An associate's degree in fashion design provides the industry fundamentals necessary for graduate employment or further study. Coursework is multifarious, ranging from computer-aided drafting and draping to marketing and retailing. In addition to artistic techniques, students learn basic business skills involved in interacting with buyers, sellers and manufacturers. Most colleges that offer this program award an Associate of Arts upon program completion.
The prerequisite to begin an associate's degree program is a high school diploma or GED certificate.
Associate of Arts Degree in Fashion Design
An Associate of Arts in Fashion Design is an important credential for individuals seriously considering fashion design as a career. Students in this program become acquainted with computer-aided design or graphic design software programs that create textiles, graphic layouts and fashion illustrations. Some courses focus primarily on designing and creating fashion, while others cover business skills. These programs may also offer internships, as well as courses in computer software applications, mathematics, the humanities and in the sciences. Course topics may include:
- Fashion art
- Clothing construction
- Pattern making
- Fashion illustration
- Sewing techniques
Popular Career Options
Graduates may find entry-level employment in a number of industries, including apparel manufacturing, textile retailing, custom dressmaking and apparel alterations. Alternatively, graduates may work for small boutiques or become self-employed. Some occupations may include:
- Assistant designer
- Assistant pattern maker
- Technical designer
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be a one percent increase in employment opportunities for fashion designers between 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov). Even so, strong competition is expected as people are attracted to this field. In May of 2018, the BLS estimated that the median annual salary for fashion designers was $72,720.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates working in the fashion design industry may seek advancement with more work experience and education. They may want to earn a bachelor's degree in fashion design to improve their opportunities or to specialize in a type of fashion such as children's wear or sportswear. Other bachelor's degree programs that may interest designers are interior design or business.
An Associate of Arts degree in fashion design, rather than a diploma, affords students the opportunity to gain the knowledge and hands-on skills needed to work in fashion design and sketching. Those interested in the industry can consider traditional work paths, or with experience, self-employment.