Fashion Design Teacher: Education Requirements and Career Info

Fashion design teachers require significant formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and licensure requirements to find out if this is the career for you.

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A fashion design teacher combines a passion for clothing and accessories with a classroom environment, where they guide students in topics such as sewing, patterns, and trends in fashion. Having prior industry experience and a professional portfolio are both essential for fashion designers who want to teach, and a bachelor's degree in a related field is also mandatory. State licensure is needed for any designer teaching within the public school system, while a master's degree or higher is required for teaching jobs at a postsecondary institution.

Essential Information

Fashion design teachers use both their fashion sense and communication skills in their profession. As fashion designers, they have a passion for creating the best clothes or accessories for any occasion. As teachers, they demonstrate strong verbal skills and understand the needs of students from all backgrounds. Fashion design teachers are required to have bachelor's degrees, and they may also need master's degrees in order to teach college-level classes.

Required Education Bachelor's degree; master's degree to teach at a postsecondary school
Other Requirements Industry experience, professional portfolio; licensure for public high school teachers
Projected Job Growth(2014-2024) 6% for all high school teachers; 13% for all postsecondary teachers*
Average Salary (2015) $60,270 for all high school teachers; $73,660 for all arts, communications, and humanities teachers, postsecondary*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Education Requirements

High School Diploma or the Equivalent

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a fashion design teacher must hold a bachelor's degree and possibly a master's degree in order to teach ( A student should receive a high school diploma or its equivalent in order to apply for college or an art school.

Many art schools ask for portfolios of students' best artwork in order to determine the level of the student. A student may wish to take elective classes in art in order to craft a portfolio. Some students may also wish to take college-level classes in order to receive college credit in the future.

Undergraduate Degree

While it is possible for a fashion designer to get an associate's degree, a fashion design teacher is required to achieve a bachelor's degree. Students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in fashion or fashion design.

Some typical coursework will include the following: textiles, illustration, sewing, draping and marketing. A fashion design teacher may also take courses on computer-aided design (CAD) applications. Additionally, a potential fashion design teacher can take liberal arts courses like speech in order to help them communicate effectively. Classes in business and anatomy may also be helpful.

Graduate Degree

In order to teach at the postsecondary level, fashion design teachers must have master's degrees. A Master of Arts or a Master of Fine Arts program typically lasts for two years, and the coursework can vary depending on the school's program. Some universities require their professors to have a Ph.D. degree in order to teach. Doctoral programs typically take about six years. Students are required to complete a dissertation.

Career Info

Work Experience in the Field

Many employers prefer teachers to have prior experience in the field of fashion design. Employers may also require previous teaching experiences. An aspiring fashion design teacher may have to be an entry-level assistant for more experienced designers before advancement. A fashion designer can work as a tailor or an intern for a manufacturing company. A fashion designer can also start his or her own company.

Fashion Design Teacher

Once fashion designers have gained enough experience, they can become teachers in either secondary or postsecondary settings. However, a fashion design teacher must be licensed in order to teach at a public high school. Alternatively, a fashion design teacher must have a master's degree in order to teach at the university level. Some postsecondary universities may also require their tenured professors to have Ph.D. degrees.

The BLS reports demand for high school teachers is likely to increase by six percent between 2014 and 2024, and postsecondary teachers may see a 13% increase in demand over that decade. The mean salary for secondary school teachers was $60,270 in May 2015, and all arts, communications and humanities postsecondary teachers earned a mean salary of $73,660 that year, according to the BLS.


Teachers must, above all else, be able to communicate effectively to students. They also must be able to understand their students' needs and know how to best motivate them. Fashion design teachers should be able to demonstrate sewing skills, understand fashion trends and understand patterns for the benefit of their students.

While earning a bachelor's degree, fashion designers generally take classes in topics like illustration, draping, marketing, and textiles; a master's degree usually takes about two years to complete, while a doctoral degree program can last for six years. Both high school and postsecondary teachers are expected to see positive growth in employment opportunities through the 2014-2024 decade, according to the BLS.

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