Apparel Design Schools

Apparel design is taught mostly at the undergraduate level via associate's and bachelor's degree programs. Students will study things like fashion illustration, pattern making, and apparel analysis. Schools offering Fashion Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Find out how you can land a job in the fashion industry after completing an apparel design program. Read below to discover how to choose a school. See degree options and program requirements, and get an overview of careers in the field.

How Do I Prepare to Become an Apparel Designer?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most apparel or fashion designers have completed a formal education program leading to either an associate's or bachelor's degree. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accredits roughly 300 schools offering art and design programs. Many of these schools grant degrees in fashion design. The Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) also maintains a directory of schools offering undergraduate and graduate programs in fashion design.

What Can I Expect in a Program?

Depending on the school, a 2-year program in fashion or apparel design can lead to an Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree. Some schools offering these programs may give you the opportunity to transfer credits towards a 4-year degree either at the same school or at a partnered university. After earning an associate's degree in fashion design, you may want to round out your education by completing your bachelor's degree requirements with a major in fashion merchandising. This may prepare you more fully to compete in the dual world of art and business.

A 4-year fashion design program most often leads to a Bachelor of Science (BS) or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). According to AICAD, the main difference between the two programs is that a BFA program contains more courses directly related to fashion design and fewer general education courses. General education courses are required in all undergraduate degree programs.

Typical courses in a fashion design degree program can cover color and design, fashion illustration, sewing techniques, apparel analysis, textiles, draping, tailoring, pattern making and computer-aided design (CAD) for fashion design. In bachelor's degree programs you may be required to serve an internship at a school-partnered facility.

Due to the hands-on nature of most fashion design programs, online options are quite rare. You may be able to find some offered through for-profit schools or institutes. Often in these programs, courses are presented by way of videos or asynchronously delivered lectures.

Schools Offering Associate Degrees in Apparel Design

Choose from various associate degree programs in fashion design and apparel design and development. The following is a brief list:

  • The Fashion Institute of Technology offers an AAS in Fashion Design
  • Seattle Central College offers an AAS in Apparel Design and Development
  • West Valley College offers an AS in Apparel Design

Schools Offering Bachelor Degrees in Apparel Design

Various schools offer students the chance to earn a bachelor degree in apparel design. Here are a few to consider in your search:

  • Texas Tech University offers a BS in Apparel Design and Manufacturing
  • The University of Wisconsin-Stout offers a BS in Apparel Design and Development
  • Rhode Island School of Design offers a BFA in Apparel Design

What Are Some Employment and Wage Projections?

The BLS projected that employment opportunities for fashion designers are expected to increase 3% from 2014 to 2024. Opportunities will be best for designers who focus on mass-market outlets rather than luxury houses or haute couture. In 2015, the BLS determined the annual salary for fashion designers. The bottom ten percent made $33,170, while the upper ten percent brought in $125,270. The median annual wage came out to be $63,670 in that year.

Apparel design is a branch of fashion studies that is more available as undergraduate degrees. Students will have the opportunity to study apparel design at various institutions across the country.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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