Earn an AA in Photography Online
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Take your love of photography to the next level with an Associate of Arts (AA) in Digital Photography degree from Southern New Hampshire University. Along with courses in writing, communication and social sciences, you’ll cover the business and history of photography.
You’ll learn design theory, how to use light and color, and how to create and process digital images. Post-production editing and other technical skills are paired with a strong foundation in the humanities throughout. And, all courses are online – so you're free to learn from anywhere with internet and at any time that fits your schedule.
This program is for anyone seeking to launch or advance an exciting career in professional photography. You’ll complete this program ready to develop your own creative voice and your brand identity. You’ll also be ready to seamlessly transition to the bachelor's online digital photography degree program should you choose.
In SNHU’s online associate degree in digital photography program, you’ll learn how to:
While an associate degree in photography can give you a competitive advantage, the best job candidates have multiple talents and related skills. Accountability and professionalism will serve you well in any career. Creative intelligence and collaboration are two strong skills you’ll develop by studying commercial arts. And written and verbal communication never go out of style.
Graduates of an associate degree in digital photography can become commercial photographers in fields such as photojournalism and industrial or product photography. Freelance photography is also a growing field. In fact, there are many ways to use your associate degree in photography that could lead to a rewarding career. You can apply the credits earned in the associate in photography toward a BA in Digital Photography as well.
"A photography degree says that you have made an investment in your career," said RJ Johns, a photography instructor for Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). "While many still view photography as a glorified hobby, to have a degree shows a commitment to your craft and career."
The median hourly wage for a photographer was $17.44 in 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.2 That allows for a lot of potential to earn a solid wage as you build your career. You can also apply your associate degree in photography to a BA in Digital Photography or online graphic design degree.
Or, you could also apply your photographic expertise as a craft or fine artist working in a commercial studio, where the median salary was $48,760 per year in 2019.2
Once you complete the online Associate of Arts in Digital Photography program, you'll be ready to work in a number of exciting career fields, including:
No matter which career you choose, “earning your online degree at SNHU will afford you the opportunity to lay the foundation of being an expert in your craft, and have a deeper understanding of professional photography," said Colleen Vandenberg, photography faculty at SNHU.
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
Take advantage of some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation, plus financial aid for those who qualify. We also make it easy to transfer to SNHU by accepting up to 90 credits for a bachelor's degree and 45 credits for an associate degree from your previous institution.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 100,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, SNHU has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 200,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
An associate in photography not only positions you for success in your career, it positions you to further your education. This degree prepares you for a number of business degrees, social science degrees and technology degrees. Each of SNHU’s more than 200 online college degree programs offers faculty who are actively working in their field. They are ready to give you advice and guidance that will help you achieve your professional goals every step of the way.
96.5% of students would recommend SNHU.* Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Part of our mission to expand access to quality higher education means removing the barriers that may stand between you and your degree. That’s why you can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials.
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 6 (8-week) undergraduate terms.
Simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options, answer all your questions and walk you through the application process. Start by:
Test scores are not required as part of your application.
The Associate of Arts in Digital Photography degree at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is designed to give you the leading edge for a career in commercial photography.
Taught by industry-leading faculty, you’ll enjoy foundational coursework grounded in business and the liberal arts. Then, you’ll focus on courses covering all aspects of digital photography. Lighting, aesthetics, design and communications come together to offer a well-rounded degree.
"Photographers today often are hired on a contract basis and it is essential that they are educated in the successful creation, marketing and running of a photography business," said Sloan Kelly, associate dean of fine and applied arts at SNHU.
In addition to learning the most advanced camera, lighting and editing technology, you’ll enjoy a robust feedback process to enrich your learning experience. Coursework examines the artistic and business sides of the profession.
"Learning how to build and maintain a freelance business and the importance of a brand – and marketing that brand – is essential for students to learn," Kelly said.
Credits earned for the associate degree in photography can be easily applied toward a bachelor’s degree in digital photography, graphic design and media arts or a variety of other liberal arts majors.
Curriculum Requirements & Resources
In addition to the technical and theoretical photography skills you will learn in this exciting program, your coursework will prepare you for the business aspects of working as a commercial photographer.
Communication, business, critical thinking and internet savvy are all skills that will serve you well for a future career or to move on to a bachelor’s degree. Many of your courses for the associate degree in photography can be applied to a bachelor’s degree, so continuing on with your education will be seamless.
Total Credits: 60
Students enrolled in the digital photography programs are responsible for ensuring they have the minimum system hardware, software, and photography equipment required in the courses. System requirements often change, so it is important that students maintain awareness of the various minimum hardware requirements for the required software listed below.
