Associate of Photographic Technology: Degree Overview

If you dream of becoming a photographer, you can start by earning an associate's degree in photographic technology. Find out what these programs entail and what students may do when they finish.

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Essential Information

Associate of Applied Science degree programs in photographic technology instruct students on the aspects of professional photography, including photojournalism, fine art, portrait and commercial photography. Students in these programs may choose to earn a certificate in a particular area of interest, such as a digital assistant certificate or a photographic artist certificate. Such certificates may increase employment prospects in certain areas of professional photography.

In most cases, it takes either two years or five semesters to earn an associate's degree in photographic technology. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED and submit standardized test scores. After earning an associate's degree, graduates may be prepared to enter a four-year bachelor's degree program.


Associate's Degree in Photographic Technology

Areas of focus in photographic technology programs may include advertising, fashion photography, mixed media, wedding photography and portraits. Students may also learn about photojournalism, managing a portrait studio, commercial photography and even medical photography. Possible course topics include:

  • Camera system fundamentals
  • Photographic processes
  • Lighting and design
  • Digital and photo imaging
  • Composition & literature
  • Art studies and mass media
  • Darkroom techniques and retouching photographs
  • Cinematography
  • Basic business practices

Popular Careers

After finishing an associate's degree, graduates may choose self-employment as professional photographers. They may also seek employment in sales, photographic laboratories, design and imaging technology. Possible job titles include:

  • Photojournalist or photography assistant
  • Biomedical or portrait photographer
  • Photographic equipment salesperson
  • Web designer
  • Photo lab technician

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

In May 2015, photographers in general earned a median annual salary of $31,710, with those employed in the aerospace products and parts manufacturing earning the highest wages, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment opportunities for photographers are expected to grow slower than the average, with a 3% increase from 2014-2024, according the BLS. The competition is expected to be keen, and photographers with editing and digital video skills are likely to have the best employment prospects.

Continuing Education Information

After earning an associate's degree, individuals may choose to continue on to earn their bachelor's degree in photographic technology. Such programs teach students about different types of photography, such as commercial and advertising. Coursework focuses on art comprehension, photography themes, nature photography and photojournalism.

Another relevant bachelor's degree is offered in photography or photojournalism. Photojournalism programs teach students about mass communication, photo editing, staff photojournalism and magazine design.

To summarize, associate's degree programs in photojournalism help students build the technical skills they need for entry-level photography jobs or further undergraduate studies in related areas.

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