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Audrey Greathouse with a city backdrop with text Audrey Greathouse '14

Fashion Degree Online Associate in Merchandising

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Register By: May 01 Classes Start: May 03

Earn a Fashion Degree Online

  • $320/credit (60 credits)
  • Transfer up to 45 credits toward your associate degree
  • Gain experience necessary to enter the field
  • Program accredited by ACBSP
  • No application fee or SAT/ACT scores required
  • Easily stacks into a bachelor's in fashion merchandising

Associate Degree in Fashion Merchandising Program Overview

Combine your passion for trendsetting style with in-demand business skills with the online Associate of Science (AS) in Fashion Merchandising degree from Southern New Hampshire University. This online fashion degree could be the start to an exciting and rewarding career.

SNHU’s 2-year fashion degree online focuses on the application of retailing and fashion merchandising theory. You’ll take courses in design and color theory, textiles, retailing and marketing. You’ll also gain a strong foundation of business knowledge that can serve you well across many industries.

With a fashion degree, you’ll be prepared for entry-level careers in buying, visual merchandising, sales and vendor relations in retail or wholesale settings.

Learn how to:

  • Apply basic design and color theory to fashion merchandising
  • Apply basic psychological principles to sales techniques
  • Identify product life cycle merchandising in the fashion industry
  • Analyze differences between retail and wholesale environments
  • Illustrate how business and fashion decisions relate to industry tech

Want to continue your education? You don’t have to worry about applying to another school. SNHU also offers a bachelor’s-level fashion merchandising degree.

Career Outlook

Fashion merchandising is one part art, one part business. As a fashion merchandising professional, you can combine a love of apparel and design with a business-oriented mindset to help brands gain exposure and increase revenue.

Fashion and retail are dynamic, evolving industries. Opportunities for fashion degree graduates are also evolving.

While brick-and-mortar retail businesses have seen declines in recent years, the online apparel business is booming. In the United States, retail e-commerce revenue from the sale of fashion apparel, footwear and accessories is projected to reach $146 billion by 2023, up from $102 billion in 2018.1

As fashion companies work to engage their customers online, streamline online shopping options and continue to shift and evolve to meet other trends within the industry, they need business-savvy workers with a strong understanding of design to help them get there.

Dr. Jessica Rogers with the text Dr. Jessica Rogers"The associate degree in fashion merchandising at SNHU prepares students for careers in retail, fashion merchandising or fashion marketing," said Dr. Jessica Rogers, associate dean of business programs at SNHU. "With career focused projects, this degree will prepare students for fashion industry careers in store management, visual merchandising, social media, and entry level merchandising analytics."

When you earn an associate degree in fashion merchandising online, you could complete your degree in as few as 2 years. This means you can gain a valuable credential and get started in the workforce faster.

With an associate degree in fashion merchandising, you could work as a purchasing agent for a retail company. Purchasing agents select product lines and create promotions to boost brand awareness. You could work directly for a designer or fashion label, connecting with retail buyers to place their items in stores. Dream of entrepreneurship? You could even apply your fashion degree to starting your own store or online boutique.

Possible jobs for fashion merchandising degree holders include:

  • Visual merchandiser: Plan and erect commercial displays, including those in windows and interiors of retail stores and at trade exhibitions. Use design and color theory to promote products and influence consumer behavior.
  • Social media brand ambassador: Promote a company's products to target markets via social media marketing strategies. Create, post and share social media content and engage with customers online.
  • Entry-level fashion merchandiser: Receive, price and prepare products for sale in a retail, e-commerce or wholesale fashion environment. Complete quality control review of incoming merchandise and manage merchandise inventory.
  • Wholesale and manufacturing sales representative: Sell fashion goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses and other organizations. Contact customers, explain the features of the products they’re selling and negotiate prices.
  • Showroom assistant: Greet customers entering a showroom and help them locate desired items. Arrange product displays, demonstrate product features and handle customer complaints.
  • Retail sales worker: Help customers find products they want and process customer payments. Recommend merchandise based on customers’ wants and needs, and explain the use and benefits of merchandise to customers.
  • Retail supervisor: Manage a team of retail workers, handle customer problems or complaints. Lead day-to-day duties including purchasing, budgeting, accounting and personnel work.
  • Retail store manager: Oversee the daily operations of a retail store to ensure it runs smoothly and effectively. Motivate sales teams, create business and sales strategies, develop promotional material and train new staff.
  • Boutique manager: Manage daily operations of small retails stores focusing on niche markets. Recruit and train staff, network with vendors, order supplies, handle customer complaints and develop marketing strategies.

The opportunities for fashion degree holders are diverse. Salary potential can vary depending on your specific fashion merchandising career path.

