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Best Online Degrees in: Fashion Design

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Editor's Picks: Online Schools for Fashion Design

This award goes to Academy of Art University, which has a 30-year net return on investment of 5.6%, according to This number increases to 6% when factoring in financial aid. The online fashion design degree is also regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, so students can feel assured they're getting a good value for their money.

Academy of Art University receives this distinction for online classes that are accessible and flexible. Students can choose from a number of different delivery methods, such as written lectures, video demonstrations, interactive slideshows, class discussions, and sometimes one-on-one video conferences with the instructor, so they have the learning method that works best for them. Online discussions also are asynchronous, so students can ask questions as they arise and contribute to discussions at any time.

Career Support
This honor goes to Academy of Art University for its efforts to connect students with those in their relevant industry. Students can find job and internship opportunities through the school's job board, as well as view online entrepreneurship workshops. The school also encourages alumni and professionals to work with or mentor current students by posting to the job board and viewing the students' portfolio websites.

Technology Support
Academy of Art University receives this nod thanks to its variety of instructional videos and demos that students can easily access online. Such resources include how-to videos dealing with library resources and art practices. When seeking IT support, students can contact the help desk by phone or email, as well as find advice online for any quick fixes.

Student Engagement
This distinction goes to the Academy of Art University for its efforts to create a "classroom" environment online. Through limited class sizes, integrated use of the Web, and conference software, students can interact with each other and their instructors. Outside of class, students can connect with classmates and access university resources through the school's Web portal, MyAcademy. Additionally, the school has a traveling expo and other in-person events. Thanks to these practices, the school stands out among other online programs, ranking on U.S. News & World Report‘s list of the best schools for student engagement and assessment.

Library and Research Support
Academy of Art University earns this award thanks to its comprehensive library services available to distance learners. Students can search for books and periodicals by subject lists, including fashion, find tutorials on using library resources, and can contact a librarian via email or phone for any research questions.

Learning Support
Academy of Art University earns this distinction for its variety of online learning support. Students can get tips on online learning strategies, receive feedback on their writing, find English language support, and participate in live online tutoring clinics that focus on improving software and drawing skills.

Faculty Credentials
Academy of Art University receives this award for online fashion design degrees for a faculty comprised of top industry professionals skilled in a variety of areas, including design, merchandising, textiles, and knitwear. The schools also is ranked among the top online programs for faculty credentials by U.S. News & World Report. The publication notes that 39% of the school's instructors have at least two years of experience, are required to receive training in conducting online classes, and that the school finances this training.

Faculty Accessibility
Academy of Art University earns this award for its available and accountable faculty. Instructors are available via phone, online discussion, and email. According to U.S. News & World Report, students can expect instructors to respond to emails within 24 hours. Instructors also track student sign-ins, ensuring student participation in class. Academy's small class sizes also help foster contacts between the students and faculty. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the school has a faculty-to-student ratio of 22-to-1.

Alumni Engagement
This honor goes to Academy of Art University, which has more than 25,000 alumni the world over. Its Alumni Association helps these graduates stay connected and advance in their careers by giving them access to its career resources and online job board and inviting them to share their work and accomplishments through a survey, which may then be published in an alumni journal and online.

New Online Student Orientation
Academy of Art University receives this award for its convenient online resources. Students new and old alike can access tutorials and orientations that are available at any time. They include an overview of the school's online learning system interface and more than 12,000 videos for more than 30 software applications. Students can also preview a sampling of the Academy's online classes to get a feel for the school.

Explore a Bachelor's Degree in Fashion Design

An online bachelor's degree in fashion design helps students gain a mastery of modern fashion design standards and construction, and also provide students with hands on experience needed to create a collection of designs for a portfolio. Students will also study different marketing techniques used in the industry, and develop a sound knowledge of various textiles and merchandising. Most online bachelor's degree programs in fashion take approximately four to five years to complete, depending on the school and program.

Class Curriculum

The curriculum for bachelor's level students enrolled in a fashion design program will usually include basic-level courses in writing, mathematics, English, and communication. Most programs will contain core curricula courses in marketing, merchandising, clothing construction, several design courses, and courses that familiarize students with computer software used in the industry.

  • Fashion Design. This course teaches students to incorporate design research and development with various drawing methods and techniques, for the purpose of presenting designs. Students must complete both problem solving projects presented by the professor, and also create and present original designs of their own.
  • Handknitting. In this course students learn basic skills needed to make knitted garments. Students will start from the ground up by selecting their own yarn, estimating completion costs, and completing their own hand-knitting projects.
  • Business Seminar. This course immerses students in modern business principles used in the fashion industry. Additionally, the course will introduce students to entrepreneurial and financial planning techniques that needed during a career in fashion design.

Most online bachelor's degree programs in fashion design should allow students to complete coursework at their own pace within a specific time frame allotted for each assignment or course. However, due to the hands-on nature required for some courses, students may need to do some work by hand that may require the submission of a physical object. Most programs also require that students complete some form of internship or work study program before graduation.

Building a Career

While no formal education is required to enter the field of fashion design, a bachelor's degree in the field can help you gain access to an entry-level position. In most cases, an individual's portfolio will carry more weight than formal education since it gives employers an example of one's skills and abilities. However, most fashion design programs have a curricula aimed at helping students develop a professional portfolio that can be used during a job search after graduation. Employers typically not only look for creativity in original design ideas, but also seek technically sound employees who have modern computer and business skills.

It should be noted that positions in the field are limited, and there is a significant amount of competition. Most designers should be prepared to work in large cities that are hubs for fashion. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 75 percent of all salaried fashion designers worked in New York or California. The BLS also reported that median annual wage for fashion designers was $64,530.