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How Can I Train to Use Adobe Photoshop?

Adobe Photoshop is a software program utilized to creatively manipulate and improve photos. The ability to use this kind of software is considered a valuable skill if you would like to work in creative fields such as graphic arts and publishing.

What Is Adobe Photoshop?

Adobe Photoshop is a popular image-editing program provided by Adobe, a company established in 1982 that makes software for visual arts and business applications. Adobe Photoshop allows users to create, edit or adapt images, and it's employed by professionals who prepare visual materials for online or print publication.

Adobe Photoshop allows you to retrieve picture files from your computer and then use a variety of tools to edit them. For example, you can select which area of the image you would like to change and, even if it can't be blocked out with straight lines, move that part to another area of your onscreen 'canvas'. There, you can work on areas in a specified color, reduce the boundaries of an image, design a web page with sliced sections of one photo or fix imperfections. You can also manipulate clarity through blur and sharpen tools and use 3D editing to add shadows, reflections and texture.

Important Facts About This Area of Study

Prerequisites Computer and Photoshop software for at-home self-training; high school diploma or GED for undergraduate degree or certificate programs (schools provide computer labs installed with the software)
Online Availability Fully online program options are available
Possible Careers Writer, editor, commercial and industrial photographer, portrait photographer
Continuing Education Necessary to keep up-to-date with software and new technologies
Median Salary (2018)* $42,910 (desktop publishers); $50,370 (graphic designers); $34,000 (photographers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* -14% (desktop publishers); 4% (graphic designers); -6% (photographers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How to Learn Adobe Photoshop

One way to learn the program is to simply buy the software and experiment with the features to edit your own images. However, the price and the system requirements for installing it may be a significant investment for some users. And, you may be unsure if you can learn to use it on your own.

On the other hand, completing formal training in Adobe Photoshop can help convince potential employers that you are competent in this software. Continue reading for information about educational programs that will allow you to learn and practice the software.

Education Options

Many schools offer certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree programs in graphic design, commercial art, studio art, computer graphics, media arts and related fields that include training in Adobe Photoshop. Sometimes, these programs include a course devoted entirely to the subject. Some colleges also offer courses in the topic aimed at non-art majors and adult learners who are not enrolled in a specific program, or they may have Photoshop classes for certain professionals, like digital photographers. And, schools may offer certificate programs specifically in Adobe Photoshop.

Courses may be offered at the beginner and advanced levels. Introductory course topics may include image resolution, image sizing, photo manipulation and image layering, while advanced Photoshop courses may cover textures, patterns, filters and creative design skills. Single courses may be focused on specific topics, like color correction or image resolution.

Career Information

Skills in Adobe Photoshop can be of great help if you want to work in a creative capacity in the fields of photography, graphic design, publishing, advertising and web design. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides statistics on the employment outlook and salary for common career fields.

According to the BLS, from 2016-2026, a 14% decrease in available jobs for desktop publishers is expected, though applicants with a graphic design degree may have better chances of employment. However, graphic design majors may have better luck attaining a job directly in the field. The BLS predicts employment growth of 4% in the graphic design field from 2016-2026; a 6% decline is predicted for photographers' job outlook. Potential photographers who have digital skills, like photo editing, may have an advantage in the job market, while aspiring graphic designers who have interactive media and web design skills may be preferred by employers. As of May 2018, the median annual wage of desktop publishers was $42,910, while the median for photographers was $34,000. Graphic designers earned a median of $50,370 at that same time.

Additionally, if you want to prove to employers that you're competent using this software, you can become an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop. Two levels are offered: Photoshop CC and Photoshop CS6. Adobe provides online preparation guides outlining key areas that are tested on their certification examinations.