Salary and Career Info for Photographic Technology Professionals

Sep 23, 2019

Photographic technology is a field of study focused on modern photographic tools and processes. Continue reading for an overview of the training, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

Photographic technology professionals include photographic process workers, digital imaging specialists, imaging operations managers and medical photographers. Photographic process workers and digital imaging specialists can learn their profession through on-the-job training. Medical photographers and imaging operations managers are typically required to have a bachelor's degree to prepare to enter their career fields.

Essential Information

Photographic technology professionals create and manipulate photographs, digital images, and graphic art. Minimum education requirements depend on the position. Some photographic technology professionals have a bachelor's degree, while others are self-taught and learn their skills on the job. Those hoping to enter this field should invest in a camera and photographic processing tools.

Career Photographic Process Worker Digital Imaging Specialist Imaging Operations Manager Medical Photographer
Education Requirements None required High school diploma Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements On-the-job training, Photoshop proficiency Experience in digital printing Experience with computer science, business, and digital imaging Experience in photography and healthcare
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* -21% for photographic process workers and processing machine operators -21% for photographic process workers and processing machine operators -21% for photographic process workers and processing machine operators 6% decline for photographers
Average Salary (2018)* $34,910 for photographic process workers and processing machine operators $34,910 for photographic process workers and processing machine operators $34,910 for photographic process workers and processing machine operators $42,770 for all photographers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary Information for Photographic Technology Professionals

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) published in May 2018 that photographic process workers and processing machine operators earned an average (mean) salary of $34,910. The industries offering the highest salaries for these workers included converted paper product manufacturing, other types of manufacturing and specialized design services.

Meanwhile, the average salary for photographers in general was $42,770 as of 2018. The top-paying industries for photographers overall were aerospace product and parts manufacturing industry and the motion picture and video industry.

Career Information for Photographic Technology Professionals

The field of photography has advanced beyond the limited scope of printed photographs into the modern age of digital technology. Due to these changes, a great number of industries now incorporate photographic technology into their daily practices. Below are a few examples of the types of photographic technology positions available.

Photographic Process Worker

Photographic processing machine operators and process workers use machines and computer programs to produce prints and edit photos. This position doesn't usually require specific education because skills are developed and learned on the job. Digital photo editors have similar duties and requirements, but they focus on correcting and changing details in digital photos. They must be comfortable with image editing computer programs such as Adobe Photoshop.

Digital Imaging Specialist

Digital imaging specialists are photographic technology professionals who are responsible for understanding the functions of imaging equipment, such as printers and computer software. They maintain and operate the equipment. They may be responsible for managing other employees. Requirements include a high school diploma and prior experience in digital printing.

Imaging Operations Manager

Imaging operations managers work in document processing companies with complex systems that organize and store data rather than simply reproducing it. These types of photographic technology professionals require a bachelor's degree and several years of experience in computer science and business. They must also be familiar with digital imaging.

Medical Photographer

Medical photographers are photographic technology professionals who specialize in documenting human anatomy and medical procedures. They must have experience with medical photographic equipment, which is specially made for capturing these types of images and transferring them to computers and machines that analyze them for diagnostic purposes. An undergraduate degree is preferred and may be required by some employers. Prior experience in photography and health care is usually required.

In summary, students interested in photographic technology might work behind the camera as photographers or in a variety of positions involving the processing of images. Job duties depend on the career path chosen, but can include: taking photographs; developing, printing, and editing photos; and caring for the equipment used to produce photographs or store photographic data. Photographers and imagining operations managers may be required to have a bachelor's degree, and imaging operations managers also need experience and training to work with computer systems. The job outlook is best for photographers, who will experience nominal growth from 2018 to 2028, while photographic process workers are expected to see jobs decline in their field during the same time period.

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