Online Colleges for Photography

COLLEGE FINDER

Article Sources

Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we generated a list of colleges and universities that met the following four criteria for the specific subject being ranked:

  • Offer a degree or certificate program in that subject, either in an online or hybrid format
  • Have at least 1% of students attending some form of distance education
  • Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2016-17
  • Have reported data for all 11 ranking variables listed below

We ranked 1,813 colleges and universities in the United States on 11 criteria, using 2016-17 data from IPEDS:

  1. Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded via distance education in 2016-2017 were in this particular subject
  2. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered via distance education at any level
  3. Ratio of students participating fully or partially in DE to Total Enrollment
  4. Average in-state tuition for undergraduates
  5. Graduation rate
  6. Retention rate
  7. The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Prepaid, Guaranteed, Other)
  8. Services (Academic/Career, Placement for Completers)
  9. Credit offerings (Dual, Life, AP, Military)
  10. Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid
  11. Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools' tuition amounts are based on 2016-17 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

Methodology Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Sources :

  1. Bachelor of Fine Arts in Commercial Photography Online, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, http://www.rmcad.edu/academics/commercial-photography-online
  2. Digital Photography - Plan of Study of Associate of Applied Science, Columbus State Community College, http://global.cscc.edu/degrees/degree.asp?D=DIGTLPHOTO.AAS&I=P
  3. Semester-based Online Learning Certificate programs offered at Columbus State, Columbus State Community College, http://global.cscc.edu/degrees/online.asp?T=C
  4. Oklahoma School of Photography, http://www.schoolofphotography.edu/SiteAssets/2016%202017%20Catalog.pdf
  5. Online Digital Photography Degree Programs, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, https://www.artinstitutes.edu/online/academics/photography/digital-photography-degree-programs
  6. Online Photography Degree Programs, Academy of Art University, https://www.academyart.edu/academics/photography/online
  7. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/photographers.htm
  8. https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/27-4021.00
  9. https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/photographer
  10. https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/49-9061.00
  11. http://study.com/articles/Camera_Repair_Technician_Employment_Information_and_Requirements_for_Starting_a_Career_in_Camera_Repair.html
  12. https://www.livecareer.com/occupation-overview/installation-maintenance/camera-photographic-equipment-repairs
  13. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/film-and-video-editors-and-camera-operators.htm
  14. https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/27-4031.00
  15. https://targetjobs.co.uk/careers-advice/job-descriptions/278291-camera-operator-job-description
  16. https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/27-1027.00
  17. https://www.cacareerzone.org/profile/27-1027.00
  18. http://careers.stateuniversity.com/pages/136/Set-Exhibit-Designer.html
  19. Online/Distance Learning, Columbus State Community College, Accessed June 2018, http://global.cscc.edu/
  20. Photography Online, Dakota College at Bottineau, Accessed June 2018, http://www.dakotacollege.edu/online/online-programs-classes/photography/
  21. The Art of Photography, Savannah College of Art and Design, Accessed June 2018, https://www.scad.edu/academics/programs/photography
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Digital cameras and photo-editing software programs have transformed both the world of photography and the way professors at teach photography to their students. As the tried and true methods of traditional photography blend with the many advances of modern digital photography, you could almost consider photography a new field again in many ways. With so much to learn about this vibrant field, graduates of photography degree programs could stand out for their knowledge of the latest photography technologies and techniques.

Featured Online Colleges for Photography in 2018-19

Students interested in the practical and professional aspects of photography can learn new skills and increase their job prospects by pursuing a degree in this field. And since an array of online colleges for photography offer degree programs that are both exciting and flexible, pursuing this educational option may be easier than you think. By enrolling in an online degree program for photography, you can study the art without the need to commute to a brick-or-mortar school.

To help students find the best program for their goals, we researched data on various colleges that offer online photography programs. If you're considering this degree program and career, one of these featured schools might be just what you're looking for.

