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Earn an Associate’s Degree in Digital Photography

Majors Overview April 8, 2014

The artistic and technical skills required to take quality photos can be obtained with an associate’s degree program in Photography. With an Associate of Science (A.S.) program in Photography or Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) program in Digital Photography, students may continue education onto the bachelor’s degree level or beyond, or find entry-level work in the industry.

Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Programs in Digital Photography

Students enrolled in an associate degree program in Photography can become equipped with the artistic and technical skills necessary for taking quality photos. After they complete a 2-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in Digital Photography, students gain a strong foundation in the artistic and technical skills needed for digital photography. These programs provide an overview of digital cameras, how they operate and how they can be maintained; additionally, students are also introduced to concepts of resolution, color balance, image manipulation, exposure and lighting. Digital photography software is used to provide hands-on training. Specialized types of digital photography may also be explored by students – these could include commercial or portrait photography. Programs also typically cover business aspects of the field. Most schools expect students to provide their own digital camera.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria in many associate degree programs require that applicants hold a GED certificate or high school diploma though neither may be insisted on in some schools. Applicants without prior exposure to college-level math or English coursework or a standardized college entrance exam, such as the SAT, may need to attend academic assessment testing.


Apart from general education classes like science, math and English, coursework includes some electives, as well as a series of prerequisite courses in Digital Photography. Coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Color photography
•Portrait photography
•Portfolio development
•Computer graphic art
•Commercial photography
•Digital photography
•Computer photographic imaging
•2-dimensional computer design
•Branding and marketing in photography

Job and Wage Outlook

A job growth rate of 12% has been projected for photographers in the decade from 2008 to 2018 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). Many of these professionals are freelance photographers or self-employed (BLS). In 2012, there were 136,300 photographers employed in the United States; they took home an average annual wage of $28,490.

Continuing Education Choices

Students may pursue continued education to boost their artistic and technical skills in digital photography by enrolling in a bachelor’s or master’s program in Photography, which may sometimes be offered in an online format. Schools may offer bachelor’s degrees as a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Visual Communications or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Photography. Beyond a bachelor’s degree, students may seek to earn a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Photography or Digital Photography.

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