Required Photography Equipment:
Students may also wish to purchase (not required):
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.
No Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Absolutely. In fact, you might be surprised by just how easy, affordable and practical earning an associate degree in photography online really is. In an increasingly digital world, it’s crucial to stay up to date on technology. Our faculty are current in the field, and will teach you how to best use the internet plus all of the software and hardware needed to have a successful career in photography.
At Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), we have designed our curriculum around the online experience. This means that every class and every assignment is designed to help you learn how to use all of the tools you need to advance your photography knowledge. We not only provide you with critical foundational courses in general education and business, we teach you how to use current photography software such as Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop.
We cover the history and business of photography. We teach you how to use the necessary tools of the trade such as scanners, lighting and different types of cameras. You may complete this degree armed with the knowledge and hands-on experience you need to be successful in a career such as commercial photographer, fine arts photographer or photography assistant. And you’ll be ready to continue on to a BA in digital photography, game art and development or graphic design program.
An associate degree in photography can take you places you’ve probably never dreamed of. With coursework grounded in general education and business, and focusing on the technical and theoretical aspects of photography as a practice, you will be prepared to enjoy careers such as:
You’ll also be able to apply your associate degree coursework to a bachelor’s degree and continue with your education as you build your career.
We think so. The opportunity to study what you love and prepare yourself for the career of your dreams in an affordable and accessible way sounds pretty good to us. This degree provides the general education, business and, most importantly, photography skills needed to set you apart in a competitive job market.
An associate degree in photography can help launch your career in commercial or fine art photography. It can also serve as a launch pad for continued education with a BA in a related field, like graphic design, digital photography or game art and design.
While a high school diploma is the minimum requirement for many photography jobs, an associate degree certainly helps. By taking the time to study your craft and learn to apply business and theoretical principles to your work, you can show any employer that you are serious about the business of photography and that you are well-trained in your field.
You can also apply your work on your associate degree in photography toward a bachelor’s degree, should you decide to continue with your studies. At Southern New Hampshire University, we make it easy. You can apply most or possibly all of the credits in your associate degree to a bachelor’s degree in a related field like digital photography, graphic design and media arts or game art and development. There are many business, humanities and liberal arts degree programs that would be a natural next step from your associate degree as well.
Because some specialties in commercial photography, such as medical or science photography, deal with science, it can be helpful to build on your associate degree in photography with a bachelor’s degree in a science-related field.
As for work experience, a good eye, sense of creativity and design, knowledge of branding and marketing, and strong communication skills, coupled with any practical work experience you have in the photography field, will help you meet your goals.
While anyone can pick up a camera and take some images, formal training in a degree program offers instruction in business, marketing and communication as well as the history of and theory behind photography as a profession.
As associate degree in photography will help you connect with and learn from our faculty, who have professional experience in the field. The degree not only prepares you to be successful in the business and professional aspects of a career in commercial photography, it sends a signal to an employer that you are serious about your craft.
Best of all, you can earn your associate degree in photography at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) in as little as 18 months. With all courses online, you set the pace. If you want to continue on beyond the courses taught at the associate degree level, consider continuing on toward a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as digital photography.
First, choose the right education. While anyone can take some nice pictures, it takes a real professional to apply skills, artistic and creative training and knowledge of photography as both a craft and a business to enjoy a long and rewarding career.
The Associate of Arts in Digital Photography degree at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a great place to start. Our program offers a solid foundation in writing, business and social science. You’ll then take major courses that cover topics such as lighting, history of photography and color theory.
With most professions, practical experience is important. Our associate degree in photography offers hands-on experience through the coursework so you graduate ready to apply your skills to a real work environment.
Any school that includes courses grounded in the humanities and general education and then builds on them with courses specific to photography is tops. Look for a curriculum that includes humanities, business and writing courses, plus coursework in lighting, digital imaging, aesthetics and even media communication and visual literacy.
Southern New Hampshire University's online associate degree in photography allows you hands-on photography experience coupled with courses in the humanities, business and both the technical and artistic aspects of photography. We also offer a variety of bachelor’s degree programs that will help you continue to advance your education after you complete your associate degree. Consider a bachelor’s degree in digital photography, graphic design and media arts or even game art and development.
Our online platform pairs expert advising with the flexibility to complete your degree at your pace. Our affordable tuition ensures that our degree programs are affordable. And you can graduate with more than just expertise in photography.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.
*According to more than 9,200 SNHU online students in survey responses from the fall of 2019.
2Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at:
Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.