What Are the Education Requirements to Become a Fashion Designer?

Developing the creative, technical and business skills to work in the fashion industry usually requires completing a bachelor's degree program. Read on to learn more about the educational requirements for fashion designers, as well as the job outlook and salary potential for this field. Schools offering Fashion Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Description

Fashion designers work in the retail industry creating clothes, jewelry, shoes and accessories. You might create designs for a mass market or for a boutique-style, individualized market. Fashion designers have both creative, as well as technical skills. These skills range from drawing and sewing to using industry-specific software, such as CAD (computer-aided design). In addition to being able to develop, design and create apparel, you are usually aware of trends and markets as it relates to the industry.

Important Facts About Fashion Designers

Work Environment Design studios, offices
Key Skills Artistic sense, creativity, communication
Certification Voluntary certification in sewing and design is available
Similar Occupations Industrial designers, floral designers, art directors, graphic designers, models, purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents

Educational Requirements

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that a bachelor's degree related to fashion design is usually needed to gain an entry-level position in the industry (www.bls.gov). A common type of degree is the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), which may have a major in fashion or fashion design. You might also get to pursue a specialization, such as knitwear, intimate apparel, visual merchandising, textiles, special occasion wear or children's wear.

BFA Program Requirements

A BFA program in fashion or fashion design provides you with opportunities to study in-depth topics through electives or core curriculum, and studio courses give you hands-on experience. In addition to studying fashion, you might also take courses in business or merchandising. Although your chosen specialization can affect your program's curriculum requirements, common topics of study include the following:

  • 2-D and 3-D fashion design
  • Fashion drawing
  • Sewing techniques
  • Art and fashion history
  • Fashion color
  • Textiles
  • Fashion draping

Before you graduate, you will usually create a portfolio and complete an internship. You might also write and present a thesis.

Employment Outlook and Salary Overview

According to the BLS, fashion designers will experience a three percent decline in employment opportunities from 2012-2022. A major reason for this decline is that overseas manufacturers most often produce apparel. The BLS expects that new clothing technologies may positively affect demand. Competition is high in the fashion industry, but fashion designers can improve their prospects by having experience, a degree and a strong portfolio. Average wages for these professionals were $73,690, as of May 2014, stated the BLS.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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