What Training Is Needed for a Career in the Textile Industry?

Textiles deal with the mending and manufacture of clothing. There are numerous opportunities within this field and lots of training one can undergo to develop a career in textiles. Read on discover more about the kinds of jobs and training within the textile industry. Schools offering Fashion Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of The Textile Industry

The textile industry includes a variety of jobs, from machine operators and garment workers to seamstresses and custom tailors. The kind and amount of training required varies for each of these jobs in clothing creation. Read on to discover the training requirements for various positions, from on-the-job training to postsecondary education.

Important Facts About This Profession

On-the-Job Training Many of these jobs begin with hands-on training, sometimes through an apprenticeship
Median Salary (2018) $27,750 (for textile, apparel, and furnishings workers)
Work Environment Textile factories, tailor workshops, and other buildings where fibers and clothing are manufactured
Required Education A high school diploma is required; more advanced positions in this field also require further education from a college or technical school

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics

Machine Operators

Textile manufacturing is largely automated. Machines make fibers from natural or synthetic materials, twist them into threads, weave the threads into cloth, and bleach and dye the cloth.

The machines that carry out these tasks are run by people who are usually trained on the job. Often a more experienced machine operator conducts the training, starting the new operator on simple tasks. After making sure that the new operator understands the machine's operation, the trainer will allow him or her to move on to more complex responsibilities. Payscale reports that in 2019 machine operators earn an average of $40,825.

Garment Workers

Garment workers cut cloth and assemble the pieces into finished garments. This job can be done without a high school diploma. Garment workers usually learn their skills on the job. Some garment workers cut fabric and deliver the pieces to others who run sewing machines. Sewing machine operators may assemble the pieces into a complete garment or add extra items, such as buttons and zippers, to finish the piece.

Finished garments are checked by quality control inspectors and packaged by other garment workers. In general, these textile workers have received on-the-job training in these specific duties. According to the BLS the median salary in 2018 for pressers, or those working with textiles, garments, or related materials was $23,350.

Custom Tailors and Seamstresses

Custom tailors and seamstresses have additional years of experience in the industry. Some learn sewing skills through high school or community college classes. Seamstresses or tailors may run their own shops. Textile professionals who own businesses may have taken business classes, perhaps through a vocational school or community college. The BLS reported the median salary for tailors, dressmakers and custom sewers was $28,600 in 2017.


Someone who wants to advance into a supervisory position within the textile industry should take classes through a community college or other postsecondary institution to gain management skills. Without such additional education, workers may find their promotions limited to senior production jobs. The median salary for a first-line supervisor of production and operating workers was $60,420 in 2018 according to the BLS.

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