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Digital Photography Career Training in Ohio with School Info

More than 25 public and private not-for-profit schools in Ohio have digital photography career training programs. Read an overview of ten of the largest schools' programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which school is the right one for you.

Essential Information

Photographers don't necessarily need formal training but can complete certificate and degree programs in photography. Several Ohio schools offer certificate, associate's, and bachelor's degree programs in graphic imaging, commercial and digital photography, visual communication, and photo illustration as well as individual photography classes. Most programs encourage and facilitate the development of a photography portfolio during students' years of study.

Read on for more information about the Ohio schools that offer certificate and degree programs related to digital photography, as well as a comparative table that includes schools' settings and tuition costs.


Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

Located in Cincinnati, this public school has a graphic imaging technology program that teaches students to create graphic images from beginning through final production stages. A digital photography and imaging course teaches the basics of digital photography, including exposure, lighting, retouching and reproducing images. Students also take business and marketing courses and gain hands-on training with printing presses. This six-semester program provides students with two cooperative-education opportunities.

Clark State Community College

The photography certificate program at Clark State Community College in Springfield is aimed at students interested in finding entry-level work in photography or photographers who want to expand their knowledge of photography. A camera skills course introduces students to the various functions of digital cameras as well as how to use 35 mm and medium format film cameras. Other course topics include lighting techniques, basic editing, electronic imagery and photography fundamentals. The program includes two full semesters plus a summer semester. During the summer semester, students complete an internship at a photographic business and put together a photography portfolio.

Columbus State Community College

The digital photography programs at Columbus State Community College (CSCC) in Columbus prepare students for careers in digital photography and imaging. The digital photography associate degree program covers various aspects of digital photography, including black and white photography, beginning and advanced digital photography, Photoshop, website design and portrait lighting. The curriculum focuses on digital capture and digital image management. Some of the courses may be offered through distance learning. General education courses are also part of the degree program.

CSCC also offers certificate programs that allow students to focus on specific areas of photography. Certificates are offered for basic digital photography, advanced digital photography, black and white film, Photoshop for photographers and the business of photography. Students are required to have program-specific equipment (camera and accessories) and photography software programs used in the courses.

Cuyahoga Community College District

Cleveland-based Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) offers several options for students interested in photography, whether as beginners or professional photographers. The associate degree program in visual communication and design with a concentration in photography prepares students for careers in various areas, such as wedding and portrait photography, advertising and digital imaging. Course topics include digital video, Web design, digital imaging, traditional black and white photography, studio lighting and interactive media. Students obtain hands-on experience through internships, workshops and possible cooperative-education opportunities.

Tri-C also offers individual non-credit photography classes. The classes, based around digital single lens reflex (DSLR) cameras, focus on topics such as camera functions, imaging, lenses and exposure. These classes are offered through Tri-C's Community and Continuing Education division and have separate fees.

Edison State Community College

Edison State Community College, located in Piqua, offers a fast-track certificate program in photography. The two-semester program prepares students for entry-level jobs in the photography field or may lead to career advancement. Consisting of classroom and lab studies, this program introduces students to the Mac computer and its many functions. Other courses include digital photography, computer graphics and lighting principles. Students learn about lighting, focusing, framing and using digital-editing software.

Kent State University at Kent

Kent State University at Kent offers a bachelor's-level program focused on commercial photography. The Bachelor of Science in Photo Illustration, offered through the School of Visual Communication Design, teaches students the basics of studio and illustrative commercial photography. Individuals enrolled in the program are expected to own and work with digital cameras.

Some required courses in the program include introductory visual communications, photography, illustration techniques, photo technology, advanced photography, color photography and graphic design. The degree program provides students with the training and digital photography skills necessary to enter careers as professional studio, commercial and fashion photographers. Students may also have study-abroad opportunities.

Owens Community College

Located in Perrysburg, Owens Community College offers a commercial photography program. The associate degree in commercial photography, offered at the Toledo campus, is a four-semester program that offers a wide array of photography courses that include lecture and lab studies. A course introducing students to various photography career options helps prepare students for what a job in the photography industry entails. By the end of the program, the student will develop a career/business strategy related to his or her area of interest. Additionally, the student will build a portfolio displaying his or her photography work. This degree requires completing general education courses and electives to meet the degree requirements.

Sinclair Community College

The photographic technology certificate program at Sinclair Community College in Dayton is aimed at the student interested in starting a career in photography or the beginning photographer interested in advancing his or her skills. The program covers all areas, from composing and taking the picture to developing and printing the finished product. This 29-credit certificate program focuses on both color and black and white photography.

Students are required to supply class-specific cameras (e.g., 35 mm film camera, DSLR). Course topics include computer photography, color photography, black and white darkroom photography and studio photography. During the final term, the student will, with instructor assistance, create a portfolio of his or her work.

Stark State College

Stark State College in North Canton has a digital photography associate degree program that can help prepare students for careers in commercial photography. Students learn not only how to take photographs with the latest digital cameras but also how to use correct lighting, lenses and photo editing software. Additionally, the student will take business and management courses useful in the photography industry.

To earn this degree, students take general education courses as well as the photography courses. Major-related courses include digital imaging, graphic art design, photographic lighting and digital photography. Upon completion of this program, the student earns an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Graphic Arts with a concentration in digital photography.

University of Akron

The University of Akron in Akron offers a credit-bearing academic program in digital photography that leads to a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography. Offered through the Myers School of Art, the BFA program offers courses in professional photography, composition, art history and portfolio production. Students enrolled in the arts programs at the University of Akron in Ohio have access to 40 studio labs, where they can gain first-hand experience in photography and other arts.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Digital Photography Training Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Two-year, public; large city Associate's Degree in Graphic Imaging Technology $3,825 in-state; $7,393 out-of-state*
Clark State Community College Two-year, public; small city Photography Certificate $3,359 in-state; $6,271 out-of-state*
Columbus State Community College Two-year, public; large city Photography certificates in multiple areas of study,
Associate of Applied Science in Digital Photography
$3,808 in-state; $8,430 out-of-state*
Cuyahoga Community College District Two-year, public; large city Associate of Applied Business in Visual Communication and Design with a concentration in photography $3,136 in-district; $3,953 in-state; $7,648 out-of-state*
Edison State Community College Two-year, public; rural fringe Photography - Fast Track Certificate $4,219 in-state; $7,828 out-of-state*
Kent State University at Kent Four-year, public; large suburb Bachelor of Science in Photo Illustration $10,012 in-state; $18,212 out-of-state*
Owens Community College Two-year, public; large suburb Associate of Applied Science in Commercial Photography Technology $4,233 in-state; $8,236 out-of-state*
Sinclair Community College Two-year, public; midsize city Photographic Technology Certificate $2,476 in-district; $3,604 in-state; $6,868 out-of-state*
Stark State College Two-year, public; large suburb Associate of Applied Science in Computer Graphic Arts with a concentration in digital photography $3,686 in-state; $6,794 out-of-state*
University of Akron - Main Campus Four-year, public; midsize city Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography $10,509 in-state; $19,040 out-of-state*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

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