Fashion Advertising Degrees: Associate, Bachelor's & Online Course Info

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What will you learn in a fashion advertising degree program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of an associate's and bachelor's degree and potential careers.
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Studying Fashion Advertising: Degrees at a Glance

Fashion advertising is a subset of advertising that focuses on developing print, broadcast and digital campaigns aimed to entice consumers to purchase fashion apparel and accessories from a specific company. Fashion advertising managers need to have exceptional creative, writing and graphic design skills along with business smarts to negotiate contracts. Fashion account executives don't get involved with the creative aspects, but they do manage client accounts, look for new clients, sell ad space and prepare proposals.

While degree programs specifically in fashion advertising aren't available, you can obtain training through an advertising and marketing or general advertising program; however, a background in photography, graphic design or fashion merchandising can be helpful. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted that advertising managers typically have a bachelor's degree in a related field. The BLS projected a 14% increase in advertising management jobs from 2010-2020, which is about as fast as average for all occupations during this time period. Candidates who have computer experience and are able to work on Web-based advertising campaigns may have an advantage in the job market, according to the BLS.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals interested in obtaining an entry-level advertising position that can lead to positions with more responsibility People who'd like to secure advertising management, design or copywriting positions
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary or range) - Desktop publisher ($37,000)*
- Advertising clerk ($40,000)***
- Proofreader ($42,000)***
- Advertising and promotions manager ($88,000)*
- Advertising sales agent ($45,000)*
- Retail apparel copywriter ($33,000-$54,000)**
- Graphic designer ($44,000)*
Time to Completion Two years full-time Four years full-time
Common Graduation Requirements Internship and/or portfolio Internship and/or portfolio
Prerequisites High school diploma High school diploma or associate's degree
Online Availability Not at this time Some programs or individual courses may be available online

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures), **PayScale.com (10th to 90th percentile range; September 2012 figures), ***Salary.com (September 2012 median figures).

Associate's Degree in Advertising

An associate's degree program in advertising offers a comprehensive education in art, marketing, writing and business. You'll learn how to produce creative projects, solve problems and work within a team. These programs emphasize the use of the Internet and various design software, but having prior technical experience is usually not required. A fundamental education in color theory, illustration, image manipulation and photography contribute to your advertising knowledge. If you select an advertising and marketing degree program at an art and design school, you may be able to take a fashion course within your curriculum.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • You'll learn basic advertising concepts without spending four years in college
  • Earning an associate's degree in advertising can lead to advertising, writing and marketing career options
  • Completing an internship or portfolio can provide immediate feedback and guidance before entering the workforce

Cons

  • Most advertising management positions require a bachelor's degree
  • The field of advertising and marketing is very competitive, so your career choices may be limited with an associate's degree
  • A degree solely in advertising may not provide the training needed to enter fashion advertising

Common Courses and Requirements

Advertising students complete general education classes such as speech and English, but art history may be an option. If you choose to become an advertising and marketing major, your broader program content could address journalism, public relations and mass communication. Common classes in associate's degree in advertising programs include:

  • Copywriting
  • Layout
  • Digital design
  • Marketing fundamentals
  • Typography

In addition to the general education and core coursework, you may need to complete an internship or submit a portfolio. The internship combines classroom and practical work aimed at strengthening your networking and competitive skills. Teaching staff examine your portfolio for overall conceptualization, implementation and design.

Online Degree Options

Fully online advertising programs at the associate's degree level aren't available, but some schools may provide select courses for distance learning. These courses are usually offered as part of a degree program, but some may not grant credit. You'll access the online course through the school's education portal by using your Internet connection and a Web browser.

Stand Out with This Degree

Not only is field experience often a graduation requirement, but it can provide access to future employers, help you market yourself and allow you to apply classroom principles. Hands-on experience and a portfolio can also assist you when interviewing with employers. It's also important to develop strong writing, design and computer skills while completing your associate's degree program. Knowledge of the Associated Press Stylebook may also be useful.

Employers often look for candidates with basic word processing experience, but also familiarity with Adobe Acrobat and various photo editing and design software. Most advertising degree programs include classes covering computer graphics and peripherals such as digital scanners and storage devices. You may also want to obtain a retail sales position. Working in retail can provide you with experience in advertising or promotion, fashion merchandising, customer relations and maybe even management.

Other Degrees to Consider

You might consider numerous other associate's degree programs if you'd like to work in fashion advertising. Photography degree programs may offer an emphasis on fashion advertising or have courses in fashion photography. As a graphic design major, you'll still learn to develop design projects as you would as an advertising major, but you could also gain knowledge of more technology and get experience designing for various media. Associate's degree programs in fashion marketing are available at some schools and give you a basic fashion industry overview along with information on merchandising, marketing, textiles, color and buying. You may also want to look for schools that offer advertising degree programs with concentrations such as copywriting, account planning or art direction.

