Career Information for a Degree in Fashion Design

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a fashion designer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.

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A creative individual with an eye for style may consider majoring in fashion design, which jobs typically require a bachelor's degree, experience, and a portfolio. The fashion industry has job opportunities in various stores and companies, usually demanding a good amount of traveling.

Essential Information

Fashion designers create the clothing and accessories sold in department stores and boutiques nationwide. These professionals sketch new designs and then direct workers as they construct the garments; when the item is complete, they critique samples for modification. Fashion designers also meet with other designers, travel to fashion shows, meet with sales executives and identify potential markets for their finished products. Most fashion designers have at least a bachelor's degree, and they often complete portfolios or internships before seeking employment.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 3%
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $63,670

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Economic Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that as of May 2015, there were 19,040 individuals working as fashion designers in the United States. The agency projected that over the 2014-2024 decade, there will be a slower-than-average 3% rise in employment for these workers. Fashion designers earned a median annual wage of $63,670 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov).

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Education Options in Fashion Design

The BLS notes that an associate or bachelor's degree in fashion design might prove helpful when it comes to finding employment. It is not uncommon for students to complete professional practice courses and create professional portfolios as part of their studies.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design

This program combines lessons in textiles, drawing and computer software to allow aspiring designers to refine their hands-on skills while using nontraditional tools to expedite the design process. Required courses commonly introduce sketching, measuring, draping and industrial sewing techniques. There is also a term that focuses on hands-on experience, through studio time, workshops or internships. These programs usually include multiple portfolio reviews, especially during a student's sophomore and senior years.

Associate of Applied Science in Fashion Design

From garment design to marketing, students learn about every aspect of the fashion industry in associate degree programs. However, these programs typically last two years, half the length of a bachelor's degree program. Students create a portfolio of their work and take classes for patternmaking, costuming, color theory and fashion history.

A prospective fashion designer may wish to complete an associate's or bachelor's degree program in fashion design. Both usually provide internships and allow one to assemble a portfolio. Competition in this field is very high, thus an exceptional portfolio and good marketing and networking skills are crucial.

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