Associate's degree programs in fashion merchandising combine business concepts with fashion theory. Students learn about product development, manufacturing, retailing and design. A retail and fashion internship provides an opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience in retail stores, buying offices and ad agencies. Fashion merchandising associate's degree programs typically take two years to complete. A high school diploma or GED equivalent is required for entry.
Associate of Applied Science in Fashion Merchandising
Students are introduced to the fashion industry and its history. They study advertising, marketing and accounting practices. Programs typically consist of 61-66 credits and are designed to be completed in two years. General education requirements may include math, social science, humanities and critical thinking. Core course topics may include:
- Business management and organization
- Fashion buying
- Fashion merchandising
- Customer service quality improvement
- Apparel merchandising
Popular Career Options
Successful completion of this degree program can prepare graduates for careers in fashion manufacturing, resident buying offices, retail stores and fashion designers' showrooms. Job duties may include purchasing goods, managing retail stores, performing inventory control and selling merchandise. Job titles may include:
- Junior textile merchandiser
- Store manager
- Fashion entrepreneur
- Assistant buyer
- Sales assistant
Career Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for buyers and purchasing agents are expected to grow 2% from 2014-2024; their median annual salary was $59,620 as of May 2015. Meanwhile, retail sales jobs are predicted to grow 7% during that same decade, per the BLS, and the median salary for retail sales workers was $22,040 in 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of an associate's degree program may opt to advance their education and skills by enrolling in a bachelor's or master's degree program in fashion merchandising, which can in turn prepare them for positions at the executive level. Master's degree program may offer specialized training in areas such as historical costumes and textiles. Certificate programs offer training in specialized areas, such as textiles, retailing and merchandise buying.
By pursuing an interdisciplinary AAS or ABA in Fashion Merchandising, students develop the basic business know-how and design skills needed for success in the fashion industry. Graduates can directly enter the workforce or improve their employment prospects by earning a more advanced degree in the field.