Choosing the right school for anything is a big choice. Whether you are a parent sending off your little one to class for the first time or someone looking to earn a degree or certification to help improve your economic situation finding the right environment is of the utmost importance. It is important to take the time to research and educate yourself about what choices are available. Remember you are making an economic decision about where you will spend your money during the course of your education. Spending some time and effort now can save a lot of headache down the road.
For those interested in a career in photography getting an education that includes the latest technology and best practices is key to finding success in the field. Unharnessed talent is a terrible thing to waste. Finding an online photography program that fits your education needs, lifestyle and economic reality may help you get the skills and professional acumen necessary to find employment in the field. A degree is a leg up in many professional circles, demonstrating your work ethic and commitment to polishing your craft.
What to look for in an online photography program
When looking for an online photography school it is important to fully investigate the program. Education, like any other sector of the economy, has plenty of fly by night operations more interested in taking your money than teaching you anything in your field of study. Checking into your potential school to ensure they are a professional, accredited (officially recognized or authorized by a professional oversight agency) program is an important first step. While there are no specific agencies that accredit photography programs most are part of a larger college or university. Looking into the reputation of your potential school is a good idea. A degree from a program that has a poor reputation in the professional community is unlikely to help you secure the job you would like.
Once you have found some reputable programs it is important to look into the degree program itself. Schools often create their programs to fit a specific population’s educational needs. While pursuing your online photography degree you should make sure you are getting the education you want. Looking into the specific courses and areas of focus for your potential degree program can help highlight what you are acutally going to learn about. Ensuring that your photography degree includes learning about the latest practices and techniques will help you get a leg up in the job search after graduation. A degree program that does not teach about what you need to know or uses outdated information could prove to have little value in your career. Be sure your hard earned time and money is spent on an online degree program that will help you reach your goals.
What can I learn during my online photography degree program?
Photography is a broad field with many niches and nuances. Before embarking on your education it is necessary to sit down and decide what you are really looking for in an online photography degree program. What avenue of photography do you want to make your career? Are in you interested in live action? Taking pictures for the news? Would you rather be a digital editor creating masterpieces of artistic display out of the images you capture? Would you rather take portaits? All these questions should be answered along with many more before making a final decision about which online program is the best fit.
An excellent example of the options available is the slate of programs offered by The Art Insitute of Pittsburgh’s Online Division. Recognizing just how diverse the field of photography has become through the medium’s continued evolution they offer five different options. These options also highlight the differing levels of education available depending on your desire. They offer both a typical Bachelor’s degree and a less intensive Associate’s degree for students interested in less coursework. On top of these digital photography degree programs they also offer three different certificate programs. While a certificate can carry less weight than a degree this is not always the case. For students interested in gaining specific skills necessary to break into one section of photography as a career a certificate may be the way to go. They normally involve less time and expense, offering a faster avenue to employment.
The most important thing to remember when looking for an online photography degree program that meets your goals and expectations is the fact that different schools offer different instruction. While many areas of education overlap the finer points of study may differ greatly. You need to decide what you want to learn about in the field of photography before beginning to research and ask questions. Any reputable program has professionals waiting to discuss your educational and professional goals. Writing down what you are looking for before starting your search can help save time and focus your search to get the most of out of your education. It is your time and money. Make sure it is well spent.
What will my online photograpy degree program prepare me for?
Ultimately you decide what you will get out of your online degree program. It is important to ensure that your preparation program covers the information and skills necessary for you to compete in a crowded marketplace. In addition to gaining the technical skills required in the field of photography there are other areas of education that you should make sure are covered. A lot more goes into being a photographer than simply snapping a great image. Learning about the current best practices in image editing, marketing to individuals and businesses, traditional and digital presentation and other areas are just as important as learning your way around a camera.
Your online photography degree will only prepare you for what you want. Taking an interest in all aspects of photography is vital to finding success in the field. Taking some time to talk to potential employers about what they are looking for in a new hire may be a good start. Networking with other professionals in the field is also an excellent way to gain insight into what it takes to be a successful photographer over the long term. Make sure that you take full advantage of the resources available to you during your online photography degree program. Discussing what steps you should be taking to ensure you are a strong candidate with your instructors is a smart first step.
No matter what online photography degree program you choose make sure their education aligns with your career goals. Through the recent economic turmoil it has become evident that a piece of paper is not worth as much as it used to be. Making the most out of your education while gaining the relevant skills necessary to compete in the job market is vital to turning a degree into a career. Whether you want to work for a newspaper, agency or freelance and work for yourself, an online degree in photography is a great way to improve your resume on your terms and time. Investing the time to find the best program for you and your goals is the best way to ensure a long and successful career in the field of photography.