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Overview of Associate Degree Program in Fashion Design

Majors Overview April 2, 2014

Students may pursue Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) or Associate of Art (A.A.) degree programs in Fashion Design; they may also look into Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.) degree programs in Fashion Design, but they are not usually offered. Students will be taught the technical skills and fundamental artistic concepts utilized but fashion designers. Graduates may continue education with a bachelor’s degree program or find entry-level work in the industry of fashion.

A.A. Programs in Fashion Design

Students enrolled in associate’s degree programs in Fashion Design are taught merchandising, computer-design skills, sewing methods, and design techniques. Coursework in these degree programs combines classroom lectures and studio art classes. Students are taught the whole gamut of the design process ranging from initial design to completed fashion piece. Industry-standard tools are often incorporated in courses; these include advanced sewing machines and design software. Students enrolled in most programs are given the opportunity to create fashion-design portfolios they can use to showcase their skills and knowledge to potential recruiters.

Generally, it takes two years to complete associate’s degree programs; however, degree programs offered through some schools can be completed within a longer or shorter duration. Holders of associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in Fashion Design generally find favor with recruiters (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). Thus students completing one of these degree programs can enhance their future career opportunities.

Education Requirements

Schools typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. Students enrolled in some design schools are also required to showcase their artistic skills by creating artwork, such as a portfolio, among others.


Coursework in a Fashion Design program may include subject areas such as:

•Pattern design
•Technical drawing
•Fashion portfolio
•Computer design software
•Color theory
•History of fashion

Career Choices

After they complete a degree program in Fashion Design, students may choose from several career options such as:

•Fashion stylist
•Fashion illustrator
•Assistant designer
•Fashion designer
•Pattern maker

Continuing Education Choices

Those who successfully complete associate’s degree programs in Fashion Design can pursue continued education by earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree, succeeded by a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degree in Fashion Design. Graduates can expand their skills and knowledge through enrollment in bachelor’s degree programs and be afforded the option of specializing in different areas of design, including children’s apparel, knitwear, or footwear. Students enrolled in master’s degree programs are taught market research and design, and given the opportunity to create portfolios of professional-level quality.

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