Adobe Photoshop is a graphics editing program used by professionals in the fields of graphic design, illustration, photography and photojournalism. While some training is available through Adobe certificate programs, entire degree programs covering the software don't exist. Instead, individuals who aspire to learn more about Adobe Photoshop can gain training within associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs in photography, photojournalism and graphic design, among other fields. In some cases, Adobe certification is necessary for entrance.
Students with a high school diploma or GED may apply to a 2-year associate's degree program in photography or a 4-year bachelor's program in graphic design. For the latter degree, candidates are usually encouraged to submit a portfolio demonstrating their artistic ability along with other standard application materials.
A Master of Fine Arts in Photojournalism program helps professional journalists or students to broaden their academic knowledge of the discipline or expand professional skills. These 2-year programs culminate in the student's completion of a research project or thesis. Applicants must have a bachelor's in a related field and submit a portfolio of their creative work.
Associate's Degree in Photography
Some programs prepare students for work in the art world, while others focus more on the professional aspect of commercial photography. Students learn the technical skills of taking photographs and software techniques for managing and editing photos using Adobe Photoshop. Moreover, classes include an overview of the design aspects of the field. Class topics may include:
- Commercial photography and illustration
- Layout design
- Cropping and editing
- Digital imaging post-production
- Color theory and management
Bachelor's Degree in Graphic Design
A graphic designer works with digital images in advertising, marketing, corporate branding and other industries in order to communicate a client's visual idea or aesthetic to potential consumers. Students can expect to take studio classes that emphasize building creative skills and encourage a keen understanding of visual design, as well as business strategy. Graphic design programs often include several classes that cover Adobe Photoshop. Other topics are:
- Digital photography and Photoshop
- Western art history
- Typography and font design
- Computer graphics illustration
- Marketing basics
Master of Fine Arts in Photojournalism
Students in these programs are expected to complete undergraduate coursework in photography and journalism. Most programs introduce students to industry software useful in the development of their projects, including Adobe Photoshop. These courses often include:
- Multimedia production
- Advanced editing and post-production
- History of reporting
- Photographic essay
- Advanced media law
- Journalism ethics
Popular Career Options
Associate's degree programs in photography can prepare students for a route in either fine arts - to display work in magazines, galleries and trade publications - or commercial work such as:
- Food and product photographers
- Wedding and events photographers
- Layout editor
- Touch-up artist
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of job opportunities for graphic designers is expected to increase 1% between the years 2014 and 2024. Opportunities will be greatest for candidates who can work in both digital and print media. The BLS also reported that the mean yearly salary for a graphic designer was $51,640 in May 2015.
The BLS estimated that photography jobs will grow 3% for the years 2014 through 2024. The mean annual income for photographers was $40,280 in 2015, according to the BLS.
Certificate programs in Adobe Photoshop and degree programs in relevant fields prepare students to be skilled in using the software in a number of employment positions. Graduates may be eligible to work as graphic designers and photographers, among other roles.