While fashion merchandising managers with extensive experience may earn six-figure annual incomes, most earn between $32,000 and $53,000, according to career researcher Fashion-Schools.org. This primarily includes those with five years of experience or less. Those who are just starting out in this field usually earn less than $25,000. Salaries for these professionals -- who determine how to best display clothing that appeals to target customers -- can vary considerably by region.
Starting Salary and Qualifications:
The average entry-level salary for fashion merchandising managers was $24,000 per year in 2013, according to the job site Simply Hired. The minimum educational requirement for a fashion merchandising manager is an associate degree in fashion design, fashion marketing, marketing or retail. Many employers prefer hiring applicants with bachelor's degrees, which is the minimum requirement for fashion buyers -- a level up from fashion merchandising managers. Fashion merchandising managers sometimes start their careers as retail merchandisers, unless they have two or more years of experience in their field. Other essential requirements are attention to detail, creativity, knowledge of industry trends, and planning, analytical, math, communication and computer skills.
Salary Ranges and Contributing Factors:
Fashion merchandising managers with three to five years of experience earned between $32,881 and $52,785 in 2013, according to Fashion-Schools.org. They earned average annual salaries of $43,000, according to Simply Hired. Fashion merchandising managers usually earn more with larger manufacturers or retailers, as they can better support higher salaries. Employers in states or districts with higher living costs, such as New York and Washington, D.C., pay higher salaries.
Salary by Region:
Average salaries for fashion merchandising managers varied considerably by region in 2013, according to Simply Hired, with top salaries of $68,000 in Washington, D.C., and the lowest of $34,000 in Mississippi. Those in the Midwest earned from $34,000 to $46,000 in South Dakota and Minnesota respectively. Merchandising professionals earned approximately $49,000 in California and Alaska and $35,000 in Montana, which were the highest and lowest salaries in the West. In the Northeast, fashion merchandising professionals made the most in Massachusetts and the least in Maine -- $52,000 and $39,000 per year, respectively.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not forecast job growth or decline for fashion merchandising managers. It does project an increase of 9 percent for wholesale and retail buyers, which is slower than the average growth rate of 14 percent for all jobs. Fashion merchandising managers work closely with buyers, so their number of job opportunities may be commensurate with buyers. A better indicator may be retail sales, which grew from $4.648 to $4.92 trillion between 2011 and 2012, or approximately 6 percent, according to Plunkett Research. An improving economy may increase job opportunities for fashion merchandising managers.