Photography Associate's Degree

Get a program overview of an associate's degree in photography. You can take courses that will prepare you for work as a photographer in a number of different settings like commercial photography or scientific photography. See how to pick the right school for you, and find out what you'll study. Explore online learning options, too. Schools offering Photography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Do I Need an Associate's Degree in Photography to Become a Photographer?

As noted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), because the work seems glamorous or is attractive to a large number of people, you may face stiff competition when you try to get a job as a photographer ( In order to land a job as a commercial, industrial, scientific, freelance or portrait photographer, you need a certain amount of technical expertise and experience. You can gain this through on-the-job training, formal training programs at a college or trade school or a combination of both. In fact, some positions, such as those in industrial photography, scientific photography or photojournalism, might require you to hold a degree.

Career Options Commercial photographer, freelance photographer, industrial photographer, scientific photographer, portrait photographer
Finding a Program National Center for Education Statistics website
Online Availability Online programs are available, but rare
Common Courses Black and white photography, lighting, digital photography, photojournalism, history of photography

How Can I Locate a Suitable Program?

Even though a school has a visual arts or performing arts department, it doesn't necessarily mean that it offers a degree-granting program in photography. The National Center for Education Statistics features an online, searchable database for postsecondary institutions ( A search through the database yields over 150 schools nationwide that offer various associate's degree programs in photography or commercial photography.

What Are Some Online Possibilities?

Because of the necessity of considerable hands-on training, online courses or programs in photography are quite rare. You may be able to earn a degree entirely online in digital photography. However, it's more common to find hybrid photography programs. In hybrid programs, you're able to pursue general education courses online, but there are also a number of requirements, such as labs or practica, you must complete in person.

What Are Some Program Details?

A 2-year program can consist of about 60 to 69 credits and might lead to an Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Science (A.S.), Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) or, in rare cases, an Associate of Applied Business (A.A.B.). Generally speaking, you can easily transfer credits earned in an A.A. or A.S. program toward a 4-year bachelor's degree program. An A.A.S. or A.A.B. generally prepares you to join the workforce immediately at an entry-level position, perhaps as a photographer's assistant or a freelancer.

Often, schools may require you to provide some or all of the photographic equipment you use throughout a program. You may also have the opportunity to participate in an internship with a school-approved business, agency or studio. Typical courses include:

  • Black and white photography
  • Color photography
  • Landscape and fashion photography
  • Studio and location photographic techniques
  • Digital photography
  • History of photography
  • Business management
  • Lighting
  • Photojournalism

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

  • The Art Institutes

    The Art Institutes responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The Art Institutes:

    • Associate Programs

    Campus Locations:

    • Virginia: Arlington
  • 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
  • Southwestern College

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Chula Vista
  • University of Maine at Augusta

    Campus Locations:

    • Maine: Augusta