Apparel Industry Workers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Few employers of apparel workers require a high school diploma or previous experience. However, high school courses in family and consumer science, sewing, and vocational training on machinery are helpful. Since computers increasingly are being used in many types of production, knowledge of them is advantageous.

A high school diploma is required for more technical positions involving computers. Mechanical drafting, design, and mathematics are excellent training, and communications classes may help you advance into supervisory or management positions.

Postsecondary Training

If you have secondary or postsecondary vocational training or work experience in apparel production, you usually have a better chance of getting a job and advancing to a supervisory position.

There are two-year associate's degrees offered at technical colleges and community colleges. Many of these degree programs offer internships or cooperative education sessions spent working as a paid employee of an apparel company. Some students attend school under the sponsorship of a clothing company and usually go to work for their sponsor after graduation. Some are cooperative students who attend school with the understanding that they will return to their sponsor company. Some employers, however, do not place any restriction on their co-op students and allow them to seek the best job they can find.

Apparel machinery operators usually are trained on the job by experienced employees or by machinery manufacturer's representatives. As apparel machinery becomes more complex, workers increasingly will require training in computers and electronics. The modular system's trend toward cross training will increase operators' needs to learn different machines and increase their skills.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

No certification is available for apparel industry workers.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Knowledge of fabrics and their characteristics as well as good eye-hand coordination and the ability to perform repetitious tasks is necessary for apparel workers. An interest in learning a variety of skills in the apparel trade provides a worker with more job options and security. You need to be able to work well with others and accept direction. Many jobs involve on-the-job training.