Jun 23, 2024  
2021-2022 Academic Catalog 
2021-2022 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Applied Design, Design Assistant, A.A.S.

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Rachel Beach, Applied Design Program Coordinator
(304) 367-4367

Program Purpose

The Applied Design Program has three concentrations for students to choose an area of distinctive study; Design Assistant, Fashion Merchandising, and Interior Design.  This program is one of the oldest with the institution originating in the 1990’s.

A student pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree in Applied Design must complete the requirements for the college’s general education core of 15 - 17 credit hours and the program core in the concentration selected.  The Applied Design program (APPD) provides an associate of applied science degree with an overall introduction to the applied aesthetics of visual design as found in fashion and interior design business industries.

The courses are relevant to 21st century design thinking solutions that are the foundation in successful visual design projects and build upon the fundamentals of best design practices through exploration and application of the principles, elements, and theories of design. The Applied Design A.A.S. degree provides students with the education and training needed for employment upon graduation with a practicum experience in their chosen concentration. 

As a graduate of an accredited college, the Applied Design graduate can choose a continuing education path to a baccalaureate school with transferrable courses. 

Mission Statement

Our mission is to create design thinking graduates who contribute, communicate, and design user-centered, applicable aesthetic, sustainable skills and solutions in the visual environments; retail, apparel, fashion, interior decorating & design, and independent small businesses.

Student Learning Outcomes

(Applied Design Students:  Fashion Merchandising, Interior Design and Design Assistant options)

Upon successful completion of the AAS degree, graduates will be able to do the following:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of design theory and the elements and principles of design through organizing, manipulating and solving design problems
  • Recognize the history of their field, and manipulate the materials, components, and products that are associated with that field
  • Communicate and justify, through written and oral presentation and portfolio development, the details, inspiration, problems, solutions, and the vision of their design
  • Develop and demonstrate a work ethic in their field of design through practicum experience and community service
  • Demonstrate an understanding of business practices, work ethic, professionalism, and consumer marketing principles as related to the products and services of their field

Essential Functions

The purpose of the essential functions list is to allow students considering design as an occupation to be informed of the expectations related to training and employment in Applied Design.  There are physical and non-physical expectations of designers.  The physical can be considered your environment requiring mechanical skills, visual comprehension, tactile interpretation, or ability to carry and lift; and the non-physical expectations are from the consciousness that also requires technical skills such as digital literacy, computational thinking and problem solving, as well as relational communication skills, and organization.  While there are these expectations in the working environment, the great thing about design is that you can develop your own specialty or concentration based on your abilities.

The Pierpont Applied Design Program encourages the incoming student to prepare for developing these essential functions to successfully complete the program and enter the job market. 


Demand for graduates with Applied Design degrees has traditionally come from production, sales, marketing, and management firms related to design products and studio-trained designers (fashion, interiors, etc.). More recently, there has been growing recognition that design thinking (the process of design) supports entrepreneurship and innovation in all venues. Internet searches of Business Week and/or Fast Company using the key word “design” will provide a quick overview of the rapidly expanding career potential in this field.  Design Assistants are defined as an employment path for individuals with a strong design background that can move into a variety of fields. Examples of employment in the many related fields of design include; Accessories Consultant, Construction Project Support, Design Blogger, Entrepreneur - Physical/Virtual, Fashion Buyer, Facilities Management Support, Furniture Sales, Interior Decorator, Public Relations Assistant, Residential Furnishing Sales, Retail Store Management, Space Planning Consultant, Style Consultant, Textiles Sales, Trends & Forecasting Consultant, Wedding Planner/Consultant, Wholesale Apparel Buyer, Visual Merchandiser, and Window Treatment Designer. In addition to strong job prospects, competitive salaries also await design graduates; typical entry level annual salaries in West Virginia between $27,000 - $32,000 and potential for advanced salaries based on sales commission.

Required Courses (60 Hrs)

Model Schedule (60 Hrs)

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