Associate of Fashion Design: Degree Overview

Oct 29, 2019

In associate's degree programs in fashion design, students acquire the knowledge and skills needed to create clothing, accessory and shoe designs through traditional methods and new design technology.

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Essential Information

While earning an associate's degree in fashion design, students study fashion trends and history alongside design fundamentals. They apply their knowledge and creativity to create and construct original designs. Degree options include an Associate of Arts, Associate of Fine Arts, and Associate of Science in Fashion Design. To apply to any of these programs, prospective students must have a high school diploma or GED, and they may be required to submit a portfolio of previous work.


Associate of Fashion Design

Courses in an Associate of Fashion Design program are designed to help students complete projects that they can use to assemble a professional portfolio. Some of the core concepts studied in these programs include:

  • Draping
  • Fashion sketching
  • Color theory
  • Patternmaking
  • Fashion history
  • Apparel construction

Popular Career Options

Those with an associate's degree in fashion design can obtain entry-level positions at boutiques, apparel manufacturers or fashion design houses. Some career choices include:

  • Patternmaker
  • Designer's assistant
  • Sketching assistant
  • Stylist

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

As of May 2018, the median annual salary for fashion designers was $72,720, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment for these professionals is expected to increase 1% from 2018-2028.

Continuing Education

Individuals can continue their education by pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design. In some instances, they can select a concentration to customize their curriculum to suit their career goals. These 4-year programs commonly require practical experiences or internships. There are also master's degree programs in fashion design. In graduate programs, students can take advanced fashion design classes, conduct research, predict trends and specialize in a certain aspect of fashion design.

In associate's degree programs in fashion design, students gain a comprehensive introduction to the field through both theoretical coursework and hands-on design experience. When they finish, they can get entry-level fashion industry jobs or pursue bachelor's degrees in related fields.

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