Associate of Arts (AA): Fashion Merchandising Degree Overview

Oct 21, 2019

Associate of Arts degree programs in fashion merchandising typically provide students with fundamental knowledge in the areas of marketing, business and retail. This degree typically takes two years to complete and may involve a sales internship.

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Essential Information

A fashion merchandising associate degree program introduces students to fashion trends and design concepts. In addition to coursework, students might participate in internships where they can learn in a real sales environment. Associate degree programs are generally entry-level programs that require nothing more than a high school diploma to meet entrance requirements.

Associate of Arts Degree in Fashion Merchandising

Students pursuing an Associate of Arts in Fashion Merchandising degree generally take courses related to marketing and the fashion industry. In many programs, students will be required to complete general education courses in history, math and communications before they can begin taking core fashion-related courses. Some of the covered topics might include:

  • Product knowledge
  • Merchandising
  • Fashion product promotion
  • Retail buying
  • Selling strategies
  • Advertising

Popular Career Options

Students who have an interest in fashion and a desire to sell fashionable items to the public may be interested in a career in fashion merchandising. Graduates of a fashion merchandising associate degree program generally are qualified for entry-level positions in retail stores or wholesale outlets. Opportunities also might be available in other areas of fashion merchandising, such as marketing, product development and management. Career options may include:

  • Store manager
  • Fashion retail business owner
  • Fashion sales clerk

Employment Outlook and Salary Information indicated in September 2019 that retail store owners made a median income of $50,576 annually, and the BLS reported a median wage of $24,200 per year for retail salespeople in 2018. The BLS predicts an employment decline of 2% for retail salespeople between the years of 2018 and 2028.

Continuing Education Information

Some careers in fashion merchandising, such as product buyer, may require a bachelor's or master's degree. Students can often transfer credits earned in an associate degree program to a bachelor's or master's program in fashion merchandising, fashion design or another fashion-related area. Additional education could qualify a fashion merchandising student for job opportunities with larger companies or for higher-level positions.

Students who earn an associate's degree in fashion merchandising will gain a foundational background in marketing, business and retail. Upon graduation, candidates might consider continuing on to a more advanced program in merchandising or fashion to increase their job prospects.

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