1

Academy of Art University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$21,252
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
58%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
81
School Type
4-year

A family-owned for-profit university founded in San Francisco in 1929, the Academy of Art University caters to artists and designers of many specialties, among them photography. The Academy offers several online degree programs in photography: an Associate of Arts (AA), a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), a Master of Arts (MA) and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA). These programs touch on several different kinds of photography:

  • Commercial photography
  • Documentary
  • Fashion photography
  • Fine art photography
  • Still life photography
  • Photo illustration

Accreditation:

  • National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)

Location:

79 New Montgomery
San Francisco, California, 94105
2

Columbus State Community College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,808
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
36%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
34
School Type
2-year

Columbus State Community College, located in central Ohio, has numerous online programs available for students seeking distance learning options. In photography, this includes online certificate programs in digital photography and an online Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in digital photography degree program. Most of the photography certificate programs at this two-year school require just two to four courses and can be taken as a supplemental 'minor' to any chosen major degree program.

3

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$17,170
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
100%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
17
School Type
4-year

The Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design is a for-profit art and design school that was founded in 1963. Its founder, Philip J. Steele, was an artist and a teacher himself, and his vision was "to develop an art training program based on the traditional, academic method of drawing and painting that dates back to the Renaissance." While Rocky Mountain's origin is based in times long since past, its teaching methods are not, and the college offers several degree programs online, including an online Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography.

This program focuses on several parts of the art of photography, such as photojournalism, cinematography, lighting and commercial photography. Students can learn how to create photographs for use in commercial photography, in documentaries or for business purposes.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Location:

1600 Pierce St
Lakewood, Colorado 80214
4

Savannah College of Art and Design

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$35,690
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
19%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
18
School Type
4-year

The Savannah College of Art and Design was created in 1978 to serve as a professional arts college to students in the Savannah, Georgia area. However, through online education, this private, nonprofit college has come to offer its art-based academic programs to students all across the United States.

Online photography students at SCAD have several options for degree programs: undergraduates can select an online B.A. or B.F.A. in photography, while graduates have the option between an online M.A. or M.F.A. in the same field. Additionally, in the B.F.A. program, students can specialize in one of three areas of concentration: commercial photography, documentary photography or fine art photography. Courses are 10 weeks in length and coincide with the school's regular academic calendar.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
 
5

Dakota College at Bottineau

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$4,281
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
72%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
23
School Type
2-year

While this school opened in 1906 as the Dakota School of Forestry, it has expanded its scope of its programs over the years. Well over a century later, the Dakota College at Bottineau has come to offer online and on-campus programs in subjects such as advertising, medical assisting… and photography.

The online certificate program in photography at Bottineau comprises 10 courses, including commercial photography, portraiture and outdoor photography. In the online associate degree program, students take the same 10 courses, but also complete general education classes. The school's certificate program can be finished in a year, but the associate degree in photography take two years to complete.

Degree Overview: Photography

Photography is a career that relies on certain natural talents, and academic education may not be required in order to work in this field. However, a professional photographer must distinguish him- or herself from the crowd of amateur photographers with smartphones and tablets in order to gain employment. That's where online education for photography provides an edge. This section describes the coursework typically offered at online colleges for photography and the skills that coursework can build.

Online Photography Courses

Online photography degree programs are usually designed with students' uniqueness in mind. Generally speaking, the intent of these programs is to help students develop their own styles, while also exposing them to a wide range of styles and techniques. Coursework focuses not only on techniques, materials, processes and equipment, but also on principles of photography and how to achieve a client's vision through this medium.

Usually, online colleges for photography offer degrees at the associate or bachelor's degree level. Associate degree programs help photographers to become technically and aesthetically proficient via the foundations of photographic design, composition, lighting and camera operation.

Online bachelor's degree programs in photography may extend that training to include more specific courses, such as:

  • History of photography
  • Photojournalism
  • Two-dimensional design
  • Commercial photography
  • Visual storytelling

Additionally, bachelor's degree programs often lead students toward photography specialties, such as portraiture, fine art or photojournalism, and they may provide such workplace training as marketing or client needs assessment.

