The work of fashion designers demands creativity and skill; these professionals must create everything from T-shirts and sandals to evening gowns and high-end accessories, often from scratch. Professional designers must also be well-acquainted with cultural and market trends for different age, gender, and socioeconomic groups in order to satisfy customers and push design in new directions.

Students in fashion design certificate programs will learn how select fabrics and patterns, and to sketch and draft using computer-aided design (CAD) software programs. They will be encouraged to attend fashion shows and conduct research about fashion and consumer trends. Additionally, students will receive training on how to communicate with sales and management executives, suppliers, and other industry professionals. Graduates of the program may launch their own fashion design business or work for a large company. Therefore, it is important that students not only hone their clothing design skills but also develop business expertise.

Why a Certificate Program in Fashion Design?

The certificate in fashion design may be an ideal career move for individuals who demonstrate passion for the industry, and are ready to work hard to become a successful fashion designer. Motivation is also important, as this industry is highly competitive; programs offered at online colleges for fashion design may be competitive, as well.

Furthermore, fashion design is one of the few lucrative careers that does not require a bachelor’s degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reports that in 2010, fashion designers earned a median salary of $64,530. BLS also says that the employment rate for this profession is unlikely to change between 2010 and 2020.

Getting Into a Fashion Design Certificate Program

Candidates for online certificate programs in fashion designing do not necessarily need an extensive portfolio or years of professional experience. However, they must be able to demonstrate some fashion design knowledge and skills to be considered for these programs. Requirements generally include:

  • Official high school transcripts or GED
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume
  • Creative collage or similar project
  • Completed application and fee

Inside a Fashion Design Certificate Program

Students who attend offline and online certificate programs in fashion design receive both technical and creative training that covers various aspects of the industry. Program curricula vary across institutions, but most fashion design certificate programs incorporate essential skills like tailoring, couture design, and technical drafting. The fundamental goal of most programs is to guide students as they develop a professional portfolio that will demonstrate both creative design and technical acumen.

In a class like ‘Fashion Illustration,’ students learn basic anatomy, and the practice of illustrating silhouettes for the market’s ideal fashion and male and female figure. Students will practice technical drawing skills, as well as illustration techniques using watercolor and acrylic. In ‘Trend Forecasting’, students learn how fashion trends arise. They also examine how economic, demographic, cultural, and even political changes impact fashion trends, and they gain an understanding of how top designers tap into these trends and ultimately influence them. Other courses one might see on a fashion design certificate curriculum include ‘Basic Sewing’ and ‘Digital Tools for Fashion’.

What’s Next for Fashion Design Certificate Holders?

Designers who master digital design technologies, achieve a recognizable style, and remain abreast of design software developments may find success as entrepreneurs or professionals for design companies. Most new graduates of the fashion design certificate, however, will begin their careers with entry-level employment as assistant designers or pattern-makers, fashion illustrators, or product developers. They may also choose to augment their career with related certificates in interior design, event planning, or floral design.