Bachelor of Visual Merchandising: Degree Overview
Bachelor's degree programs in visual merchandising are also offered as fashion merchandising majors. Graduates can find career opportunities as display designers, visual merchandisers and visual merchandise consultants.
Bachelor's Degree in Visual Merchandising
Earning a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Visual Merchandising can prepare students for careers in many industries, including restaurant and hospitality, retail and fashion. Within the program, prospective merchandisers learn to develop displays and floor plans to attract customers and increase sales. They examine fashion fundamentals, store design, visual presentation and economics. Applicants require a high school diploma or GED for admission.
Visual merchandising students learn the fundamentals of consumer trends, visual communication and design. They explore clothing construction, consumer textiles, fashion trends, retail buying and fashion history. Additionally, many programs offer opportunities for internships and other real-world experiences, such as fashion shows or visits to wholesale distribution and retail companies. Some of the courses students might take include:
- Merchandise management
- Consumer behavior
- Visual retailing
Popular Career Options
Students develop the negotiation and analytical skills to find vendors and products for low prices. Graduates can find careers in retail stores; however, merchandising skills can be applied to almost any consumer market. Available job titles may include:
- Visual merchandiser
- Merchandise planner
- Showroom manager
- Fashion merchandiser
- Product manager
According to PayScale.com, visual merchandisers earned a median wage of $31,277 per year as of December 2013. The site additionally reported that merchandise planners brought in a median yearly salary of $67,266 at that time, while the median annual wage for showroom managers was $48,751. During the same month, fashion merchandisers saw a median salary of $41,801 per year, as per PayScale.com statistics. Data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2012 indicated that during that year, product managers earned a median annual wage of $51,470.
Continuing Education Information
In a master's degree program in fashion merchandising, students can focus their studies on a particular niche within merchandising. There are opportunities to specialize in consumer behavior, textiles and design. Master's degree programs offer students thesis and non-thesis options as well as teaching assistantships for those interested in academic careers. Graduate fashion merchandising programs provide in-depth study in management and marketing theories, customer behavior and retail trends.
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