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Online Masters Degree in Fashion Merchandising

Fashion is a worldwide, billion-dollar industry with products ranging from priceless couture dresses to mass-produced socks and everything in between. The industry is projected to grow as fashion becomes more accessible to younger, budget-conscious shoppers, according to IBISWorld's 2011 research report.

If you have a flair for style and a head for numbers, take a look at the clothing business. Master's degrees in fashion merchandising can help you influence how communities and consumers interact with trends in tomorrow's fashion industry.

Earning master's degrees in fashion merchandising

Advanced studies in merchandising go beyond the general education you've already received, teaching you how to select and sell items such as apparel and accessories. This targeted training should cover buying principles, merchandising administration, promotional strategies, textile product analysis and more. Some schools may include internships and other extracurricular activities.

Ideally, the master's degree will give you training that goes beyond clothing design and basic merchandising. You should gain an in-depth understanding of many aspects of the industry, including manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing.

Career outlook and salaries in fashion merchandising

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide data specifically for fashion merchandisers, but it reports that purchasing managers for all industries earned median annual wages of $97,130 for 2011. Within the category of apparel accessories and other apparel manufacturing, purchasing managers saw a mean annual wage of $72,940 in 2011.

For purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents, the BLS projects modest employment growth of 7 percent between 2010 and 2020. The BLS notes that wholesale and retail buyers for apparel were paid a mean salary of $62,420 in 2011.

The role of experience and education in fashion merchandising

While entry level retail buyers may need only a bachelor's degree, purchasing managers typically have a degree and experience as a buyer or purchasing agent. Strong qualifications are required for management roles such as purchasing wholesale textiles for clothing companies or overseeing a merchandising department within a retail operation.

The world of fashion is a competitive one, for merchandisers as well as designers, and it's important to have a solid resume highlighting education and experience. Explore your options, including online degree programs, which allow you to train in fashion merchandising without putting your life on hold.

Featured Online Fashion Merchandising Degree Programs

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