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Overview of Bachelor of Science Degree Program in Fashion Merchandising

Majors Overview March 19, 2014

Receive information about a bachelor’s degree program in Fashion Merchandising and its coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

B.S. Programs in Fashion Merchandising

Students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs in Fashion Merchandising are imparted instruction on the operations of the Fashion Merchandising field, which requires designers to move the apparel to the retail sales floor and, in turn, to consumers. Students enrolled in the program learn business skills and fashion industry basics. They are taught about visual merchandising, store planning, promotion, and advertising, and gain exposure in catalog development and retailing.

They also gain strong rudimentary knowledge about distribution strategies, budgets, product assortment analysis, stock control, inventory, and buying. The bachelor’s program in Fashion Merchandising usually spans a four-year duration, and degrees may be offered by schools as a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.), Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Professional Studies (B.P.S.), or Bachelor of Science (B.S.).

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.

Coursework

Coursework is devised to impart students with a broad perspective about the designing and manufacturing of apparel, and methods of marketing the apparel to retailers. In some programs, internships or work-study opportunities may be included to allow students to gain professional experience. Coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Brand power
•Textiles
•Fashion marketing
•Predicting fashion trends
•Licensing issues
•Fashion retailing
•Fashion fundamentals
•Public speaking
•Fashion merchandising concepts
•Merchandise buying procedures

Career Choices

Those who successfully complete the program may seek entry-level occupations in import companies, wholesale businesses, boutiques, and retail department stores. They may also seek careers with manufacturers or designers, and choose from possible job titles such as:

•Visual merchandiser
•Market research trainee
•Product line manager
•Assistant buyer
•Design development coordinator

Job and Wage Outlook

In December 2013, assistant buyers earned an average annual salary of $40,791, while visual merchandisers took home $31,277, and market researchers earned $47,598. In 2012, product line managers earned an average annual wage of $89,190 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). A slower-than-average job growth rate has been predicted for product line managers during the decade of 2010 and 2020; during the same time, assistant buyers are expected to enjoy a job growth rate of 9%, and professionals in the market research field are expected to experience job growth rates of 41%.

Continuing Education Choices

Bachelor’s degree graduates can benefit from seeking continued education from schools that offer a few programs at the master’s level in Fashion Merchandising and related fields. A research component is typically added to the coursework of these programs, in addition to offering specializations within the field, such as historic textiles. Graduates may seek university-level teaching jobs or administrative positions in the industry.

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