Aspiring fashion buyers will need an undergraduate or graduate degree in fashion merchandising. These programs are typically offered by art and design schools and 4-year universities.
Fashion Buyer Schools
The following universities offer various fashion merchandising degree programs. Tuition rates are from the 2015-2016 school year.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition (2018-2019)*|
|University of Georgia||Athens, GA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate||$11,830 (in-state); $30,404 (out-of-state)|
|Herkimer County Community College||Herkimer, NY||2-year, Public||Associate's||$5,320 (in-state); $8,250 (out-of-state)|
|Ursuline College||Pepper Pike, OH||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||$32,390|
|Immaculata University||Immaculata, PA||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||$27,350|
|Vincennes University||Vincennes, IN||4-year, Public||Associate's||$5,902 (in-state); $13,959 (out-of-state)|
|Baylor University||Waco, TX||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||$45,542|
|Lasell College||Newton, MA||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||$36,000|
|Harding University||Searcy, AR||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||$19,845|
|Hinds Community College||Raymond, MS||2-year, Public||Certificate and Associate's||$3,130 (in-state); $6,170 (out-of-state)|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
Fashion merchandising degree programs prepare potential fashion buyers through an exploration of fashion, business and marketing. Consider these tips when looking for a fashion merchandising school or program:
- Aspiring fashion buyers will likely benefit from schools that have associations with the fashion industry, such as faculty who are working professionals, student organizations and internships.
- When deciding between degree programs, remember that certain programs may focus on market analysis, visual research and product development, while other programs may focus more on retail application.
Associate's Degree in Fashion Merchandising
Because buyers can work in teams, students may benefit from associate's degree programs that emphasize teamwork and group projects. Many associate's degree programs also allow time for internship experience within the curricula, and some actually require an internship.
Bachelor's Degree in Fashion Merchandising
Typically, 4-year bachelor's degree programs have the most options for student-run organizations and usually require an internship. Fashion programs may have students create a portfolio displaying their work as a capstone project. Additionally, many schools put on fashion shows at the end of the year to highlight student work and attract recruiters.
Master's Degree in Fashion Merchandising
Master's degree programs may require students to complete a thesis project based on original research relating to fashion or market trends. Other programs require a capstone project and internship. Graduates may find employment as a store planner, product developer or fashion buyer. They could also matriculate into merchandising doctoral programs.
In order to become a fashion buyer, you can earn an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree in fashion merchandising from a reputable institution. Make sure to explore a degree program's curriculum and connections to the industry as well as the tuition associated with the program before enrolling.