Community colleges offer a variety of two-year associate's degree programs in photography that includes coursework in a wide range of topics. While taking these classes, students often have opportunities to complete hands-on studio experiences and supervised internships. Most participants are able to build a work portfolio during their studies. Applicants must have a high school diploma or the General Education Development (GED) equivalent.
Associate of Photography
Patience, artistic ability and attention to detail are helpful qualities for aspiring photographers. Photography programs cultivate these attributes to help students become highly-knowledgeable, artistic and expert photographers. They are trained to work with subjects, use software, apply lighting, meet strict deadlines and capture, adjust and process images. Coursework covers topics such as imaging, methods and practices, basic and advanced digital photography, publication, Photoshop, photojournalism and marketing. Some example course titles include:
- Basic drawing
- Nature and landscape photography
- Black and white photography
- Darkroom techniques
- Studio portraiture
Popular Career Options
Graduates of associate's degree programs are qualified for entry-level photography positions. Most choose to work as freelance photographers. Other career role options include:
- Portrait photographer
- Photo editor
- Visual artist
- Commercial and industrial photographer
- Crime photographer
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Photographers earned an annual mean salary of $40,280 as of May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment for this profession was predicted to grow at a rate of just 3% over 2014-2024. This low number is said to be the result of the declining cost of digital cameras, which has led to an increase in amateurs and hobbyists.
Continuing Education Information
Some graduates choose to join the workforce immediately, while others transfer to four-year colleges to advance their education. Bachelor's degrees in photography can lead to teaching positions at film schools, colleges or universities.
Overall, an associate's degree in photography can give you the artistic and technological skills you need to get an entry-level job or further your education in the field.