Students interested in photography as a profession can choose from associate's or bachelor's degrees from the fine arts and photography departments at both 2-year and 4-year colleges. An electronic media, film production or communications program is another option for students interested in camera operation; these are most commonly offered at the associate degree level through production, film or communications departments.
Schools with Camera Operation Degrees
The following list includes a number of public and private schools that offer photography or related programs.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)*|
|New York Film Academy||Burbank, CA||4-year, Private||Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's||$28,000|
|New England School of Photography||Boston, MA||2-year, Private||Certificate||$24,200|
|Villa Maria College||Buffalo, NY||4-year, Private||Associate's, Bachelor's||$20,260|
|Marlboro College||Marlboro, VT||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||$39,250|
|El Camino Community College District||Torrance, CA||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's||In-state $1,142; Out-of-state $5,678|
|Los Angeles City College||Los Angeles, CA||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's||In-state $1,220; Out-of-state $6,810|
|University of Hawaii-Leeward Community College||Pearl City, HI||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's||In-state $2,935; Out-of-state $7,927|
|Bronx Community College||Bronx, NY||2-year, Public||Associate's||In-state $5,206; Out-of-state $8,086|
*Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Photo, Film and Video Tech
- Radio and Television Broadcasting
- Recording Arts
School Selection Criteria
There are several factors that should be considered when selecting a program in camera operation.
- An Associate of Applied Science (AAS) program permits students to take more practical courses in photography and fulfill fewer liberal arts requirements than an A.A. or A.S. program; Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts programs offer more classes discussing photography's history and cultural implications.
- Students should consider photography program specializations such as architecture, landscape, or nature photography.
- Programs may offer internships, where students work for agencies or shadow employed photographers and develop a portfolio that can represent their work to a potential employer. Film students should look for programs that allow them to shoot a completed film for a final project or work on the set of a television show.
- Students have the option of earning a certificate in electronic media production, which requires fewer courses than an associate's degree and usually takes only one year.
Associate's Degree in Photography
These programs fast-track students through different aspects of photography, preparing them to build portfolios and make industry contacts. Students spend most of their time in classes directly related to taking photographs, but may also study relevant art topics.
Bachelor's Degree in Photography
In a 4-year program, students supplement interactive critique sessions and internships with classes on specific types of photography. Graduates of a bachelor's degree program often go on to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Photography.
Associate's Degree in Film Production
Students in this program learn conventions of film and theater firsthand. Often, they practice hands-on camera operation by shooting their own films or working in a movie studio during the two years of these programs.
Associate's Degree in Television Production
Students focus their camera knowledge on shooting and editing for television. Broadcast production and studio TV production are emphasized in the coursework. Students may work as interns for different TV stations in preparation for a career in TV and electronic media. In addition to training in camera operation, students learn to manipulate the film they produce through the use of effects and graphics.
Camera operation can refer to photography for still photos or video cameras for film/television production. Students should carefully consider their career goals and artistic preferences prior to enrolling in a degree program and choosing a specialization.