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.
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.
"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
Why SNHU for Your AS in Fashion Merchandising
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
Take advantage of some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation, plus financial aid for those who qualify. We also make it easy to transfer to SNHU by accepting up to 90 credits for a bachelor's degree and 45 credits for an associate degree from your previous institution.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 100,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, SNHU has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
- “Most Innovative” regional university honors from U.S. News & World Report each year since 2015
- A $1 million grant from Google.org to explore soft skills assessments for high-need youth
- Recognition as a 2017 Digital Learning Innovator by the Online Learning Consortium
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 200,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
96.5% of students would recommend SNHU.3 Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Part of our mission to expand access to quality higher education means removing the barriers that may stand between you and your degree. That’s why you can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials.
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 6 (8-week) undergraduate terms.
How to Apply
Simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options, answer all your questions and walk you through the application process. Start by:
- Completing a free undergraduate application
- Providing previous institutions attended – so we can retrieve transcripts for you at no cost
Test scores are not required as part of your application.
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
- 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."
For 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.”
|View Full Curriculum in the Catalog|
|AS in Fashion Merchandising|
|Courses May Include|
|AS in Fashion Merchandising|
|ACC 201||Financial Accounting||Students will learn the steps of the accounting cycle and how to prepare financial statements in accordance with industry established rules and regulations. Students will develop skills needed to analyze financial accounting information, communicate this information to stakeholders, and understand the accounting procedures that produce this information.|
|ACC 202||Managerial Accounting||Students will explore the financial impact of short-term and long-term business decisions. By learning how accounting and other productivity information can be used to assess and improve performance of an organization, managers will be provided the essential information they need to execute growth strategies and select opportunities that create business value.|
|FMM 101||Basic Design and Color Theory||This course examines the basic principles of design, including balance, emphasis, proportion and rhythm. The art elements of line, space, texture and color are studied with special emphasis on how they relate to advertising layout and design and visual merchandising. This course is cross-listed with GRA-101.|
|FMM 114||Introduction to Fashion Merchandising||Fashion principles and procedures used in planning, selecting, pricing and selling fashion goods in retail stores, catalogs and on the Internet are studied. Merchandising systems, assortment plans and inventory control methods are analyzed.|
|FMM 204||Textiles and Color Theory||Textile information pertinent to merchandising is included in this course. Analysis of fibers, yarns and weaves, fabric recognition, and a detailed study of natural and man-made materials are emphasized.|
|FMM 225||Merchandise Planning||This course seeks to instill in students a complete understanding of the influence of merchandise planning and purchasing on retail profit. Students analyze profit and loss statement and demonstrate a complete understanding of the factors that influence the retailer's financial performance.|
|MKT 113||Introduction to Marketing||This course examines the organization's functions for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers. These functions, designed to meet customers' needs and organizational goals, include marketing research, environmental monitoring, target market selection, product selection, promotion, distribution and pricing.|
|MKT 222||Principles of Retailing||This course studies the basics of retailing and emphasizes the development of retail institutions, store layout and design, merchandising, pricing and problems retailers experience in today's business environment.|
|MKT 230||Retail Sales Promotion||This course focuses on sales promotion in the retail sector. The specific needs of retailers in the areas of advertising, visual merchandising, personal selling, and special events planning are among the topics addressed. The culminating project will be a sales promotion plan that will include a major special event. This project is designed to be flexible to support the range of retailing interests represented in the class.|
|OL 125||Human Relations in Administration||The human relations skills that managers need to develop interaction skills that contribute directly to effective human resource management and the development of higher productivity are studied. Skill areas include leadership, motivation, communications, group dynamics, organizational development, management by objectives, and stress and time management. Students learn techniques for becoming more effective managers, subordinates, peers and persons. Students are introduced to the international aspects of human relations.|
|Total Credits: 60|
Tuition & Fees
As a private, nonprofit university, we’re committed to making college more accessible by making it more affordable. That’s why we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation—and haven't raised our costs in a decade.
We also 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|
(U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)*
Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.
*Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.
No Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I do with an associate degree in fashion merchandising?
With an associate degree in fashion merchandising, you can prepare for entry-level and management-level jobs in the retail and fashion industries.
The fashion industry is evolving, with more business than ever being conducted online. 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
Fashion and retail companies need business-savvy individuals to help lead teams through the evolving retail landscape – and keep tabs on fashion trends.
With an associate degree in fashion merchandising, you could find work developing campaigns to promote new products or sales, building storefront displays to attract window shoppers, helping to direct the manufacturing process or even predicting future fashion trends.
Some common jobs for fashion merchandising degree holders include:
- Merchandising displayer
- Social media brand ambassador
- Entry-level merchandiser
- Showroom assistant
- Wholesale and manufacturing sales representative
- Retail supervisor
- Store manager
- Boutique manager
Is an associate degree in fashion merchandising worth it?
