If you enjoy marketing, advertising, sales, and business as well as the latest fashion trends, you might consider pursuing an associates degree in fashion merchandising.
Through a fashion merchandising associate degree program, you can utilize your creativity and learn about the business practices of the fashion industry.
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Earning a fashion merchandising degree online can help you discover your potential within retail, corporate, and creative roles in the fashion world.
Online Associates Degrees in Fashion Merchandising
A fashion merchandising associate degree program offers you the opportunity to focus on spotting and forecasting the latest trends. It can also enrich your skills in the various steps of running a fashion-based business.
Each fashion merchandising online school will have its own unique program and curriculum, but most provide a deep dive into the world of fashion. This often includes courses on textiles, design theory, and color theory. Additionally, many fashion merchandising online schools offer training in areas that can help hone your skills in running a fashion-oriented business. These areas can include:
- Retail merchandising
- Online sales
- Social media
- Finances and accounting
Students often have the ability to focus on areas that most align with their interests, building upon their strengths while learning new techniques, theory, and trends.
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Students who complete their fashion marketing degree online can apply their skills to a variety of roles in sales, marketing, retail, and brand development. Your area of focus in your studies may help you decide on a potential career path. You may also choose to further your education with a bachelors in a variety of retail and fashion areas.
Earning your fashion merchandising or fashion marketing degree online could be the starting point for a variety of career or educational opportunities.
Fashion Marketing and Merchandising Careers & Salaries
Earning an associate’s degree in fashion merchandising can be the first step toward a variety of careers. The fashion industry includes a range of players to keep businesses running, from designers to sales staff. Knowing how to merchandise different types of fashion may lead to an interest in different professional paths.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here’s a range of careers related to fashion marketing and fashion merchandising.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Market Research Analysts||$63,920|
|Buyers and Purchasing Agents||$63,470|
|Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives||$62,890|
|Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers||$58,650|
|First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers||$39,230|
|Merchandise Displayers and Window Trimmers||$32,060|
|Retail Sales Workers||$29,180|
There are many avenues one can pursue with an associate’s degree in fashion merchandising, depending on the focus of your studies and the topics that interest you most. Some graduates create merchandise displays or work in a retail environment.
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You might wish to continue your studies to advance your knowledge in a variety of fields, such as marketing, sales, and purchasing within the fashion industry. Many entry-level roles within those sectors require a bachelors degree.
Fashion Merchandising Associate’s Curriculum & Courses
When selecting your fashion merchandising associate degree program, you’ll often be able to preview the required and elective courses in the curriculum. While each school’s program will be different, many fashion merchandising degree programs include courses similar to the following:
- Textiles: In this course, you’ll learn how to identify various types of fabric and clothing material as well as their place in fashion.
- Color and Design Theory: Not only is color and design important to making fashion “pop,” but it’s important for marketing as well.
- Visual Merchandising: This course can teach you how to create stunning visuals that attract eager customers.
- Retail Principles: In this course, you’ll discover what it takes to successfully create a retail environment.
- Multi-Channel Retail: Brick and mortar, online, and business-to-business retail each require different processes and principles, and this course covers them.
- Sales Strategies: Working with customers is more than answering questions and handing a receipt, and this course will help you identify ways to strengthen your selling skills.
- Evolution of Fashion: In this course, you’ll learn various fashion trends throughout history.
- Clothing and Culture: This course provides you with an understanding of how various cultures appreciate and develop unique fashions.
- Business Law: Taking this course can help you appreciate the fine points of successfully merchandising fashion within the law.
- Introduction to the Fashion Industry: Fashion is more than runways, design houses, and glossy photographs, as you’ll learn in this course.
Some schools allow students to fine-tune their focus on specific areas of fashion merchandising, such as social media, online entrepreneurship, or business-to-business retail merchandising.
Associate of Arts in Fashion Merchandising Admissions Requirements
Each fashion merchandising online school will have its own requirements for admission, so it’s beneficial to review the application process for each program or speak with an admissions counselor.
