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Portland Fashion Institute is a nationally accredited private nonprofit career institute of higher learning and Portland’s only accredited fashion design college.

PFI will be closed over the Independence Day weekend July 4-7

What is an Associate of Applied Science Degree? What is its value?

An associate of applied science degree, or AAS, is a two-year associate-level college degree with a focus on a particular applied science or technical skill. Students spend the majority of their coursework in technical courses directly related to their chosen area of study,e.g., apparel. It can be one of the quickest paths to a stable, well-paying career and, for that reason, is considered a “terminal” degree, equivalent to a bachelors degree.
Having a degree allows you to more easily matriculate to other colleges.
Oregon’s Office of Degree Authorization approved this for PFI on January 2, 2024, per Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 583-030-0035

How much does it cost?

— Apparel Designer: 100 credit hours.  $20,724
— Apparel Technical Developer: 100 credit hours.  $20,724
— Apparel Entrepreneur:103 credit hours.  $21,346

What about books and other materials?

PFI doesn’t like textbooks.  They are expensive and typically useless after you take a class.  Since our teachers work in the industry, they have knowledge and handouts current to industry information.  For the two or three classes where we require textbooks, such as patternmaking, they are either included in your class fee or available from the library or Amazon.  These texts you will use as reference books for the rest of your fashion career.

If the syllabus calls for a computer program, know that this program is critical to the apparel industry.

Can I get financial aid?  Do you accept college savings plan (529) funds?

PFI is applying for Title IV financing. Meanwhile, PFI:
— Is on the Workforce training provider list with the state of Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Council.  Look to them to provide you with training funds.
— Is approved by Oregon College Savings Plan (OCSP) to accept 529 funds.  Click here for details.
Bottom line:  We keep our class fees affordable.  We believe in #schoolwithoutdebt. We have other granting and funding sources.

Are all the classes held at PFI?

Yes.  We also teach some lecture classes through interactive distance learning. To see if you are ready for online classes, click here.

What if I’ve already taken some of these classes?

You can transfer credits from classes already taken.  Talk to the registrar about “testing out” procedures.  Only an official transcript may be used to apply transfer credit to the student’s record at Portland Fashion Institute.
· Transfer evaluations are based on the current transfer policies during the student’s date of admission and will be binding for the student’s entire matriculation at Portland Fashion Institute. Subsequent evaluations are not permitted unless the student changes their degree program (i.e. from an Apparel Designer degree to a Technical Developer degree).
— Coursework from accredited post-secondary institutions will be considered for transfer if it carries the equivalent credit, prerequisites, content and level of instruction. Remedial or pre-college courses are not eligible for transfer except as stated in certain articulation agreements.
— Coursework presented for transfer must be successfully completed with a letter grade of “C” or above or a grade of “pass” in a pass/
fail course.
— PFI will accept a maximum of 14 credit hours.
— Students should within five business days after acceptance to PFI make an appointment with a PFI subject matter expert and supply transcripts, grades and final projects from prior coursework. The subject matter expert will review projects and give the student a qualifications test. With a score of 95 percent or more, a student can “test out’ of the given course. Each qualifications test costs $45 per exam.
— Units completed at another institution after the student has started a degree program at Portland Fashion Institute will not be considered for transfer.

How many general education classes must I take?
There are six classes for a total of 24 credit hours. Twelve credit hours must be in English Composition. Refer to the program guides for the name and course number for each.
What if I’ve already taken these classes? How do I prove I have taken the required general education classes prior to coming to PFI?
Submit an official transcript at the same time that you apply to PFI.
Where can I take the general education courses if I don’t have them already?
In the greater Portland area, you will find them at Chemeketa Community College, Clark College, Mount Hood Community College, Portland Community College, and Pacific Northwest College of Art/Willamette University. PFI Admissions keeps a list of contacts at each of these colleges.
When do I submit proof that I have taken these courses?
Submit an official transcript at the end of the term, at the same time as you will be getting grades on your PFI classes.

Can I start one degree and then change to another if I change my mind?

Yes.  Our registrar will walk you through the options.

Do you help us get jobs after schooling?

We offer career services for those in our degree programs.  By accreditation rules we can’t guarantee you employment but we work hard to match your skills  to a job and place you.  To day, more than 80 percent have gone into internships and jobs in the apparel industry and are working for companies from independent designers to major corporations.  Of the remainder, some have started their own retail stores.  Others have started their own clothing lines.

I’m not sure which degree is right for me, how do I choose?

Apparel Designer is for visionaries who have a constant flow of ideas they keep in a sketchbook and know they can sell.  Technical Developer is computer-focused and the most likely to win a job in the apparel industry.  Apparel Entrepreneur is for those who want to start their own business and is sometimes called Fashion Marketing and Merchandising.  Talk to admissions for more details.

Can I start at any time, or do I have to begin in the Fall?

You can start any term.  PFI is on quarters.  Each term lasts twelve weeks except Summer term.  It is a six-week intensive that takes place in July and August.

Are these pass/no pass classes or do I get grades?

All class projects are evaluated for grade.

Are studio memberships included in enrollment fees?

No.  Enrollees sign up for memberships when they need to use the space.  Plus memberships have prerequisites; you need to know how to use the equipment before you can get a membership.  Having membership only access to non-class hours in the space helps keep the school secure.

Have other questions?  Contact us at


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