How Long Does Fashion Merchandising School Take?

Fashion merchandisers focus on the business side of the fashion retail operations. This is a very crucial position because it is they who conduct analyses on previous season sales and in so doing they are able to chart ways to improve the company’s bottom line. Their intimate knowledge of the demographics of their customers as well as their buying behaviors enable them to figure out the best marketing and advertising strategies that would convince customers to buy from the store.

A highly-analytical and crucial position such as that of a fashion merchandiser requires postsecondary training. Community colleges and universities offer associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in fashion merchandising that prepare students who would like to work in the business side of the fashion industry. An associate’s degree typically takes around a couple of years to finish while bachelor’s degrees take four years to complete.

While a fashion merchandising degree is typically undertaken on-campus, there are now schools that allow students to take this program entirely online. The advantage of an online program is that it gives students the flexibility to study their lessons at their own pace and time. For those who are married, an online degree gives them the chance to balance their work and family responsibilities. Of course, students who intend to take up an online program for their fashion merchandising degree has to keep in mind that it is up to them to obtain their degree within a set period of time. If they choose to study part-time then it would take them longer to graduate.

At Penn Foster Career School, the fashion merchandising associate degree program takes four semesters to complete. Topics include introduction to the fashion industry, color theory, marketing, consumer behavior, merchandising planning and buying, retail management, fashion promotion and product development. At McKinley College, an associate degree in fashion merchandising can be taken online and can be completed in as short as 16 months. Classes will tackle topics on principles of retailing, fashion textiles, visual merchandising, global buying, marketing principles and brand management, among others. The New School also offers an associate’s degree in fashion marketing online.

While taking a fashion merchandising degree online has many advantages, it should be understood that it takes a lot of commitment to actually complete a degree in this relatively new mode of instruction. Although the student has control over when he or she will listen to lectures and read materials and resources, online programs do require students to submit assignments and pass given projects on time. Those who succeed in obtaining their fashion merchandising degree through online programs are those who know how to organize their time and prioritize their activities. They are also the ones who are self-disciplined and have set the goals they want to achieve and know how to utilize technology to their advantage. They know that if they don’t do their share of the work and don’t comply with the requirements of the course, they won’t be able to obtain their fashion merchandising degree even if it is conveniently given over the Internet.

Career Spotlight: Fashion Merchandiser

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