The Best 7 Online Associate in Photography Programs in 2024

January 26, 2024 | Admin

Online Associate in Photography

Earning an online associate in photography degree allows aspiring photographers to start or to enhance their photography skills, and to gain the expertise to become a professional photographer. There are several advantages to earning an online associate’s degree in photography.

Advantages of Earning an Online Associate in Photography Degree

Having a career in photography allows the photographer to capture the important moments in life, in the news, and in history. Photographers capture the sudden, the dramatic, the beautiful, the funny, and the unexpected.

Photographers have been attempting to capture the moments in time, and the people at different periods in time since the first photograph that did not quickly fade away was taken in the early 19th century, explains an article titled ‘History of Photography on photograper.org. Rapid progressions in photography, equipment and techniques led to the popularity of portraiture, and the development of other types of photography. Schools that taught photography courses soon opened for aspiring photographers. Today, students progress through courses that teach techniques, digital photography, software, editing and production, design, along with the optimal brand impact of photography.

Completing an online associate in photography program provides students with the knowledge of cameras, the basic principles of photography, the different types of photography, tools and techniques, print production, computer software, and the business of photography. Students learn other knowledge and skills that starts the graduate of an online associate’s degree in photography program on the path to success. This is true whether the graduate plans on a career as a portrait photographer, or a career in areas such as:

  • Fashion photography
  • Nature or wildlife photography
  • Aerial photography
  • Advertising or commercial photography
  • Photojournalism
  • Event or sports photography

Some photographers want an adventurous career in specialty areas such as underwater photography, astrophotography, architectural photography, or biomedical and forensic photography.

The salary may vary for photographers that specialize in certain types of photography. The annual salary for a photographer with an associate’s degree is well above that of an individual with no degree.

These schools offer online associate in photography degrees. The tuition rate does not cover the cost of cameras, supplies, or other materials unless the school specifically indicates that these things are included in the cost of tuition.

The Best 7 Online Associate in Photography Programs

1. Santa Barbara City College

Santa Barbara City College offers an online Applied Photography, Associate in Arts degree that provides students with the knowledge of camera operations, digital printing, archival printing, digital image editing and special manipulation effects, and advanced lighting techniques. Other learning outcomes include color management basics, photographic methods in studio photography, skills in photojournalism, and how to create a professional portfolio with high visual impact and lasting appeal.

Online students have the same access to an academic counselor, and other resources at the school as those provided to students completing courses on-campus.

  • Tuition: $46 per credit hour
  • Program length: 60 credit hours
  • Accreditation: WASC

2. Dakota County Technical College

The online Professional Photography Associate of Applied Science degree offered by Dakota County Technical College features instruction in all types of photography, design skills, and video and color management. Students learn about lighting, portraiture, image capture, print production, computer software, and owning a successful photography business.

Students may be able to accelerate their degree if they qualify for Credit for Prior Learning (CPL).

  • Tuition: $179.22 per credit hour
  • Program length: 60 credit hours
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

3. Columbus State Community College

The Associate of Applied Science in Digital Photography program at Columbus State Community College is designed for students that want a career in the in-demand field of digital photography. The school takes a multi-disciplinary approach to the program format and curriculum, covering topics in technical and aesthetic skills in digital photography, digital capture, digital workflow, and digital image management.

Students learn to demonstrate skills in digital image-editing software, computer skills related to digital photography editing and enhancement, and learn about theory, career applications and processes.

  • Tuition: $162.93 per credit hour
  • Program length: 64 credit hours
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

4. Lake Area Technical College

Lake Area Technical College offers a Business Associate’s degree in Photography/Media. The program consists of mostly online courses, with a possible requirement that students complete some requirements face-to-face.

Students learn a broad range of different types of photography, software applications, marketing and business skills of photography. Gain advanced training in photo editing and enhancement, and real-world applications through the program curriculum and the internship or capstone project.

  • Tuition: $121 per credit hour
  • Program length: 70 credit hours
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

5. Dakota College at Bottineau

The online Associate of Applied Science degree in photography at Dakota College at Bottineau prepares students to start their career immediately after graduation if they desire, or to have the foundation to continue their education and earn an advanced degree. Students learn to use a variety of equipment, including DSLR cameras, lenses, camera and studio lighting, and studio equipment.

The program provides instruction on perfecting images in professional portraiture, documentary photography, sports, event photography, advertising photography, and outdoor photography. Students also learn about labs, and business practices.

Students have the opportunity to participate in a study abroad photo trip.

  • Tuition: $233.90 per credit hour
  • Program length: 61 credit hours
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

6. Sessions College for Professional Design

Sessions College for Professional Design offers an Associate of Occupational Studies in Digital Photography program in an online format. Students gain a strong foundation in the visual language of photography, while gaining knowledge of the equipment, software, and production techniques involved in the industry.

Sample Courses that guide students towards completion of the degree, and a real-world digital photography career include Digital Photography with Lightroom, Photoshop, Narrative Photography, and Digital Video Editing.

  • Tuition: $415 per credit hour
  • Program length: 72 credit hours
  • Accreditation: Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)

7. Academy of Art University

The Academy of Art University offers an Associate of Arts in Photography degree that provides students with the fundamental knowledge and skills of photography. Students gain technical competencies in a variety of areas, including developing a strong understanding of photography as a visual language, lighting, digital capture, post-production, and social media content development. Students also learn conceptual and problem-solving skills related to photography.

The school also offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography, a Master of Arts, and a Master of Fine Arts in photography, all of which can be completed in an online format.

  • Tuition: $1,191 per credit hour
  • Program length: 66 credit hours
  • Accreditation: WSCUC


We realize that finding the best online associate in photography programs is time-consuming, so we did the hard work of finding those programs for you. We assigned a unique score to each photography school for the tuition rate, and a unique score based on program length, and added the scores together to arrive at our final list of schools. We then ranked the schools in ascending order. When there was a tie, we assigned the higher ranking to the school with the lower tuition.

Do you need assistance with finding the right online college or university? We can assist you, based on the program that you select.

Do you need to update the information that we have for your school? Would you like to have your school included in our rankings? Please contact us and we will be happy to help you.

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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