While there are limited footwear design programs domestically, this field is an integral part of many accessory and fashion design programs, which are more prevalent. Undergraduate and graduate degree programs in these fields can be found at art institutes, community colleges and 4-year universities.
Schools with Accessory and Fashion Design Programs
Programs for aspiring footwear designers can be found at these schools:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*|
|Fashion Institute of Technology||New York, NY||4-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's||$5,230 In-state; $14,230 Out-of-state|
|California College of the Arts||San Francisco, CA||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||$43,708|
|Long Beach City College||Long Beach, CA||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's||$1,182 In-state; $7,398 Out-of-state|
|Texas Tech University||Lubbock, TX||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$8,028 In-state; $17,388 Out-of-state|
|Syracuse University||Syracuse, NY||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$43,318|
|Academy of Art University||San Francisco, CA||4-year, Private for-profit||Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's||$20,340|
|American River College||Sacramento, CA||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's||$1,104 In-state; $7,440 Out-of-state|
|Drexel University||Philadelphia, PA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's, Master's||$48,791|
|Palomar College||San Marcos, CA||2-year, Public||Associate's||$1,338 In-state; $7,078 Out-of-state|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
School Selection Criteria
There are several things to consider when selecting a footwear design school.
- Students should take advantage of educational opportunities like internships with nationally recognized design firms, design competitions and group projects.
- Students interested in an international career in footwear fashion design should seek study-abroad opportunities and possibly learn a foreign language; Italian may be a good selection.
- Program selection can also depend on career goals. Some degree programs, for example, include courses in marketing and emphasize the business side of footwear design. Students who graduate from these programs have a wide variety of career options, such as merchandiser, design assistant, showroom manager, customer service representative or freelance designer.
Associate's Degree Programs
Associate's degree programs in footwear, accessory, fashion or apparel design typically take 1-2 years to complete. Students interested in footwear design take specific courses in footwear construction and materials while also acquiring hands-on skills that include creating prototypes of the footwear and other accessories they've designed. A few schools also offer certificate programs in specialized areas of accessory design, such as athletic shoe design.
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Programs
Students who want to run their own businesses might complete a bachelor's degree program in fashion design or a similar field. These programs emphasize portfolio creation and exhibition of student collections, often during the final year of study, to prepare graduates to seek employment. BFA programs in this field often include courses in business, marketing and art history, as well as courses specific to accessory design.
There are a select number of colleges that offer footwear design programs, though most footwear design instruction is incorporated into such programs as accessory design or fashion and apparel design. It's important to review the courses offered in each program to ensure that it includes the type of training you need to suit your long-term career goals.