Digital Photography Colleges and Schools in Long Beach, CA

There are at least 20 colleges within 50 miles of Long Beach that offer digital photography degree and certificate programs. This article looks at three schools that are no more than 30 miles from downtown Long Beach. Read an overview of three schools' programs, requirements and admission info and find out which school is the right one for you.

Long Beach, CA, Schools with Digital Photography Programs

The Long Beach area has a number of colleges with programs in the photographic arts. Most offer instruction in both digital and analog photography. The article looks at three public and private schools that are about a half-hour's drive from Long Beach. A table is included that allows for a quick comparison of various features about the schools. At the end of the article is a little information about a few other schools that offer photography courses.

  • Long Beach City College is the only school with photography programs located right in Long Beach, about 10 miles from downtown. it offers a certificate in digital arts media that contains several photography courses.
  • The Otis College of Art and Design, located in Los Angeles, about 23 miles from downtown Long Beach, features certificate and bachelor's degree programs in photography. The certificate program might be particularly appealing to someone seeking a broad array of skills in specialties such as travel and fashion photography. The bachelor's program gives students a high level of freedom with studio photography classes.
  • Fullerton College is a 2-year school located in Fullerton, approximately 26 miles from the city center of Long Beach. It offers both certificate and associate's degree programs in photography at an affordable price.

Comparison of Schools

Individuals who are considering a college for photography studies should look at many factors, including school size, tuition, graduation rate and financial aid availability. The following table makes it easy for prospective students to compare these traits at each school.

Long Beach City College Otis College of Art and Design Fullerton College
School Type 2-year; public 4-year; private, not-for-profit 2-year; public
Total Enrollment (2017) 24,658* 1,115* 24,124*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large suburb
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $1,188 (in-state tuition); $7,500 (out-of-state tuition)* $45,620* $1,138 (in-state tuition); $6,010 (out-of-state tuition) *
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 74%* 90%* 67%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) N/A - open admissions* 91%* N/A - open admissions*
Retention Rate (2016-2017) 71% (full-time students); 48% (part-time students)* 80% (full-time students)* 74% (full-time students); 57% (part-time students)*
Graduation Rate 19% (students who entered in Fall 2014) * 55% (students who entered in Fall 2011)* 29%; 13% transfer-out rate (students who entered in Fall 2014)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

Long Beach City College

Long Beach City College (LBCC) is part of the California Community Colleges System. Photography programs are offered through LBCC's Art Department, which is one of the most comprehensive art divisions in the community college system. LBCC has two campuses that teach photography: the Liberal Arts Campus and the Pacific Coast Campus. The digital photography lab is found at the Liberal Arts Campus. Faculty includes professional practicing artists, and programs involve practical training that can be applied in the job market.

Certificate of Achievement in Digital Media: Advanced Production

In this program's three required courses, students will learn about digital cinematography, Photoshop and photograph studio lighting. Courses they can choose from include portrait photography, advanced photography and photography for publication. A total of 11-12.5 of the required 22-25 credits must be taken at LBCC.

Otis College of Art and Design

The photography certificate program is offered through the school's continuing education division, and all interested students are accepted. Students can develop fine arts and commercial photography skills, and graduates might seek freelance work or regular positions with galleries, studios and other art facilities. Bachelor's degree students receive in-depth instruction from artists who present their work in exhibitions worldwide. There are over 20 professors who teach fine arts programs.

Photography Certificate Program

Otis' photography certificate program is designed to provide students with expertise in areas such as technical camera skills, lighting, printing and promotion. This program is comprised of ten courses that, in addition to digital photography and digital media lighting, also cover topics such as travel photography, fashion photography, color photography and darkroom. The bulk of skills specific to digital photography that students will learn are in the area of Photoshop. Students will rely on this program extensively for manipulating and improving their images once they're shot.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography

Students in this program complete three courses devoted to photography, plus one photography history course. Additionally, they complete four photography studio courses and choose studio electives. Other courses cover contemporary art and professionalism. Both a capstone project and a thesis are graduation requirements. Seniors can display their work in an exhibition at the school. Graduates of this program have their artwork featured in prominent museums and galleries throughout the nation.

Fullerton College

Fullerton's photography department provides certificate and associate's degree programs for both amateur and established photographers. Graduates can seek positions such as photojournalist, photo editor and commercial photographer.

Professional Photography Certificate Program

This program trains students for entry-level work in a range of professional settings, from advertising agencies to print shops to public relations companies. Even though the program covers all major aspects of photography, from analog to digital components, more emphasis is placed on digital training. In fact, students can schedule most of their courses in digital photography if they choose. In addition to conventional courses, students learn through internships and studio experience. Courses in digital photography cover topics such as digital imaging, basic camera functions and the cultural significance of digital photography.

Associate in Arts in Photography

This program requires students to complete the same number of core courses as the certificate program. The difference is that students in this program, on top of completing their photography courses, must also complete general education courses. Furthermore, they can go on to complete a photography education at the bachelor's degree level.

Other School Options

Programs are also available at El Camino College, located about six miles from downtown Long Beach, and the Art Center College of Design, which is about 24.5 miles from the downtown area.


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