Career-Related Skills to Develop

Of course, students may expect to hone their skills in operating photographic equipment and materials during a photography program, including digital or 35-millimeter cameras and photo-editing software. However, students should find themselves developing other useful skills as they progress through their programs, such as:

  • Business savvy: At the end of the day, being a professional photographer means meeting deadlines, interacting with clients, managing time effectively, marketing one's work and even managing projects. Handling the deadlines for school-assigned projects can help to develop these skills.
  • Interpersonal skills: Interacting with clients and making photo subjects comfortable are essential talents for selling photography. Photographers should be good at dealing with people: making them feel at ease, establishing clear expectations and satisfying customers. On a related note, having the ability to handle animals with resolve and gentleness can be an equally valuable tool when interacting with clients who want to be photographed with their favorite pet.
  • Technical abilities: Expertise in a broad range of technology and equipment is important for a photographer's success. This means not only camera equipment but also lights, editing equipment and file-storage solutions.
  • Artistic sense: There's no underestimating the importance of having a good eye and knowing how to compose photographs. It's not uncommon for would-be artists to give up early, thinking that they don't have the talent to make it in a creative career, but online programs for photography can teach students a lot about aesthetics, graphic design and established artistic convention, helping students to try new things and expand their artistic sensibilities.

Photography Career Outlook

Whether someone has an eye for a beautiful shot or the technical know-how to keep equipment working properly, there is a place for them in the photography field. This page provides information on some of the careers available in this field, including an overview of daily duties and the skills needed to execute them.

Photographers
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$41,940
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
9,700
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
-8.4
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
High school diploma or equivalent
Whether they're capturing the "I do"s of a wedding ceremony or adventuring across Africa to snap shots of exotic animals, photography careers are a delicate balance of technical skills and artistic ability, so people who want to enter this field should nurture both. On the technical side, photographers must be able to use lighting equipment, adjust shutter speeds and camera focus, set up photographic equipment, prepare proofs for review and use photo enhancing computer programs. Artistically, photographers should use their skills to enhance the appearance of photographs, choose and leverage backgrounds that are appropriate for a photo shoot and direct models to present them in the most attractive way. Photographers can work for news organizations, museums, commercial studios, wedding planners or even themselves — many photographers are self-employed.
Camera Repairers
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$42,510
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
400
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
3.3
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Associate's degree
Without the work of camera repairers, shutterbugs would need to replace their expensive equipment every time a problem occurred. In order to provide assistance with digital and conventional cameras, camera repairers have duties such as taking apart photographic equipment to determine what's wrong with it; cleaning, polishing, and lubricating cameras; adjusting tools such as light meters, shutters, and view finders; and ordering parts and materials to fix equipment. In order to be successful in camera repairer careers, workers should have strong troubleshooting, critical thinking, equipment maintenance, time management and quality control analysis skills. In addition, camera repairers require communication and customer service skills to understand what their clients need and do what it takes to meet those needs.
Camera Operators
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$61,530
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
2,600
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
6.4
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Bachelor's degree
Camera operators are responsible for filming images used in television programs, movies and advertising campaigns. These professionals use technical tricks of the photographic trade to frame and capture the perfect shot. To accomplish their goals, they produce special effects, set up cameras and other photographic equipment, test microphones to ensure they work properly and use different types of camera mounts. Since technology is constantly improving — able to produce an ever-higher quality of work — people in this profession should keep abreast of the latest tech so their skills and knowledge are always current. Camera operator careers include specific job titles such as cinematographer, studio camera operator and videographer.
Set and Exhibit Designers
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$59,590
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
1,600
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
10.9
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Bachelor's degree
One way that movies, plays, and television shows help audiences immerse themselves in a story is through the use of effective set design. The work of set and exhibit designers is instrumental in the success of these stories because they help to set the stage for action and create a sense of realism. In order to do this, these professionals need to be able to see everything from the perspective of the observer, whether that observer is a camera or a live audience, which is where an education in photography and camerawork can be of use. People in set and exhibit designer careers are responsible for researching the architectural styles of a specific historical period, reading scripts to determine design requirements, sharing information about sets with actors and directors during production meetings, and creating budgets and schedules for the construction and decoration of sets.
 
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