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The Most Asked Fashion Questions

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1. What are some career options/opportunities available to me after I earn the certificate? The degree?

- Design and Production
Apparel Designer or Assistant Apparel Designer; Costing Clerk; Patternmaker or Assistant Patternmaker; Piece Goods Buyer; Trainee or Assistant Piece Goods Buyer; Production Manager or Assistant Production Manager; Quality Controller, Trainee, or Assistant QC; Sketcher or Illustrator.

- Merchandising and Retailing
Apparel or Textile Showroom Sales Rep, Trainee, or Assistant Rep; Central Buyer, Trainee, or Assistant Central Buyer; Department Buyer, Trainee, or Assistant Department Buyer; Department Manager or Assistant Department Manager; Fashion Coordinator (Stylist), Trainee, or Assistant Fashion Coordinator; Fashion Director, or Assistant Fashion Director; Merchandiser or Assistant Merchandiser; Personal Shopper (Image Consultant) or Assistant Personal Shopper; Retail Sales (Associate), Trainee; Store Manager or Assistant Store Manager; Visual Display Merchandiser, Trainee, or Assistant Visual Display Merchandiser.

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2. What types of companies are currently hiring graduates?
Retail stores such as Nordstroms, Macys, Gottschalks, J.C. Penney, Express, Men's Wearhouse, and Ross Stores hire ARC graduates from the Merchandising and Retailing Program. Other smaller apparel and accessory retailers also hire graduates with degrees or certificates from ARC.

Graduates from the Design Program can be hired by production manufacturers in the area. Many graduates from the Design Program begin their own business and become self-employed.

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3. What is the typical level salary range?
Beginning patternmakers and designers will start as an assistant, making approximately $2500-$3000 per month.

Beginning merchandisers, visual displayers, and sales associates will earn approximately $1800-$2500 per month, with potential for additional earnings from commission for sales related positions.


4. What is the average cost of the certificate program? the degree program?
American River College is a public community college. Fees are $26 per unit for California residents. Out-of-state and international students will pay higher fees. The minimum number of units required for a degree is 60 units and a certificate is 18-28 units depending on the certificate. Books and materials are additional costs. Enrollment and Tuition Fees

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5. Can the courses be taken on a part-time basis?
Yes, many of our students are enrolled and attending classes on a part-time basis.


6. Can I complete the certificate/degree program in the evenings? How long will it take me to complete the evening program?
We offer many of our classes in the evenings, but at this time not everything is offered at night. If you can attend both day and evening classes you should be able to complete our degree in approximately 2-3 years, depending on how many units you take each semester.


7. What is the first step I need to take to enroll in the program?
Take the English reading/writing and mathematics assessment tests at the Assessment Center and meet with a counselor for course planning.
Assessment Center

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8. Who can give me more information?
Bonnie Spencer, Department Chair for Fashion (916) 484-8508 or e-mail at


9. What pre-requisites are needed for entering the program?
None, except a good understanding of English.


10. Are any jobs available without the associate degree?
Yes, many employers hire people with certificates. It is possible to obtain your certificate and after working for awhile, return to the ARC Fashion Careers Program to earn an AA degree and then possibly transfer credits to a university and continue on for a BA degree.

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11. Are there any internships available?
Yes, internships are available through our Work Experience Program. There are several companies in the Sacramento area that the Fashion Department works with to offer challenging and rewarding internships that can lead to possible full-time employment.


12. Do I need to know how to use a computer for the program?
No, but some knowledge is useful. We recommend taking the Computer Information 1 (Computer Familiarization) course if you are new to computers. The Fashion Illustration classes utilize software used in the industry such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Our computer pattern making class uses Gerber industry software.