Fashion Design Certificate Programs Online

Apr 30, 2020

Overview of Online Fashion Design Certificate Programs

Due to the hands-on nature of fashion design, online or hybrid certificate programs in the subject are fairly rare. Typically, these fashion design certificate programs offer one or more of the required courses online or in a blended format. Other closely related certificate programs may be available fully online, such as a fashion business certificate or fashion industry essentials certificate. These related programs may include similar course topics or training, but generally focus on the business and career side of the fashion industry instead of design.

Hybrid certificate programs in fashion design are usually designed for students wanting to further develop the skills needed for fashion design, students planning on pursuing entry-level jobs in fashion design, and/or students looking to pursue an undergraduate degree in the field. These certificate programs help students learn about the fashion design process from vision to reality. Fashion design certificates may require about 5 to 6 courses and may allow students up to 2 years to complete the program, but if students take an average of 2 courses per semester, most students can complete the instruction in about 3 semesters.

Requirements for Fashion Design Certificates

Hybrid fashion design certificate programs may cover fashion design in general or focus on a specific area of fashion design, such as computer aided design (CAD) for fashion design. Either way, students in these programs learn about the computer skills, foundational techniques, and design concepts needed for the field.

Information and Requirements

Fashion design certificate programs typically include a set of core courses, some of which may be offered online or in a blended format. Some of these programs may also require students to select a couple of elective courses. Usually, hands-on experience with skills like sewing, designing, and using software in the field needs to be completed in person during laboratory or studio portions of the curriculum.

It is also common for online fashion design certificate programs to include some sort of career preparation instruction. Typically, this is a course or discussion about how to create a professional fashion portfolio for potential employers. Programs may also help provide students with other necessary job-seeking skills in the industry.

Common Courses

Design Flats

Students in design or fashion flats courses learn about sketching the designs for garments and the different details that go into the design concept. These courses may incorporate both hand sketching and technology used in the field, such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. Students may be able to take these courses online or in a blended format.


Students in fashion certificate programs are likely to take one or more core and/or elective courses in a specific software program used in the industry, including Photoshop. Some of these courses may normally only be offered on campus, while others may be available in an online format. In these courses, students gain hands-on experience with the program and further develop their fashion design skills using features of the program.


Another example of a common course in a specific software program is an Illustrator course that may be available in an online or on-campus format. Illustrator courses help students learn beginning to intermediate skills with the program while creating designs. Illustrator allows students to work with concepts like color and draw images.

Career Outcomes for Certificates in Fashion Design

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fashion designers typically need to have at least a bachelor's degree. Therefore, students who earn a certificate in fashion design may need to search for entry-level careers in the industry, such as tailors, dressmakers, and custom sewers, or work in related areas that do not necessarily require a postsecondary degree, like floral design or craft art.

The BLS reported that the median annual salary for tailors, dressmakers, and custom sewers was $31,520 as of 2019. These professionals may work in a variety of industries, including dry cleaning and laundry services and clothing stores. They may be responsible for designing clothing, helping make adjustments to clothing, and repairing garments.

Online fashion design certificate programs are rare, and hybrid programs usually include some online, blended, and on-campus coursework to provide students with the necessary hands-on experience for the field. These certificate programs help students build a foundation in fashion design that can be applied to entry-level positions in the industry or further study in the subject.

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