If you want a career that mixes creativity with business skills in a growing industry, then yes. An associate degree in fashion merchandising can open the door to a variety of careers in fashion and retail, and can help you get started in your dream career.
With a fashion merchandising associate degree, you’ll be prepared to seek job opportunities across many fields, including marketing, sales, management, merchandising and manufacturing.
By earning an associate-level fashion degree, you can complete your degree in as few as 2 years. So you’ll have the skills you need to join the workforce faster and get valuable professional experience in the growing fashion industry.
Jobs within the industry are also growing. Jobs for sales managers are projected to grow 5% through 2028.2 And jobs for purchasing managers are projected to grow 4% over the same time period.2
Earning an associate degree online, you can also significantly boost your long-term job and salary potential. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, associate degree holders earned 6.4% more per week in 2019 than workers with some college coursework but no degree, and about 19% more than workers with only a high school diploma.2
Associate degree holders also saw lower unemployment rates in 2019, at just 2.7%.2 Workers with only a high school diploma saw unemployment rates of 3.7% the same year.2
Better yet, you can seamlessly continue your studies from an associate degree to a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising or any one of our dozens of business degrees, saving you time and money. With a bachelor's degree you can open up additional management level opportunities.
Where can I get a fashion merchandising associate degree?
Fashion merchandising is a growing field and more fashion marketing schools and other institutions are offering fashion degrees. Choosing among fashion merchandising colleges and degree programs? It’s important to consider what the degree coursework will cover, the flexibility of the degree program and whether it can help you transition easily into a more advanced degree.
At SNHU, the fashion merchandising degree online was designed to give you a solid business foundation combined with a strong understanding of the fashion industry. You’ll be able to leverage your online fashion degree into a bachelor’s degree – even years later.
Balancing coursework with family obligations and a career? You’ll benefit from our flexible online associate degree in fashion merchandising. Your coursework is available 24/7, so you can work when it’s convenient for you. And you’ll have access to a full range of student services online, including writing help, tutoring and career advising.
Already completed some college coursework? SNHU’s generous transfer policy allows you to apply up to 45 transfer credits to a 2-year degree. With the maximum transfer load, you could turn your existing coursework into a degree with just 5 courses.
What degree do you need for fashion merchandising?
It depends on your career goals. While some fashion and retail jobs may require a bachelor’s degree, many jobs in the industry can be started with only an associate degree.
Fashion industry workers have a variety of educational backgrounds, including marketing, business and liberal arts. But a fashion merchandising degree can give you a leg up when applying for jobs.
With an associate degree from SNHU, you could earn your online fashion degree in about two years. This means you can get started in the field faster. You’ll gain key business skills and industry knowledge you can use to seek entry-level and management-level jobs in fashion and retail.
The fashion degree online focuses on merchandising and retailing principles. Fashion merchandising classes are designed and taught by practicing professionals. In SNHU's fashion merchandising program, you’ll explore courses in design, textiles, marketing, retailing and sales promotion. You'll also take courses in accounting, human relations and retail sales promotion.
A fashion merchandising internship is also required. An internship can help you develop key career skills and give you firsthand experience employers want to see.
If you want to advance your career and move into management positions, a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising could be a good next step.
When you earn your online fashion degree from SNHU, you don't have to worry about applying to a new fashion merchandising school to get your 4-year degree. Seamlessly transition into our bachelor's degree in fashion merchandising program - saving time and money.
How much do fashion merchandisers make?
It varies depending on your career path. With an online fashion merchandising degree, you could qualify for entry-level and management-level positions, opening up a broad range of opportunities and salaries.
With an associate degree, you could find entry-level work as a retail worker or retail supervisor. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, retailer workers earned a median hourly rate of $12.23 – or $25,440 annually – in 2019.2 First-line retail supervisors earned a median salary of $45,830 the same year.2
Your fashion merchandising associate degree could also help position you for management-level fashion industry jobs, including as a purchasing agent or sales manager.
In 2019, retail sales managers earned a median salary of $86,180.2 The median annual wage for buyers and purchasing agents was $64,380 the same year.2
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.
Sources & Citations (1, 2, 3)
1Statista, Fashion E-commerce in the United States, 2019, on the internet, at: https://www.statista.com/topics/3481/fashion-e-commerce-in-the-united-states/ (viewed June 30, 2020)
2Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at:
- https://www.bls.gov/oes/2017/may/oes271026.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/wholesale-and-manufacturing-sales-representatives.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/retail-sales-workers.htm#tab-1 (viewed June 30, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes411011.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/purchasing-managers-buyers-and-purchasing-agents.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/emp/chart-unemployment-earnings-education.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/sales-managers.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.
3According to a survey responses from over 9,200 SNHU online students conducted in the fall of 2019.