Associate of Science (AS): Professional Photography Degree Overview

Oct 29, 2019

Although degrees aren't usually available specifically in professional photography, Associate of Science (AS) in Photography and AS in Photographic Technology degree programs are available. Learn about courses, employment information, and salary.

Essential Information

Students in 2-year photography associate degree programs gain foundational skills in photo editing, fine art aesthetics, advertising and photo technology. They study both black-and-white and color imaging, as well as the concepts of digital photography. General education coursework is taken in mathematics, psychology, sociology and oral communications to provide a well-rounded education. Applicants need a high school diploma or the equivalent.

Associate of Science Degree in Photography

Applicants to photography associate's programs need to submit official transcripts of high school and any post-secondary coursework. International students must meet additional requirements for entry, which usually includes the submission of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination scores. Students learn photography theory and industry applications. Operating and caring for all photography-related equipment is also covered. Programs may teach about computer-related programs that are used to manipulate digital and print photography. Topics include:

  • Darkroom techniques
  • Digital photography
  • Color photography
  • Studio portraiture
  • Location photography
  • Photojournalism

Popular Career Options

Although an Associate of Science degree is commonly a first step toward a bachelor's degree, graduates who wish to enter the workplace may find opportunities at the entry level. They might obtain photography positions in the fashion, advertising and travel industries. A few possible titles are:

  • Photographer's assistant
  • Digital retoucher
  • Production assistant
  • Commercial photographer
  • Scientific photographer

Employment Outlook & Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of photographers is projected to decline by 6% from 2018 to 2028. In May of 2018, the BLS reported that photographers received an average annual salary of $42,770.

Continuing Education

Graduates of an AS degree program usually go on to a bachelor's degree program to gain advanced skills and increase their career opportunities. At this level, concentrations in creative photography or biomedical photography may be available. A master's degree program further enhances skills and opens job options.

Photography students can complete an associate's degree program to learn more about photography equipment, computer applications, editing, and more. Graduates can pursue entry-level photography jobs, or they can continue on with a bachelor's or master's degree program to advance their skills.

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