In AAS programs in fashion merchandising, students examine the latest trends in fashion as well as business concepts such as retail management and customer analysis. Students often have the opportunity to participate in internships, which may amount to over 200-clock hours of work experience per semester. Some of these two-year programs are offered online.
Associate's Degree in Fashion Merchandising
Along with general education courses in areas such as the humanities and social sciences, students in these AAS programs take courses in product design and manufacturing processes. They also discover how to analyze market behavior, execute promotional campaigns and develop a clothing brand. Some programs teach students how to create window and floor displays for retail establishments. Other topics of discussion include strategies for buying and importing merchandise. Courses include:
- Fashion history
- Visual merchandising
- Fashion buying
Popular Career Options
Graduates of associate's degree programs in fashion merchandising may work for retailers or fashion manufacturers. They may also find jobs with publishing or design firms. Possible job titles include:
- Retail store manager
- Fashion coordinator
- Purchasing agent
- Fashion consultant
- Window dresser
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has limited career outlook information on fashion merchandising-related professions. According to the BLS, employment for buyers and purchasing agents is projected to decline by 7% from 2018-2028. The BLS reports that retail sales workers are expected to see a 2% decrease in job openings over the same time. Based on BLS information, the median annual salary for buyers and purchasing agents was $62,750 in 2018, while the median annual income for retail salespersons was $24,200.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of fashion merchandising associate's degree programs may be interested in pursuing bachelor's degrees in similar fields. Program options are available in fashion merchandising, retail marketing and fashion design. Many of these programs prepare graduates for managerial positions in retail or manufacturing. Graduates may also go on to pursue careers in design.
Overall, if you want to work in fashion merchandising, an AAS can provide the general education, business training, and fashion-related instruction that you need. Once you graduate, you can work in the field or enroll in a higher degree program.