What You Should Know About This Degree
Armed with a degree or certificate in photography, there are many avenues of employment you can explore. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for self-employed photographers will grow in the next decade. The need for event and portrait photographers remains steady.
Although the field of photojournalism has taken a hit as amateur photographers play a greater role, there are still many jobs in the media world for those who wish to work for journals, newspapers, magazines, and more. Drone photography has increasing applications for agriculture, real estate, and government use.
A photography diploma may also open the door to work as an art director, marketing specialist, or graphic designer. The creative skills learned in a photography program can translate to other arts-based occupations, from architect to fashion designer.
Photographic certifications are available from professional organizations. The non-profit Professional Photographers of America, for example, offers Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) and Certified Drone Photographer designations for interested professionals.
Here are some questions to ask when researching photography programs:
- Am I eligible for this program? Eligibility requirements vary from program to program, and depend on the level of education — associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree. In addition to filling out an application, most programs will require a portfolio of work. Some of the advanced programs may be geared toward professionals already working in the field, but even at the most basic level, admissions personnel will want to see what a student is capable of before offering a place in the incoming class.
- How long does it take to complete this online degree? This, too, varies from program to program. If you are attending full time, an associate’s program will take approximately two years, while a bachelor’s degree may take up to four years. Master’s level programs range from one to two years for full-time study. If you take classes part time, of course, it will take longer.
When you are researching programs, note the focus of the material covered. If you are interested in photojournalism, for example, you may want a different mix of classes than someone who wishes to become an art photographer. An admissions counselor can help you determine if a program is a good fit for you.
A counselor can also help you home in on potential financial aid offered by an institution. You may also be eligible for scholarships, grants, or loans from your employer or professional organizations to which you belong.