Many schools ask prospective students to provide:
- SAT or ACT scores (only some schools require them)
- High school transcripts
- Personal essay
- Professional or academic recommendations
Some schools may also require additional admissions requirements and an application fee.
Fashion Merchandising Programs Accreditation
When selecting a prospective fashion merchandising associate degree program, you may wish to prioritize those that are regionally accredited. These schools meet a higher level of educational criteria.
You can verify a school’s accreditation status by visiting the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) online. Accreditation is awarded to schools that have demonstrated a curriculum that provides top-notch education to students.
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There can be many advantages to attending an accredited school. For instance, you may have more options for financial aid and scholarships. Whether you choose to continue your education or pursue a fashion merchandising career, your future program or employer may require a degree from an accredited school as well.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
The cost of each associate’s degree in fashion merchandising program varies. You might want to explore your various options for financial aid or scholarships.
Prospective students can complete the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This program provides needs-based financial assistance to college students across the country. Additionally, you can also apply for scholarships. Many schools offer a variety of scholarships and grants for students based on academic performance or other considerations, such as financial status or participation in certain activities.
Some professional associations, community groups, and clubs offer scholarship opportunities as well. Tuition assistance may also be available through an employer.
What Is Fashion Merchandising?
Fashion merchandising is where art, style, and trends meet the science of running a successful business. Fashion merchandising professionals study markets, research and forecast trends, connect with designers and retailers, and create strategies to help sell garments to businesses and the public alike.
Have you ever wondered how trends get started, who buys the clothes that you see in your local retailers, and how a sketch of a piece of clothing becomes full-fledged fashion? If so, an associate’s degree in fashion merchandising might be a good fit for you.
Is Fashion Merchandising a Good Career?
Yes, fashion merchandising is a good career for many professionals. Because the fashion industry is global and also includes many specialty niches, there are many roles to be found within the field of fashion merchandising.
Graduates who chose to study marketing and market analysis may focus their skills on online merchandising or retail opportunities. Others may hone their sales strategies and techniques to build lasting relationships between designers and distributors.
Some graduates also pursue work within the fashion industry, using their knowledge of merchandising to fine-tune their design or promotional skills.
What Can You Do with an Associate Degree in Fashion Merchandising?
As consumers continue to spend a significant amount of money on buying the latest fashions, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a continued need for fashion purchasing and sales professionals.
Some graduates work as merchandise displayers, window trimmers, and retail supervisors. Those who graduate with an associate degree in fashion merchandising may also have additional paths available, such as working in marketing, retail, and even design. An associate can also act as a foundation for further study toward a bachelors.
When choosing an online program, you can take a look at the course offerings of each school to determine which ones align most with your career interests.
What Does a Fashion Merchandiser Do?
Fashion merchandising professionals are responsible for designing and implementing strategies to sell clothing to various outlets. This could include selling directly to the customer or through other retail outlets. Professionals in this field may choose to focus on a variety of areas of study.
For instance, they may wish to focus on retail opportunities, such as visual merchandising and creating displays that encourage customer interaction. Others might work in online retail opportunities, which can connect with social media marketing.
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Business-to-business sales may also be a consideration, depending on the aspects of fashion merchandising that most appeal to you.
How Much Do Fashion Merchandisers Make?
There are many key players in the fashion industry at every level, from representing new designers and small boutiques to working with large chain vendors. Each position has its own pay level and salary range.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those working in visual merchandising as merchandise displayers and window trimmers have a median salary of $32,060. Meanwhile, the median salary for buyers and purchasing agents is $63,470.
Most wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives earn between $30,620 and $125,750 each year (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Experienced fashion merchandisers may also pursue managerial career paths related to marketing, sales, and purchasing. Management roles tend to make above average salaries, but they often require additional education.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate in Fashion Merchandising Online Degree?
Full-time students who follow a 16 week semester can generally complete their associate’s degree in 2 years. Depending on the requirements of the program you select, it may be possible to complete an associate’s degree in fashion merchandising online in less time.
