Is Online Fashion School Right for You?

Want a career in fashion design? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most employers prefer to hire designers who have an associate's or bachelor's degree in fashion design. But what if you can't enroll in a traditional fashion degree program? Here are four things you should know before you decide if online fashion design schools are right for you.

1. Online Fashion Schools Are a Valid Option

The good news that online education is becoming more common and more acceptable in the workplace. Many traditional schools are now offering courses and complete degree programs online, and a 2008 article in USA Today cited research that found that "83% of CEOs and small-business owners who are familiar with online education (also called 'distance learning') believe that online degrees are as credible as those earned on a college campus." While your job chances ultimately depend on your portfolio, work experience, and where you apply, know that online schools are increasingly gaining credibility.

2. Online Fashion Schools Require Initial Research

Part of the reason that credibility has been an issue is diploma mills. These fake institutions have Web sites where the gullible can offer up their money, complete little to no coursework, and receive their diploma in the mail. Of course, these schools are not accredited, so the degree means little in today's job market. Do your research before enrolling in an online fashion degree program. You can contact the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or check out the U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs to make sure you're attending an accredited online fashion school rather than a diploma mill.

3. Online Fashion Schools Require Just as much Work as Campus Programs

The rumor is that online schools are much easier than traditional schools. This is not the case; an accredited online school required just as much work as a traditional fashion program, and likely includes classes in subjects such as the following:

• Color
• Textiles
• Tailoring
• Making patterns
• History of fashion
• Computer-aided design

If you're interested in running your own fashion design business, it's useful to have fashion merchandising, marketing, or business courses and degrees.

4. Online Fashion School Requires Responsibility

One of the greatest benefits to any online degree program is the flexibility it allows; you can study wherever and whenever it's convenient for you. Of course, all this flexibility means that online fashion degree programs require a lot of responsibility. In online courses, you can often complete the work (and the class) at your own pace, which means that procrastination could easily be a temptation. If you're someone who needs the schedule and reinforcement that a traditional classroom provides, you might be better off enrolling in a traditional fashion school.

It definitely takes computer savvy, dedication, and a true interest in your subject to complete a fashion degree online, but if flexibility appeals to you, attending fashion school online can help you achieve your goal.


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