Apparel Merchandising Degree Program Information

Oct 12, 2019

Essential Information

Apparel merchandising is the process of selling clothes in retail or wholesale settings. Students will learn these techniques in lecture-based courses, and many of these programs offer field experiences in fashion merchandising. Programs can be completed in 2 years at the associate level and in 4 years at the bachelor level, with some programs offering courses partially or entirely online. Bachelor's programs usually include more general education requirements than associate's programs; they may allow students to take more electives as well. To qualify for admission, students should possess their high school diploma or equivalent, along with strong mathematics and communication skills. Some programs may require that students submit a portfolio of their fashion designs.

Associate's Degree Programs in Apparel Merchandising

Associate of Applied Science (AAS) programs in fashion merchandising often combine coursework in marketing, business administration and fashion trends. Students learn the theories behind choosing products to sell in clothing stores and effectively attract customers to the store. The classes in fashion merchandising AAS programs are multidisciplinary, covering the art and aesthetics of fashion with the finance and marketing of business. The topics listed below are usually discussed:

  • Retail store management
  • Product development
  • Fashion marketing
  • Fashion business administration
  • Advertising practices

Bachelor's Degree Programs in Apparel Merchandising

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) programs in fashion merchandising discuss research skills, theoretical principles and business abilities relevant to selling apparel. Classes emphasize statistical analyses of fashion trends, apparel evaluation, textile science, and sales skills. Students can sometimes complete internships in the fashion industry. Courses are offered in:

  • Apparel design theory
  • Textile science
  • Fashion buying
  • Visual display creation
  • Sales techniques
  • Global textiles

Popular Career Options

Graduates qualify for management and administrative positions in fashion. The often choose one of the following positions:

  • Retail store manager
  • Visual displayer designer
  • Product designer

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

People who earn a degree in fashion merchandising are qualified for a variety of jobs in fashion sales and management, working for either wholesalers or retailers. The careers noted below are popular options:

  • Retail store sales associate
  • Wholesale apparel buyer
  • Store associate manager

According to the US. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for buyers and purchasing agents are projected to decline by 4% between 2018 and 2028. As of May 2018, professionals in this field earned median wages of $67,600 per year.

Degree programs in the apparel merchandising field will teach students very hands-on practical skills, both through courses and real-world industry experience.

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