Fashion Merchandising Schools

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What is Fashion Merchandising?

Fashion merchandising involves developing an understanding of the fashion industry, including anticipating consumer demand and identifying growing trends in order to take advantage of market conditions and to release products in order to take advantage of such demand. Individuals working in the field will use a variety of research models in order to extrapolate information for use in the decision making process.

Marketing, business, merchandising and analytical skills are all utilized by individuals when attempting to track market forces. Individuals in this field may find themselves specializing in a particular area of fashion merchandising or focusing on a specific market group.

Top Fashion Merchandising Degrees

A number of degree programs exist for those seeking to enter the fashion merchandising field or progress in the field with additional educational opportunities.  Programs range from certificate programs through bachelor degrees in fashion merchandising.  Whether you elect to learn in a classroom or online, degrees in merchandising can help you reach our career goals.  A summary of each degree type is listed below:

Certificate Programs in Fashion Merchandising

Certificate programs in fashion merchandising are offered via several accredited colleges and universities found on this resource page.  Certificate programs will come in two distinct types: graduate and undergraduate.  The undergraduate certificate program is an entry-level program focused on providing students with core skills and key concepts to navigate merchandising from the ground up.

Graduate certificate programs, on the other hand, are upper-level courses designed for working professionals and qualifying students to upskill, add key knowledge, advance their career, or prepare for a job transition.  To learn more about certificate options, simply select the button below or sort by schools on this page to find the perfect college program for you.

Associate Degrees in Fashion Merchandising

The associate degree in fashion merchandising can be conferred as an Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Fine Arts (AFA) as a function of the coursework and school’s accreditation parameters.  Specializations in the associate degree track can include: Merchandising and Marketing, Fashion Marketing, Merchandise Product Development.

The 2-year associate’s degree will provide students with liberal arts classes such as math, sociology, and psychology to help students think differently about the world around them.  Core classes in the associate degree program can include classes such as: sales management, consumer behavior, event promotion, advertising, merchandise management, business management, financial management, apparel production, retail operations, visual merchandising, and brand marketing.

Bachelor Degrees in Fashion Merchandising

The bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising is a four-year program for full-time students and longer for part-time students as a function of course load and completion.  Bachelor degrees can be conferred as Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Bachelor of Arts (BA), or Bachelor of Science (BS) dependent upon the curricular design of the program.

A bachelor’s degree provides students with additional liberal arts classes and core courses to help them fill-in their skill set, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.  Students will take core classes in graphic design, business management, theory of design, manufacturing, leadership, economics, retail management, marketing, textiles fundamentals, forecasting, retailing basics, sales promotion, image manipulation, digital illustration, digital imaging, procurement, contemporary design, and visual imaging.

The overarching goals of the bachelor’s degree program in fashion merchandising is to prepare students by providing them tools to become effective communicators, merchandising professionals, marketing experts, technologically proficient, and effective visual merchandisers.

Educational Requirements in Merchandising

A degree in fashion merchandising prepares an individual with the skills necessary to track market trends, identify new fashions, approximate costs and evaluate demand for various products in the fashion industry. Fashion merchandising is a growing field; certificate and degree programs have become more commonplace and often explore the business side of fashion. A fashion merchandising program will impart multiple skills ranging from the artistic to business.

Individuals enrolled in a fashion merchandising program will be exposed to various fashions, trends, and design principles. Utilizing case studies, students will learn about how trends may impact the market, and how new fashions may be introduced into a given area.

Students will also learn about manufacturing pipelines, how to develop and maintaining relationships with various suppliers and manufacturers, as well as understanding the process for production and the costs associated for orders of varying size. In addition, business courses will be taken, providing understanding of basic economic principles and managerial methods.  A curriculum in fashion merchandising may include:

  • Merchandising
  • Retailing
  • Import and Export
  • Textiles
  • Production Methods

Employment in Fashion Merchandising

As it is a burgeoning field there is no standard degree for entry level positions, and talent carries a significant amount of weight. Positions requiring cost-benefit analyses on production, and equivalent statistical reporting may require higher levels of education or several years of experience.

