Associate of Science (AS): Fashion Design Degree Overview

Oct 20, 2021

Essential Information

In an Associate of Science in Fashion Design program, students train in the practices and operations of the garment and fabric industries. Through hands-on and classroom instruction, students learn how to design patterns and fashions by hand and with computer-aided design software. This degree prepares students for higher-level degrees in the discipline, and it is often recommended to combine this topic of study with other business-related subjects.

Program specializations include accessories, footwear and haute couture, among other options. Some programs include a work experience in fashion design. A high school diploma or the equivalent is typically required for admission to this type of 2-year degree program.

Associate of Science (AS) Fashion Design Overview

These programs combine general education coursework with fashion specific classes and field studies. Fashion design students typically spend time in the lab, using their creativity and technical training to create contemporary fashion designs.

Students explore garment fabrication and construction, tailoring techniques, fabric selection and design creation. They also gain familiarity with the operation of several industrial sewing machines, such as the JUKI Lockstitch and JUKI Overlock. While enrolled, students might take classes such as:

  • Patternmaking
  • Fashion illustration
  • Clothing construction
  • Draping
  • Fashion strategies
  • Apparel design

Popular Career Options

Graduates of associate's degree programs in fashion design might be qualified for employment in various industries, including textile retailing, apparel manufacturing and custom dressmaking. However, degree holders should be aware that competition for jobs in the field is intense. Popular career options include:

  • Costume designer
  • Clothing designer
  • Accessory designer

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

A 4% decline in employment was predicted for fashion designers from 2019 to 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, Although postsecondary education is not required, the BLS points out that those with formal education, experience and strong portfolios will have the best job prospects. In 2019, fashion designers earned an average yearly salary of $86,110 per the BLS.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates of an Associate of Science in Fashion Design program usually start their careers working as sketching assistants or patternmakers. Obtaining higher-level positions might require work experience or more education. Some individuals pursue a bachelor's degree program in fashion design. They also might choose to combine their fashion design degree with a marketing or business degree, thus expanding their career options.

An Associate of Science program in fashion design prepares students for work as costume designers, clothing designers and accessory designers through lectures and hands-on experience. Courses students will take include draping, apparel design, and fashion strategies. The job outlook for the fashion design field is slower than average for the coming decade.

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