Accessory Design Schools and Colleges: How to Choose

Aspiring accessory designers can find design programs at traditional universities or may choose to attend fashion or design schools. Both undergraduate and graduate degrees in accessory design are available. Important considerations for selecting a college may include internship opportunities, school location and access to modern facilities.

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Accessory design, as part of the world of fashion, is a competitive field that requires skilled craftsmanship and knowledge of modern technology to succeed. Some schools with accessory design programs provide access to professional equipment, high quality facilities and advanced computer software, which students use to learn techniques that can give them an edge.

10 Accessory Design Schools

The following schools offer programs related to accessory design.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition* (2015-2016)
Cleveland Institute of Art Cleveland, OH 4-year, Private Bachelor's $38,487
Massachusetts College of Art and Design Boston, MA 4-year, Public Certificate, Bachelor's $11,725 In-state; $31,225 Out-of-state
Pratt Institute Brooklyn, NY 4-year, Private Bachelor's $46,586
Rhode Island School of Design Providence, RI 4-year, Private Bachelor's $45,840
University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH 4-year, Public Bachelor's $11,000 In-state; $26,334 Out-of-state
University of California - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $12,763 In-state Undergraduate; $11,220 In-state Graduate
Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Los Angeles 4-year, Private Associate's $29,930
Woodbury University Burbank, CA 4-year, Private Bachelor's $36,408
Fashion Institute of Technology New York, NY 4-year, Public Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's $5,230 In-state; $14,230 Out-of-state
California College of the Arts San Francisco, CA 4-year, Private Bachelor's $43,708

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

Consider these factors when looking for an accessory design school.

  • Look for a program that assists their graduates in finding jobs through career services like job fairs, interview workshops and networking events and also has faculty advisors who can provide guidance about career choices.
  • Choose a program that offers career preparation, such as opportunities to study abroad, create a portfolio of designs and manufacture a variety of accessories to present in a show or gallery.
  • Check out a prospective school's internship history to see if they emphasize work experience and have connections to place students into internships.
  • Find a program in a larger city in order to maximize experience by studying in a location where fashion and accessory design is prevalent.

Associate's Degree in Accessory Design

Associate's degrees in accessory design include an Associate of Applied Science in Accessories Design and an Associate of Arts in Apparel Accessory Design. Associate's degree programs typically take two years or less and prepare students for acceptance into a 4-year program. Typical curricula cover basic design techniques and introductory business courses.

Bachelor's Degree in Accessory Design

Students who major in accessory design can earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion or a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Accessory Design. These programs can provide students with advanced training in specialized techniques and topics, allowing them to develop an individual style within the context of modern fashion.

Master's Degree in Accessory Design

Graduate students in accessory design usually earn a Master of Arts or a Master of Fine Arts in Accessory Design. Master's degree programs are designed for students who possess an undergraduate degree and are seeking to advance in their careers by developing professional skills in technology, production and market research.

There are different types of accessories, and the first consideration for prospective students entering this field may be what type of accessories they plan to design. Other factors in the choice of program may include the credentials earned, location and costs of the program.

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