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Photography Certification and Certificate Program Information

Photography certificate programs provide students with the basic skills needed to become a photographer. Below you'll find information on coursework, possible certifications and career projections.

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Essential Information

Photography certificate programs are often offered at private and public colleges and universities, community colleges, design schools and trade schools. These programs typically require completion of 6-10 courses, and students gain significant hands-on experience with cameras and other technical equipment. Photographers can earn certifications that help validate their expertise, which can set them apart from the many competitors in this popular field.

Program Coursework

Coursework for a photography certificate program teaches students photography's technical aspects, such as figuring the aperture, shutter speed and depth of field. They also study photo composition, lighting and other aesthetic aspects. Although professional-grade photography equipment isn't usually required, certain gear, like a tripod and a single-lens reflex camera, is often necessary. Required courses may include:

  • Studio lighting
  • Digital image management
  • Landscape photography
  • Wedding photography
  • Commercial photography
  • Digital editing
  • Color and composition
  • Photojournalism
  • Portraiture

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that professional photographer is a popular occupation so individuals can expect fierce competition within the field (www.bls.gov). Still, the BLS reported that photographer jobs are expected to grow 12% between 2008 and 2018. Photographers specializing in portrait and commercial photography may find the best job prospects while newspaper photographers may find the least favorable opportunities amid a waning newspaper industry.

In 2010, photographers earned an annual average salary of $35,980, according to the BLS. Freelance photographers tend to earn less than salaried photographers and also have to purchase and maintain their own gear.

Continuing Education and Professional Certification

For students who want to pursue their photography studies further, there are degree programs in photography at the associate and baccalaureate level. Professional photographers can establish their photography proficiency by obtaining voluntary certification. The Professional Photographic Certification Commission (PPCP) awards professional photographer certifications to eligible applicants (www.certifiedphotographer.com). To earn certification, applicants must pass an exam concerning the technical aspects, such as exposure, light metering, camera parts, composition and image capture. Additionally, applicants must submit photo samples for review.

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Top Schools for Photography

Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Colorado (1 campus)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    • Bachelor
        • BFA in Commercial Photography (Online)
        • BFA in Art Education
        • BFA in Undeclared
        • BFA - Fine Art

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Florida (1 campus)

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Miami include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Cinematography and Film Production
        • Film and Cinema Studies
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Syracuse University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Cinematography and Film Production
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at New York University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Cinematography and Film Production
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Temple University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Film and Cinema Studies
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at George Washington University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • Oregon (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Oregon include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Film and Cinema Studies
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • Ohio (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Dayton include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Photography

Popular Schools

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