Digital Photography Associate's Degree

An associate degree in digital photography teaches you the skills to work as a professional photographer within a corporation or as a freelancer. Read on to learn more about what to expect from the degree program, equipment you will need and what employment outlook is for this field. Schools offering Photography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Can I Earn an Associate's Degree in Digital Photography?

Several technical schools, community colleges and universities offer 2-year associate degree programs in photography with digital photography coursework or even specifically in digital photography. These programs may result in a terminal degree or one that you can transfer into a bachelor's degree program.

Common CoursesImaging software, portraiture, event photography, studio lighting, portfolio strategies
Online LearningCourse offerings available on-site and online
Program RequirementsDigital camera and equipment, imaging software
Job Growth (2014-2024)3% growth for all photographers; 9% growth for self-employed photographers
Median Salary (2015) $31,710 per year

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Can I Expect to Learn?

Associate degree programs in digital photography usually combine general education courses with training in art and photographic techniques. Some classes may be administered in traditional classroom settings, while others require you to work in labs, dark rooms or at various outdoor locations. Class topics you might find in the curriculum include:

  • Portrait photography
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Fashion photography
  • Wedding pictures
  • Lighting techniques
  • Sports events photography
  • Studio operations
  • Portfolio strategies

Can I Earn It Online?

Fully online associate degree programs in digital photography are relatively rare due to the fieldwork and Photoshop experience required. Some schools offer hybrid options that combine on-site and online courses. If you enroll in a hybrid or online program, you'll usually be required to submit your work over the Internet or create an online portfolio. You'll also need a variety of software and hardware programs installed on your personal computer to properly participate remotely.

What Would I Need for the Job?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most professional photographers now use digital cameras (www.bls.gov). Digital equipment allows you to transfer pictures to a computer, where they can be organized, edited and stored electronically. You might also use the Internet to submit work to employers and clients or create Web-based photography portfolios. Your equipment could include lenses, tripods, filters or lighting instruments. As a digital photographer, you could specialize in portraiture, photojournalism, commercial photography or fine arts photography.

What Is the Job Market Like?

The BLS reported the median annual salary for photographers was $31,710 as of May 2015. According to the BLS, self-employed photographers were expected to grow 9% between 2014 and 2024 due to a projected increase in demand for portrait photographers and corporations wanting to create effective advertising campaigns. Photographers in all industries were expected to see job growth of 3% during the same time period. Due to strong competition, the BLS recommended that photographers acquire additional skills related to editing pictures and capturing digital video to increase your marketability.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Southwestern College

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Chula Vista
  • Rochester Institute of Technology

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: Rochester
  • Oklahoma State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Oklahoma: Okmulgee
  • Pellissippi State Technical Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Tennessee: Knoxville
  • West Valley College

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Saratoga
  • Washtenaw Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Michigan: Ann Arbor
  • Ventura College

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Ventura
  • University of Maine at Augusta

    Campus Locations:

    • Maine: Augusta
  • Thomas Nelson Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Virginia: Hampton
  • The Art Institute of Charlotte

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Charlotte