Merchandiser displayers, for example, earned a median annual wage of $30,940 in 2019. Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives in retail earned a median salary of $52,720 the same year. First-line retail supervisors earned a median salary of $45,830 in 2019.2

Earning your associate degree in fashion merchandising online can help you boost your earning and growth potential in these fashion careers.

In 2019, associate degree holders earned about 19% more per week than workers with only a high school diploma.2 And workers with an associate degree saw an unemployment rate of just 2.7% in 2019, compared to 3.7% for workers with a high school diploma.2

Want to advance your career in fashion even further? Earning a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising can open up additional management-level opportunities in the industry. A fashion merchandising bachelor's degree can dive deeper into merchandising, consumer behavior and retail sales promotion.

When you earn your fashion merchandising associate degree from SNHU, you can seamlessly transition into a 4-year fashion degree program. Your associate-level fashion merchandising courses, business courses and general education courses can be applied toward your bachelor’s degree requirements, saving you time and money.

Start Your Journey Towards an Online Fashion Merchandising Degree

Courses & Curriculum

An associate degree in fashion merchandising can help you combine a love of fashion trends with a business-focused education. Attending a 2-year fashion marketing school can help you get started faster in a variety of fashion careers.

SNHU's fashion degree online curriculum can help you build a solid foundation in merchandising and retailing principles and practices. Fashion merchandising courses are designed and taught by practicing fashion and retail professionals, ensuring you have access to up-to-date industry insight.

Because fashion merchandising careers require some key business, marketing and sales skills, your fashion merchandising program includes a strong foundation of business education.

You’ll explore a variety of business skills and practices, including:

  • Financial accounting
  • Managerial accounting
  • Information technology
  • Marketing
  • Sales promotion
  • Human relations

You’ll also take a number of general education courses as part of your degree, which can help you build key career soft skills, including communication, problem solving, critical thinking and analysis.

In your fashion merchandising courses, you’ll gain a broad foundation of fashion design, trends and styling combined with courses designed to teach you the business side of the fashion industry.

You’ll explore design and color theory, and learn the basic design principles of balance, emphasis, proportion and rhythm. You’ll also explore the art elements of line, space, texture and color. You can learn how these elements relate to advertising layout and visual merchandising. You can also study textiles in more detail, analyzing fibers, yarns and weaves, natural and man-made materials to practice fabric recognition.

In an introductory fashion merchandising course, you can learn the fashion principles and procedures used in planning, selecting, pricing and selling fashion products in retail stores, catalogs and online.

You’ll expand on this learning later in your fashion degree, focusing on the influence of merchandise planning and purchasing on retail profit. You’ll get hands-on experience analyzing profit and loss statements. And you can review the factors that influence a retailer’s overall financial performance.

Your online fashion merchandising courses can also help you gain a better understanding of the basics of retailing. These include store layout and design, merchandising, pricing and the challenges for retailers in today’s environment.

Fashion marketing degree courses will cover the skills needed to promote fashion brands and products. You can learn the principles of sales promotion in the retail sector, including advertising, visual merchandising, personal selling and special events planning. You’ll apply your coursework learning to creating a sales promotion plan, including a major special event, to get key hands-on learning experience.

A required fashion merchandising internship can help you get even more valuable real-world experience. The internship must be US-based and must relate to the way apparel products and apparel accessories are marketed and distributed. You can work with SNHU’s career advising team and fashion program coordinator to find the internship that’s right for you.

"The internship course that is offered at SNHU has given students the chance to work with some of the best retailers in the country in some of the most amazing fashion experiences," said Dr. Jessica Rogers. "Students have worked with the development of wholesale sales in corporate offices, shadowed department store management, and used digital technology to help promote sales for a social media."

Yame Trigo with the text Yame TrigoFor Yamel Trigo '18, an internship with a women’s clothing boutique in Miami was an important step on her journey to working in fashion.

Trigo, who has quadriplegia and uses a wheelchair, said she was nervous when she reached out to the boutique on Instagram to ask if they could take on an intern. But she got a boost of confidence when she not only landed the internship, but also got to experience firsthand the marketing, customer service, merchandising and sales strategies that go into owning and operating a retail shop.

She was able to get experience with helping customers, creating sales flyers for the shop and even attending buying events, giving her a hands-on application for her coursework learning.

“I learned a lot about what the buyers have to do during these buying trips and how long they take, depending on how much merchandise is available to look at,” Trigo said. “We were there for about four hours, but it was worth it because I got to see a glimpse of what I hope to be doing in the future.”

Tuition & Fees

Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.

Online Undergraduate Programs Per Course Per Credit Hour Annual Cost for 30 credits 
Degree/Certificates $960 $320 $9,600
Degree/Certificates
(U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)
$675 $225 $6,750

Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.

Additional Costs
No Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)

Frequently Asked Questions

University Accreditation

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.

This program and its concentrations are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Student achievement data can be found on College Navigator.

ACBSP logo

References