Fashion technology can be studied as part of certificate or associate's degree programs. A certificate program focuses on the basics of the discipline and covers sewing and design elements, as well as fashion business management coursework. This program can take around one year to complete, and often involves an internship.
An associate's degree program may teach students about computer-aided design programs and apparel construction techniques. Admission into either stream requires a high school diploma or a GED.
Certificates in Fashion Technology
Typically, fashion technology is an area of study offered as a Certificate of Achievement or Certificate of Completion program at community colleges in the United States. Students learn the fundamentals of the fashion business and learn to design men, women and children's clothing and accessories. Other focus areas are window displays, design software and issues in fashion merchandising. Coursework covers a broad range of fashion studies, including courses that teach draping, fashion modeling and design materials.
Other topics of discussion include:
- Fashion terminology
- Design elements
- Fashion business management
Associate's Degree Programs in Fashion Technology
Offered as an Associate of Applied Science, the program's curriculum includes concentration areas like fashion design, merchandising and illustration. Students in the fashion design option learn to sketch original designs, use computer-aided design programs and construct apparel. The merchandising option teaches skills like fashion buying, promotion and marketing, and the illustration option includes training in manufacturing, textiles and typography. Students complete fashion technology courses in traditional classrooms and design studios where they work with textiles, fabrics and fashion materials.
Coursework includes topics like:
- Marketing trends
- Fashion accessories
- Digital design
Popular Career Options
Graduates are prepared for entry-level positions in the fashion industry, including jobs at fashion design studios and advertising and marketing firms. Fashion technology graduates may pursue the following jobs:
- Fashion designer
- Retail associate
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in May 2015, fashion designers held 19,040 jobs in the U.S. and earned a mean annual salary of $73,180 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that job openings for fashion designers were expected to see an increase of 3% between 2014 and 2024. The best opportunities should be for candidates with prior experience and strong portfolios, as well as applicants who live in fashion-oriented cities in New York and California.
Continuing Education Information
Because many jobs in the fashion industry require at least a bachelor's degree, graduates might consider enrolling in a bachelor's degree program in fashion studies, fashion design or fashion marketing and merchandising. These 4-year degree programs may lead to careers in design, retail, marketing, product development and more.
Future fashion designers can prepare for their careers by pursuing a certificate or an associate's degree in fashion technology, where they can study fashion design, merchandising, and illustration. Bachelor's degree programs in related fields are available for advanced education, leading to jobs in marketing, retail and product development.