests within the field should dictate which educational program you select, as well as the career path you choose. Some of the most prominent fields of study in fashion are:

  • Children’s Wear
  • Embroidery
  • Theatrical Costume
  • Textiles
  • Millinery
  • Shoe Design
  • Illustration
  • Merchandising
  • Marketing
  • Business

Career and Salary Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of fashion design jobs available in the United States is projected to increase by three percent between 2016 and 2026. While this is slower than the average for other occupations, significantly more growth is expected in the retail trade industry. It’s projected that there will be a 22 percent increase in these jobs, as demand for fashion-inspired clothing is expected to continue rising. It’s important to note that competition for these positions is likely to be high. (Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary)

Salaries for professional fashion designers trend higher than other occupations, with a median annual wage of $67,420 in 2017. Those with formal education, established portfolios, and experience in the field will likely have access to more and better paying job opportunities. (Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary)


Fashion Designers. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved on August 13, 2018 from:

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