Costume Design Degrees

Advantages To Earning A Costume Design Degree

A costume design degree provides creative individuals with the unique opportunity to work within the exciting entertainment industry. Students within a costume design program gain skills necessary for careers within theater and film based upon costume technology, fashion history, clothing construction, theater design, and textiles. Costume design degree programs offer students knowledge regarding designing and creating distinct garments while working with a variety of fabrics. Additionally, students learn how to tailor, prepare, and present costumes while using a variety of tools and electronics within costume design degree programs. Costume design degrees provide students with a broad understanding of the dynamic field of design while advancing personal, education, and professional goals.

Many colleges and universities have developed innovative online costume design degree programs in response to an increasing demand from students maintaining work or family responsibilities while pursuing a degree. Students enrolled within an online degree program experience virtually the same educational opportunities as their traditional, on campus equivalents. Most online programs offer students an affordable and quality education with added benefits of increased flexibility of course scheduling and 24 hour access to course materials. Online courses also provide students with more personalized instruction and one on one interactions with professors, instructors, and other students. Students with an interest in obtaining a degree in costume design often find online degree programs one of the most convenient means of expanding their education and propelling their goals.

What Students Learn Within A Costume Design Degree Program

Students enrolled within a costume design program gain a broad understanding of the history of fashion and the training necessary to create, tailor, and customize a wide range of garments. Costume design degree programs also prepare students with additional training in clothing construction, stage make up, costume technology, theater design, and textiles to ensure a solid educational basis for future careers within community or university theaters, Hollywood films, and other exciting industries. Students interested in entry level employment as costume design assistants may pursue an associate’s degree.

Courses at the associate level include: principles of design, techniques of fit, textiles, intermediate clothing construction, tailoring, flat pattern, introduction to the fashion industry, advanced flat pattern, fashion draping, fashion entrepreneurship, computer applications, cooperative education: fashion internship; advanced tailoring, trouser construction, copying ready to wear, basic serging, designer techniques, history of fashion, the custom dress form, french pattern drafting, pants drafting, bustier, and use of master pattern. Graduates who complete an associate’s degree may advance to employment or higher degree programs.

Bachelor level classes include: principles of design; drawing; costume technology; make up; history of dramatic literature; theater crew; English composition; rhetoric; quantitative reasoning; costume design; rendering; art, architecture, fashion, and furniture; design production practice; history of multiculturalism; philosophical inquiry; religious dimensions; self society and the modern world; theatrical collaboration; scientific inquiry; lighting design; and set design. Graduates who complete a bachelor degree may advance to employment or master’s degree programs.

Courses at a master’s level include classes such as: literature and methodology of costume studies; costume history: 1500-1804; costume history: the 19th century; costume history: the 20th century; costume history: contemporary dress; textile history: ancient world through 1700; textile history: the modern era; exhibition design; history of taste: 1850-present; appraisal and valuation of art; costume conservation and display; design and culture: the 20th century; contemporary design culture; history of fashion photography; dress in world culture; and graduate projects in costume studies. Graduates who complete a master’s degree program often qualify for employment as costume designers for community, university, or Hollywood productions. Some graduates who complete master’s degree programs choose to advance to doctoral degree programs. As doctoral degree programs in costume design do not exist, students interested in a doctoral degree often choose the related field of theater design and technology.

Doctoral level courses include: architecture; costume, production, and management; directing; drafting; drawing; elements of production; engineering principles; fundamentals of design; graphic design; history of theater; lighting design; lighting production; painting; production planning; rendering and model building; scene design; sound design; special effects; and stagecraft. Graduates from a doctoral degree program are qualified as experts within the field and generally work as instructors within colleges and universities.

Prospective Jobs For Graduates With Costume Design Degrees

Students who complete costume design degrees have many career options upon graduating. Many graduates gain employment within the performing arts, film, entertainment, or fashion industries. Costume design degree graduates often work on television and movie sets, theater productions, operas, and musicals. Often graduates specialize training by working within fields like: research, design, sewing, drafting, or makeup to increase skills necessary for career success. As with most occupations, potential employment is based upon level of education, organization of employment, area of specialty, geographic location, and related work experience.

Graduates who complete an associate’s degree program often work as design assistants or assistants to more experienced costume designers. Graduates with bachelor degrees often gain employment as costume designers within community, regional, university, Broadway, or Off Broadway productions. Graduates with master’s degrees often work as costume designers or wardrobe supervisors for film and television productions. Graduates with doctoral degrees often work as lead costume designers for large productions or independently as consultants, researchers within facilities, or instructors within colleges and universities. Many graduates work within a related field upon gaining related training as interior designers, graphic designers, or floral designers due to job availability.

Salary Range For Costume Design Degree Graduates

Graduates with costume design degrees generally have salaries based upon the level of education, skill level, and related work experience. As with most occupations, graduates who complete internship and gain hands on experience in addition to formal degree programs have higher earnings than graduates who do not. Earnings for entry level costume designers are often quite low until they establish their skills, style, and ability within the field. The U.S.Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports earnings for costume designers generally range from $42,150 to $87,120 annually. Graduates who specialize their designs generally earn $59,560 annually.

Graduates with advanced degrees often have earnings beginning at $124,780 annually. Many graduates work as freelance designers within self operated companies upon earning adequate experience and funding. Salaried costume designers generally have higher earnings than those who work independently within their own businesses. As with most design occupations, graduates who begin entry level jobs, gain work experience, display creativity and style, and continue education establish their reputation and generally advance to jobs with higher salaries.

Career Outlook and Advancement Opportunities For Graduates With Costume Design Degrees

Graduates who complete a degree in costume design receive a solid educational background necessary for career success within a variety of occupations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reports employment growth in costume design to increase slightly in comparison to other occupations through the year 2018. The BLS also reports costume design graduates are expected encounter significant competition for jobs due to the number of candidates within the field. Graduates who live in larger cities, particularly within New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago may find the best job prospects.

Many graduates begin their careers as assistants at regional or local theaters to gain skills and experience necessary to advance to film and television productions. Graduates who complete master’s degree programs receive educational instruction and hands on experiences through internships to find increased employability. Some graduates may advance to alternative fields and continuing education programs to specialize their degrees in business, marketing, fashion merchandising, or other related degrees to gain the skills necessary for higher paying jobs within the entertainment industry. The career outlook for graduates with costume design degrees is expected to increase steadily in relation to growth in various stage, theater, television, and movie productions.

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