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Associate of Applied Science in Fashion Design & Merchandising

Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Fashion Design and Merchandising degree programs focus on the basics of fashion design and marketing strategies. Most of these programs are offered at technical schools and community colleges.

Essential Information

In AAS programs in fashion design and merchandising, students gain hands-on experience, learning how to create their own garments and produce marketing and publicity campaigns. Some associate's degree programs include an internship where students can apply their knowledge of clothing design and construction, merchandising and marketing to real-life situations.

Most of these programs take two years to complete, and some schools offer online options. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED.


Associate of Applied Science in Fashion Design & Merchandising

Coursework within an associate's degree program in fashion design and merchandising covers a general overview of the fashion industry. Students in these programs learn about aesthetics, design trends and consumer preferences. In addition to core courses, students must also complete general education requirements. Possible course topics include:

  • Fashion sketching
  • Consumer behavior
  • Fashion history
  • Fashion marketing
  • Retail management
  • Clothing construction

Popular Career Options

Graduates of associate's degree programs in fashion design and merchandising can pursue a number of career options within the fashion industry. Graduates could begin as sketching assistants or pattern makers and shadow more experienced designers before advancing into design, marketing or management positions. Entry-level and upper-level jobs include:

  • Seamstress
  • Wardrobe attendant
  • Fashion consultant
  • Apparel display specialist
  • Sales representative
  • Fashion event coordinator

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of fashion designers is projected to grow by 3% from 2014 to 2024, which is slower than average (www.bls.gov). However, current designers will still need a strong team of assistants and patternmakers to work for them. Based on 2015 data from the BLS, patternmakers earned an average annual salary of $49,040. Fashion designers earned a mean annual salary of $73,180.

Continuing Education Information

Associate's degree-holders can further their education through the completion of a bachelor's degree program in fashion design and merchandising. These 4-year programs expand on the skills necessary for promotion, merchandising and publicity in the fashion industry. Applicants could be asked to create a portfolio showcasing their best work. Some schools might allow the transfer of some credit earned in an associate's degree program to apply toward bachelor's degree requirements.

If you want to work in the fashion industry, an AAS in Fashion Design and Merchandising is an available degree option that you can consider. These programs prepare graduates for entry-level work or further studies that can lead to higher level jobs.


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