A 2-year associate's degree in fashion merchandising integrates principles of business and psychology with an understanding of textiles and design. Students gain fundamental skills in merchandising, buying and retailing. They also learn about the process that brings apparel from the manufacturer to retail outlets, including how people determine which pieces to buy and sell. Graduates can pursue further educational opportunities or entry-level careers in the fashion or retail industries.
A high school diploma or GED is required for entry into a fashion merchandising associate's program. Enrolled students may take interdisciplinary courses that include:
- Fashion and visual merchandising
- Design and color theory
- Retail buying and management
- Marketing and retail principals
- Human resource management
- Merchandising math
Popular Career Options
Although additional education or training may be required to obtain a position, those with an associate's degree in fashion merchandising can commonly aim for such job titles as:
- Assistant buyer
- Retail promoter
- Store manager
- Fashion buyer
- Fashion merchandiser
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has predicted that employment of all purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents, including those working in fashion, will increase by 2% from 2014-2024. The median annual salary of wholesale and retail buyers, as of May 2015, was $52,940 according to the BLS. January 2016 reports from PayScale.com indicated that the median salary of a fashion merchandiser was $50,393 per year.
Continuing Education Information
Individuals who complete associate's degrees in fashion merchandising may decide to further their education by pursuing a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising. Those interested in developing their knowledge beyond the undergraduate level can pursue master's degrees in fashion merchandising after earning their bachelor's degrees.
Individuals who wish to pursue sales and business-related positions in the fashion industry have the option of enrolling in an associate's degree program in fashion merchandising to prepare them for entry-level jobs in the field.