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Entry-Level Fashion Jobs: Salary & Positions

The fashion industry offers entry-level positions in business, design, modeling and more. Here we discuss some of the entry-level fashion jobs, their median salaries and education requirements.

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Entry-Level Fashion Career Options

People looking to enter the fashion industry have several careers to choose from with very different job duties. Some of these positions focus on the design and creative side of fashion, while others focus on the business and marketing side of the industry. Learn about a few of the entry-level career options in the fashion industry below.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Fashion Designers $65,170 3%
Wholesale and Retail Buyers, Except Farm Products $53,340 -2% (decline)
Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers $38,200 -3% (decline)
Models $21,870 -1% (decline)
Photographers $34,070 -8% (decline)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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Career Information for Entry-Level Fashion Jobs

Fashion Designers

Fashion designers do not need prior work experience in a related occupation or any on-the-job training to create unique accessories and clothing. They may draw inspiration for their collections from any number of sources, but they tend to maintain a particular theme as they choose the colors, patterns and materials for their designs. Fashion designers usually use computer-aided design (CAD) programs for their designs, oversee the production of their pieces and sell their pieces to retailers or consumers. They need a technical understanding of the production process and usually hold a bachelor's degree.

Wholesale and Retail Buyers

Wholesale and retail buyers do not need previous work experience and must have a good sense of fashion and understand what consumers want as they buy clothing to sell to consumers. They must learn about different clothing products and compare suppliers before deciding which suppliers to enter into a contract with. Once they have negotiated a contract, they carefully monitor contracts and clothing products to ensure conditions of the contract are met and quality products are delivered. These buyers need a bachelor's degree, and advancement to positions in management may require some work experience in addition to the degree.

Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers usually undergo long-term on-the-job training, but they do not need prior work experience in the field to design and create new pieces of jewelry. They may base their pieces on current fashion trends and use gems, precious metals and other stones in their designs. Many of these workers are also qualified to clean, repair, sell and even appraise jewelry and precious stones. Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers only need a high school diploma or equivalent.

Models

Models help market different fashions to consumers through photography or fashion shows, which requires no prior work experience or on-the-job training. Models may represent a particular fashion designer or brand as they work at trade shows, walk on runways or pose for photographers. Many models travel to various locations for different modeling jobs and maintain a professional portfolio of their work to show potential clients. Models may need to meet specific physical characteristics for a particular job, but they have no formal education requirement.

Photographers

Most photographers commit to long-term on-the-job training, but they do not need work experience in a related occupation. Some photographers may specialize in fashion and take high-quality images of models in different pieces of clothing using a digital camera. Many photographers also use photo-enhancing software to edit their images, which may then be used to advertise clothing and fashion designers, as well as added to the photographer's professional portfolio. Most photographers only need a technical understanding of the field, but some kinds of photographers, such as photojournalists, need a bachelor's degree.

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