Bachelor's Degree in Advertising

The bachelor's degree program in advertising contains some of the same content as the associate's degree program, but it highlights the project management, business and creative side of advertising. You may need to take basic and advanced classes of the same topic and maintain a certain GPA for field experiences. The curriculum includes general education classes such as psychology, English and math, but you can often customize your learning through electives. These programs train you to work in art direction, account management, media sales and media buying.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • With a bachelor's degree in advertising, you can find work in places such as advertising agencies, marketing communications companies and art studios
  • Employment for advertising managers was expected to rise 14% from 2010-2020*
  • Advertising managers are needed to plan and implement digital ad campaigns

Cons

  • You may be competing for an advertising job with candidates who have an associate's degree and experience
  • Even with a bachelor's degree, employers may seek agency or fashion experience
  • New York and California are the primary employers of advertising and promotion managers, so jobs may not be plentiful nationally

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Common Courses and Requirements

As a bachelor's degree student, you'll examine consumer behaviors, learn persuasive sales techniques and understand what's involved in advertising campaigns. Most programs include several technical and core design classes dealing with electronic layout, illustration and viral advertising. The programs may also explore the role advertising has in society. Some programs incorporate integrated marketing communications content such as public relations and direct marketing. The following courses are commonly required:

  • Marketing research
  • Advertising campaigns
  • Design fundamentals
  • Business finance

To meet graduation requirements, you may need to submit portfolios of your work or complete an internship.

Online Degree Options

Online bachelor's degree programs in advertising aren't common, but some universities provide them fully online. These programs contain the same coursework as on-campus programs but with the convenience of completing them on your own schedule. Having an Internet connection is standard, but you may need to purchase certain word processing, video and audio, design and image editing software. Such software programs may include Microsoft Office, Windows Media Player, Adobe Acrobat Professional and Adobe Creative Suite.

Stand Out with This Degree

As with an associate's degree in advertising, you can remain competitive with your peers by staying current on your technical skills and knowledge of materials used in advertising. Working in fashion advertising may require you to have Web design, photo editing and HTML skills in order to develop virtual advertising campaigns. Design courses are a staple of bachelor's in advertising degree programs, so it's just a matter of applying what you've learned into a senior portfolio project or a field experience. You should also begin to build your resume with your computer skills, any outside advertising or fashion-related activities and personal skill set to show to employers.

Other Degrees to Consider

Although advertising degree programs at this level are abundant, other, more fashion-related options can prepare you for a career in fashion advertising. Some examples include fashion management, fashion communication, fashion merchandising or retail marketing. These programs combine fashion, advertising, marketing and business topics that can give you the knowledge and skills to enter fashion advertising.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Benedictine University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BAM - Marketing Concentration
      • BAOL - Marketing Concentration
      • Bachelors in Management
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Management
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Marketing
      • Business Administration, BA - Management
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Administration - Marketing
      • BS - Business Administration - Digital Marketing
      • BS - Business Administration - Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Organizational Behavior
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Business Development
      • BS - Business Administration - General
  • Online Programs Available
    5. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Operations Management
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Southern New Hampshire University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Fashion Merchandising Management
      • BS in Marketing
      • BS in Business Studies - Marketing
      • BS in Business Studies - Business Adminis
  • Campus and Online Programs
    7. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Internet Marketing - Certificate
      • B.S. - Music Business
      • B.S. - Sports Marketing and Media
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Excelsior College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Business (General Business)
      • BS in Business (Marketing)
  • Tucson, AZ

    University of Arizona

  • Washington, DC

    Howard University

Featured Schools

Benedictine University

  • BAM - Marketing Concentration
  • BAOL - Marketing Concentration
  • Bachelors in Management

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Keiser University

  • B.A. - Business Admin: Management
  • B.A. - Business Admin: Marketing
  • Business Administration, BA - Management

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Herzing University

  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration

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Colorado Technical University

  • BS - Business Administration - Marketing
  • BS - Business Administration - Digital Marketing
  • BS - Business Administration - Management

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American InterContinental University

  • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Operations Management

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Southern New Hampshire University

  • BS in Fashion Merchandising Management
  • BS in Marketing
  • BS in Business Studies - Marketing

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Full Sail University

  • BS - Internet Marketing - Certificate
  • B.S. - Music Business
  • B.S. - Sports Marketing and Media

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Excelsior College

  • BS in Business (General Business)
  • BS in Business (Marketing)

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