For instance, some programs follow 8 week semesters and allow you to remain enrolled year-round. If your school requires an internship within the fashion industry, this could add on to the total time required to complete your degree.
Is an Associates Degree in Fashion Merchandising Worth It?
Yes, an associates degree in fashion merchandising is worth it for many students. The field of fashion merchandising includes a wide variety of roles. Whether you are more interested in selling, buying, or marketing, understanding the ins and outs of fashion merchandising can help you prepare for a career in the fashion industry.
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Through a fashion merchandising degree associate program, you can learn more about the creative and business sides of the fashion world. An associates in this field could lead to further education as well as opportunities in retail, marketing, and design.
Universities Offering Online Associates in Fashion Merchandising Degree Program
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
The Academy of Art University offers an Associate of Arts in Fashion Merchandising that can be earned online. Graduates of the program may start their careers or move on to a BFA program. Coursework includes Introduction to the Fashion Business, Color Science and Fabric Technology, Retailing and Management, and more.
Academy of Art University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Berkeley College offers an Associate in Applied Science in Fashion Merchandising and Management. The program’s courses are available online and at multiple campus locations. The curriculum includes Introduction to the Fashion Business, Merchandise Planning and Buying, Principles of Management, Fashion Textiles for Apparel and Home, and more.
Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The Fashion Institute of Technology offers an AAS in Fashion Business Management. Students in the program are given opportunities to create digital portfolios and learn merchandising and presentation skills. The program aims to develop students’ creative and analytical abilities. It includes field trips to stores and corporate offices, internship and study abroad opportunities, and other hands-on learning experiences.
The Fashion Institute of Technology is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
SUNY Genesee Community College offers an Associate in Applied Science in Fashion Merchandising Management. The curriculum is designed to develop skills in project management, communication, and teamwork and provides the opportunity to participate in a fashion business co-op. The credits earned may be transferred to bachelor's degree programs at other SUNY schools.
Genesee Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
LIM College offers an AAS in Fashion Merchandising and Management. The program includes classes such as Sustainability and the Future of Fashion, Digital Tools for Fashion Presentations, Product Development and Merchandising, and more. Students in the program are given opportunities to participate in internships to gain real-world job experience.
LIM College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Madison Area Technical College offers an Associate in Fashion Marketing. The degree can be earned fully online or fully in person or in a combination of both. The program requires the completion of 59 credits and can typically be finished in 2 years of full-time study. Students are given the opportunity to gain hands-on experience by planning a student-run fashion show.
Madison Area Technical College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Mesa Community College offers an Associate in Fashion Merchandising and Design. Students can choose either the Apparel Merchandising track or the Fashion Design track. The degree is available both online and on campus, and students are given opportunities to gain real-world experience by participating in internships and hosting campus events.
Mesa Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Miami Dade College’s Associate in Science in Fashion Merchandising aims to prepare students for careers in the fashion business. The program requires the completion of 60 credits and can typically be finished in 2 years. Coursework includes Introduction to Fashion Design and Related Industries, Principles of Business, Fashion Forecasting and Research, and more.
Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The Miami International University of Art & Design offers an online program for an Associate of Arts in Fashion Merchandising. The program aims to prepare students for careers in retail management, marketing product development, and related fields. Accepted students are given opportunities to build portfolios and study under faculty with industry experience. The program can typically be completed in 6 quarters.
Miami International University of Art & Design is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Southern New Hampshire University offers an Associate of Science in Fashion Merchandising. The program can typically be finished in 2 years. The curriculum includes Basic Design and Color Theory, Merchandise Planning, Retail Sales Promotion, Human Relations in Administration, Textiles and Color Theory, and more.
Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Getting Your Associates in Fashion Merchandising Degree Online
If you have a flair for fashion and a knack for sales, you might consider pursuing an associate’s degree in fashion merchandising.
Through a fashion merchandising online program, not only can you learn to appreciate and understand fashion and trends, but you can also develop your business prowess.
Equal parts art and science, a fashion merchandising associate degree could be the first step toward a career in the fashion industry. You can start exploring accredited schools today to find the online fashion merchandising degree program that’s right for you.