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The Top 5 Online Associate Degree in Photography in 2021

May 13, 2021 | Staff Writers

Associate Degree in Photography
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Those seeking to earn an associate degree in photography online have a few schools across the nation to choose from that offer accredited programs.  Every photography school in this list is accredited and offers an entirely online program that awards students with associate degrees upon completion.  Schools were ranked using a matrix that included cost, faculty to student ratio, and graduation rate.  Programs that cost less, and have a lower faculty to student ratio are ranked higher.  Programs with higher graduation rates are also ranked higher.  

5 Top Online Associate Degree in Photography!

1. Sessions College

Sessions College is a unique online design college that opened in 1997 as a startup in New York.  As an online college the student body is international and diverse with many talented adult learners seeking to take their talend to the next level.  The associate degree in photography requires two years of courses.  The first year students will learn fundamental concepts such as lighting, image editing, color and composition.  The second year students will participate in commercial photography assignments.  During this time students will recognize strengths and work on areas that need polishing.  Students will collaborate with other students and professionals as they maximize their portfolio.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Tempe, Arizona
  • Tuition: $9,060
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 8 to 1
  • Accreditation: Distance Education Accrediting Commission
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 60%

2. Columbus State Community College

A public community college, Columbus State Community College was founded in 1963 and has since expanded to offer numerous quality online courses and degree programs to provide affordable education to a larger number of individuals.  Columbus State Community College offers numerous certificates and an AS in degree in digital photography.  Students pursuing this degree online will need to own or have access to class specific equipment.  They will participate in courses such as branding, digital photography, photoshop, retouching, studio lighting, Adobe Muse, and more.  Students also have numerous technical electives to choose from to gain more specific skills in the area of their choice.   

At A Glance

  • Location: Columbus, Ohio
  • Tuition: $4,738 Per Year
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 19 to 1
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 14.2%

3. Dakota College at Bottineau

Dakota College of Bottineau is a public institution for higher learning that is affordable and accessible. DCB offers their respected associate degree in photography in a state-of-the-art on-campus studio, online, or a combination of on-campus and online. Students will be prepared to enter the workforce of professional photography as they gain hands-on experience and guidance through their coursework. Students completing this degree online will need to access their own equipment to complete the course projects. Students will become proficient with professional camera equipment, lighting equipment, Adobe Lightroom, Bridge, and Photoshop as part of their courses. Graduates are also proficient in using photography business practices such as branding, marketing, pricing, photo packages, printing processes, and more.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Bottineau, North Dakota
  • Tuition: $233 Per Credit Hour
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 10 to 1
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 81%

4. Santa Barbara City College

A public community college, Santa Barbara City College opened in 1909 and has grown to offer a wide range of degrees as well as many online courses and degree programs.  The associate degree program for photography offers students a balanced approach between design and technology.   Students will build their foundation on design principles, creative thinking and problem solving.  Graduates of the photography program will be able to operate digital cameras and printing technologies, edit and manipulate special effects through technology, and create a professional portfolio.  Students will also have access to two counselors to advise them through their education and prepare them to enter the workforce in the field of digital photography and design.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Santa Barbara City College
  • Tuition: $285 Per Unit
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 27 to 1
  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 19.2%

5. Academy of Art University

A private, for-profit institution the Academy of Art University provides focused instruction for those seeking to advance their talents, education, and careers in the arts.  Students seeking to earn an associate degree online in photography will be taught and have access to the same high quality, experienced instructors as the on campus students have.  Participants have access to an abundance of archived material to learn from through the online program as well.  Students can post and engage with other students and faculty as often they need to receive feedback and collaborate.  Online students will be just as engaged as on-site students as they create their own portfolios and learn industry best practices for this profession.  

At A Glance

  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • Tuition: $26,399 Per Year
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 14 to 1
  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 3.8%

Points Methodology

Tuition:  Under $5,000 Annually Points:  5

    Between $5k and $10K Points:  3

   Above $10K Points:  1

Faculty to Student Ratio   10 to 1 and Below   Points:  5

Between 10 and 20 to 1 Points: 3

Above 20 to 1 Points:  1

Graduation Rate: Above 50%  Points:  5

Between 25% and 50%  Points:  3

Below 25%  Points:  1

Find the program that’s right for you

Whether you’re trying to start your career or make a big change, we can help you find the perfect school to help you reach your goals.

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BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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