Teaching Photography: Requirements to Be a Photography Teacher

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a photography teacher. Get a quick view of the necessary education as well as details about coursework, job duties and licensing to find out if this is the career for you.

To become a photography teacher, a 4-year degree in art education or photography is required. Additional licenses and certifications may be necessary, particularly for teaching positions in public schools.

Essential Information

Photography teachers instruct students in the mechanics and operation of digital and traditional photography, including camera controls, darkroom techniques, composition and style. Entry-level positions in schools, colleges and universities typically require the completion of a bachelor's degree program. Teachers at some levels may need licensure, depending on where they teach.

Required Education Varies according to the age group and setting in which one will teach; typically a bachelor's degree for high school teachers or a master's degree for postsecondary teachers
Licensure Teaching license sometimes required
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% for all types of high school teachers; 11% for postsecondary art, drama and music teachers
Median Annual Salary (May 2015)* $57,200 for all types of high school teachers; $65,340 for postsecondary art, drama and music teachers

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirement to be a Photography Teacher

The road to becoming a photography teacher starts with a degree from a 4-year college or university. The degree program for photography teachers varies depending on the age group they wish to teach. Aspiring secondary photography teachers typically take a bachelor's degree program in photography or art education. Photography teaching positions in postsecondary schools require a master's in photography.

Art Education Programs

A bachelor's degree in art education provides instructional training a wide range of visual arts. The curriculum covers art history, studio experiences, critique, teaching philosophies and state standards. Photography skills, such as digital and traditional camera operation and darkroom techniques, are introduced through elective photography courses. Art education programs also require students to complete a portfolio and student teaching.

Photography Programs

The bachelor's degree in photography offers a solid foundation in digital and traditional photography methods and materials, including darkroom techniques, camera equipment and composition. Art history and style development are also incorporated. Master's programs also cover photographic experimentation and research in cameras, as well as developing methods. Hands-on experience is gained through the completion of a final portfolio or a thesis.

Career Requirements

The licensing and certification requirement to become a photography teacher vary for secondary and postsecondary teachers. Teaching positions in public schools requires state certification or licensing through the State Board of Education. State licensing typically requires the completion of a bachelor's degree program, mentoring and exam. However, alternative licensing routes are available for those without teacher training.

Colleges and universities typically do not require teaching certification or licensure. However, secondary photography teachers are required to demonstrate skills through photography examples and work experience. They may also be required to provide teaching materials and student work examples.

Photography teachers educate students in the mechanics and operation of digital or traditional camera equipment, as well as composition and styling. Positions in secondary schools will require a bachelor's degree and teacher licensure, while postsecondary teaching positions may mandate a master's degree in the field of photography.

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