Online Fashion Education

by Jennifer Croley
Online Education is a Good Option for Working Students

Whether you are a true fashionista or just want to learn a little about the fashion business, you may want to consider attending classes through an online fashion school.

As an online fashion student, you can try out various areas of the fashion industry, including fashion design, fibers and textiles, footwear design, patternmaking, apparel design, and fashion merchandising.

Online fashion students can take individual courses, complete certificate programs, or even earn an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree. Although most schools require no prior fashion experience or education, a high school diploma or GED is a prerequisite for associate's and bachelor's programs, and a bachelor's degree is required for master's programs. Some programs may also require student portfolios.

Students who wish to earn a bachelor's degree can complete program requirements in as little as 18 months, depending on prior credit and full-time or part-time status.


How Online Programs in Fashion Work

All online fashion students will use the internet as their primary tool to get class information, communicate with instructors and students, and submit assignments. Students may also use e-mail and the phone, and those in degree programs will probably use textbooks.

Obviously, all students will need a computer and internet connection, and, depending on the courses selected, they may also need specialty software, a digital camera, a scanner, a printer, various art materials, and an industrial sewing machine.


Online Fashion Schools

Students seeking an online fashion degree will find various options at the Academy of Art University, which offers online associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees with concentrations in Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising, or Visual Merchandising.

Joan Bergholt, director of merchandising for the Academy of Art University, notes that online programs can rival traditional classroom programs in both information taught and experience. "We are proud to offer our students the most comprehensive, interactive classes that modern technology can provide, replicating the classroom experience as closely as possible, and taught by the same professionals who teach our on-campus classes," notes Bergholt.


Paying for an Online Education in Fashion

Depending on financial need, federal student loans and grants may be available to students in degree programs, but students taking individual courses or taking courses from international schools should expect to pay for classes without financial assistance. Individual schools may offer scholarship programs, so students should check with school financial aid offices for more information.


Employment in the Fashion Industry

Most online fashion students work toward the same goal -- a job in the fashion industry. Online students can expect significant competition, but should be as prepared as traditional students to conduct a successful job search.

"The skills an online fashion student will learn are the same that an on-site student would," points out Bergholt from the Academy of Art University. "Our emphasis on a practical curriculum and creation of a portfolio yields graduates who are ready to work in their industry. Our Career Services Department also helps students in obtaining employment and other opportunities," notes Bergholt.

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