A fashion merchandiser must constantly be on the lookout for developing trends, and must be able to examine previous fashion trends to predict product purchases for stores, or production runs for designers.

Individuals in this field should be able to distinguish themselves by demonstrating industry knowledge and accurately understanding the forces that are in effect when considering marketing solutions and production options.

Some possible career paths include:

  • Fashion Advertising Agent
  • Event Planner
  • Store Buyer
  • Promotion Specialist

Fashion Merchandising Jobs & Industry Growth

Job growth in fashion merchandising is expected to grow significantly faster than average over the next decade. This is due to burgeoning markets locally, nationally, and internationally. The desire for professionals who understand fashion production and can identify trends in the market is expected to increase as the ability to deliver goods to previously untapped markets increases. This is coupled with an increased interest in fashion by the middle class which will increase the demand for varying fashions in the future.

The average salary for someone with a degree in fashion merchandise is $60,700 per year, but can vary wildly based on career path, experience, and employer.  The outlook for the industry over the next ten years is steady with an expected 7,200 fashion merchandisers expected to join the ranks of the profession.

List of Fashion Industry Associations

Fashion Art Schools Near You

The team at MatchCollege is always looking for ways to help students and working professionals find important information about higher education.  We have sorted fashion art programs by size, degree type, area of concentration, state, and school type.  For visual learners, we have included an alphabetical list of the top ranked fashion art schools in the country for additional research purposes.

Academy of Art University Musicians Institute
Academy of Vocal Arts New England School of Photography
AI Miami International University of Art And Design New Hampshire Institute of Art
American Academy of Art New York Academy of Art
American Academy of Dramatic Arts West New York Conservatory For Dramatic Arts
American Conservatory Theater New York Film Academy Universal City
American Institute of Interior Design New York School of Interior Design
Antonelli Institute Northwest College of Art
Art Academy of Cincinnati Nossi College of Art
Art Center College of Design Oklahoma School of Photography
Art Institute Pittsburgh Omore College of Design
Atlanta Institute of Music Oregon College of Art And Craft
Berklee College of Music Otis College of Art And Design
California College of The Arts Pacific Northwest College of Art
California Institute of The Arts Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts
Circle In The Square Theater School Pennsylvania College of Art And Design
Cleveland Institute of Art Portland Actors Conservatory
Cleveland Institute of Music Ringling College of Art And Design
Columbia College Hollywood Rocky Mountain College of Art And Design
Columbus College of Art And Design San Francisco Art Institute
Compass College of Cinematic Arts San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Cornish College of The Arts Santa Fe University of Art And Design
Cranbrook Academy of Art Savannah College of Art And Design
Design Institute of San Diego School of Advertising Art Inc
Ducret School of Arts School of The Art Institute of Chicago
Ex Pression College For Digital Arts School of The Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Fashion Institute of Technology School of Visual Arts
Gemological Institute of America The Art Center Design College Albuquerque
Gemological Institute of America New York The Art Institute of California
Hobart Institute of Welding Technology The Art Institute of Philadelphia
Hussian School of Art The Collective School of Music
Interior Designers Institute The Creative Center
Kansas City Art Institute The Fashion Institute of Design Merchandising
KD College Conservatory of Film And Dramatic Arts The Illinois Institute of Art Chicago
Laguna College of Art And Design The Juilliard School
Los Angeles Music Academy The Kubert School
Maine College of Art The New England Conservatory of Music
Manhattan School of Music The New England Institute of Art
Maryland Institute College of Art The University of The Arts
Massachusetts College of Art And Design University of North Carolina School of The Arts
Milwaukee Institute of Art Design Vandercook College of Music
Minneapolis College of Art And Design Visible School Music And Worships Arts College
Montserrat College of Art Wade College
Moore College of Art And Design Watkins College of Art Design Film


Those interested in a degree in fashion merchandising may also be interested in apparel and accessories marketing operations, fashion and apparel design, or business administration.

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Career Summary: Fashion merchandising Major




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