Fashion designers use their creativity, education, and experience to create clothing and accessories. Every decision they make, such as selecting materials and inventing new styles, reflects their artistic sensibility. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that fashion designers in the United States earned a median annual salary of $73,790 in 2019.
Although the BLS projects jobs for fashion designers to decrease 4% between 2019 and 2029, professionals can increase their employability by enrolling in an online fashion school. These institutions allow students to hone their skills and build a portfolio. Some fashion school online programs also run asynchronously, enabling learners to continue working while earning a degree.
Considering Fashion School? Ask these Questions First
Can you get a fashion degree online?
Many reputable colleges and universities offer online degrees in fashion. These programs feature the same coursework and learning outcomes as on-campus programs.
What can you do with a degree in fashion?
Career opportunities for fashion degree-holders include buyer, design director, and creative director. These and other positions may require industry experience.
How much does online school cost?
Although tuition varies by institution, prospective learners should expect to pay a per-credit or per-semester tuition rate. Degree-seekers can lower their tuition burden by exploring institutional, federal, state, and private financial aid opportunities.
What do you need to get into fashion school?
Online fashion schools' admission requirements resemble other four-year schools. Applicants need a high school diploma or satisfactory GED scores. Some fashion school online programs may also require a work portfolio.
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Why Get a Degree in Fashion?
Students often enroll in an online fashion school to hone their skills and advance their career. Learners attain these and other benefits by earning good grades and using their school's career resources. Some additional benefits of earning a degree in fashion include:
The BLS projects the number of open fashion design positions to decrease between 2019 and 2029. Earning a degree in fashion can help job applicants stand apart from the competition.
Build a Portfolio
Online fashion schools help aspiring fashion designers develop and curate a professional portfolio. Job applicants submit their portfolio to prospective employers.
Degrees in fashion with an asynchronous curriculum allow students to continue earning an income while pursuing a degree. Working students may need less financial aid.
Specializations such as fashion merchandising train students for a specific career path while emphasizing the knowledge and skills all fashion learners need to apply to entry-level positions.
Learn from Experts
Students at most online fashion schools learn from professors with significant real-world experience. Professors' feedback helps learners develop a strong portfolio.
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Courses in Fashion School
Top degrees in fashion emphasize the professional and business fundamentals students need to succeed in the field. Many programs feature a final-semester capstone course in which learners develop a comprehensive portfolio or propose a business plan. Other graduation requirements may include general education courses, such as public speaking, ethics, and statistics.
The sample curriculum below introduces three typical fashion courses. Not all colleges offer or require these courses, so prospective students should speak with enrollment counselors to learn more.
Fashion Textiles for Apparel and HomeThe textile industry influences the fashion design process at every level. Students analyze different fabrics' qualities and production processes, sourcing, popular finishes, and how fashion designers select the best materials. Other course topics may include fast fashion's adverse environmental effects and the industry's sustainability efforts.
Interactive Fashion CommunicationFashion designers use multiple tools when advertising their products, including videos, photographs, websites, and 3D models. Other options include brand partnerships and persuasive writing. This course introduces students to these and other techniques, and learners analyze multiple real-life examples. Graduates use the skills this course emphasizes to create an engaging personal brand.
InternshipMany top programs require enrollees to complete a local internship. No matter the internship site, degree-seekers learn under experienced professionals, gain on-the-job experience, and network with potential employers. Many internships also require students to contribute to an online discussion board, sharing their experiences with their professor and peers.
Design StudioEnrollees use their new knowledge and skills to create a product. Coursework involves considering different materials, turning an idea into a concept draft, and applying critical thinking skills to the design process. Online fashion schools may require more than one design studio course.
Objects as HistoryThis philosophy course asks students to consider what qualities define a physical object. Learners explore human-made objects' impact throughout recorded history, such as how the first arrowheads influenced hunter-gatherer tribes. This analysis helps degree-seekers attain a greater understanding of how design influences function and vice versa.
Scholarships for Fashion Students
Although many fashion school online programs offer institutional and departmental aid, prospective and current students should still research and apply for private scholarships. Opportunities like those below cater to online learners and degree-seekers majoring in fashion or a related topic.
Scholarships for Fashion Students
||Who Can Apply
Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Visual Arts Scholarship
||CBC awards this competitive scholarship to African American students majoring in any visual arts field, including fashion. Other eligibility requirements include a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA and two recommendation letters.
Fashion Scholarship Fund Case Study Scholarship
||College sophomores, juniors, and seniors with a minimum 3.2 undergraduate GPA may apply. Applicants must also attend one of FSF's 66 member schools.
Stella Blum Student Research Grant
||The Costume Society of America offers this scholarship to student members researching North American costume. Application materials include a research proposal, official transcripts, and two recommendation letters.
Online Fashion Schools
#1 Online Fashion Schools
Central Michigan University
- Mount Pleasant, MI
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Learners interested in fashion can pursue the bachelor's degree in fashion merchandising and design from Central Michigan University in a flexible online format. The online program is ideal for students with busy schedules. During the online program, majors gain the knowledge and skills required for entry-level careers in fashion.
The fashion curriculum comprises core coursework and advanced classes to prepare degree-seekers for the workforce. Learners can customize the curriculum through elective coursework, and they take general education classes. General education requirements help students develop critical thinking and analytical skills. Faculty mentors help learners select courses that will support their career aspirations.
The public institution offers 54 online programs, along with in-person programs at its campus in Mount Pleasant. Degree-seekers who want to maintain full-time employment while earning their degree can enroll in one of the school's 10 online bachelor's programs. Students with financial need can apply for federal aid, including grants and loans.
Percent Online Enrollment
Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Higher Learning Commission
#2 Online Fashion Schools
Johnson & Wales University
- Providence, RI
- 4 years
Johnson & Wales University delivers 25 academic programs from its Providence campus. Learners enrolled in the private institution's bachelor's programs can study online or at the institution's campus. To prepare for fashion careers, undergraduate students can pursue the school's online degree in the field.
The online bachelor's in fashion merchandising and retailing program's high-quality learning experience incorporates scheduling flexibility. General education requirements help students develop critical thinking and analytical skills, which graduates can apply to careers in a variety of fields. Specialized electives and upper-division coursework in the field prepare degree-seekers to succeed in the workforce. Faculty mentors and academic advisors work with undergraduates to ensure the curriculum aligns with their professional goals.
The institution's affordable tuition rates make it easier for learners to pursue undergraduate degrees. Financial aid counseling can help students reduce the financial burden of obtaining an education.
Johnson & Wales University Facts:
Admission Rate: 41%
Total Bachelor's Programs: 16
Online Bachelor's Programs: 16
Transfer Credits Accepted: No
Percent Online Enrollment
New England Commission on Higher Education