Online Photography School, Online Photography Degree

The mark of a great photographer is in the detail. Great photographers can see things that no one else can – and are able to capture that to share with the world.

But being in the photography field is grueling and competition is fierce. If you’re thinking of going into this line of work, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to get a degree. Photographers who possess a degree from an accredited college or university, as well as certifications in their field, often are more desirable than those who do not.

Don’t have time to attend a traditional college program? Then on online photography school may be right for you.

There are many options from which to choose, but choosing the school and program that is right for you is important. Accreditation from a recognized accrediting agency is very important when choosing an online program. Along with cost, program length and degrees awarded, it is one of the most important pieces of information that should be asked when selecting a program.

The New York Institute of Photography is among the best in the nation. Established in 1910, it has become the world’s largest photography school. It has obtained accreditation from the U.S. Department of Education, as well as from the Distance Education Training Council. It started out offering traditional photography classes on-site in New York City.

“But now we are strictly a home-study school, with thousands of graduates all over the world,” said Zach Heller, institute spokesman.

Heller said the school produces beautifully-illustrated materials that are sent to each student to help with their coursework.

“We like to think that the physical materials that we produce in house and send out to each student add to the value of the course,” he said. “Each course contains beautifully-illustrated lesson texts, CD audio discussions and DVD video training. Since all of our courses are now taught in this manner, we have about 20,000 students enrolled and taking the courses at any given time.”

Students are encouraged to work at their own pace, providing a distinct advantage over traditional classrooms. “Most of our students have full-time jobs, and they use their free time to complete the course,” said Heller.

Students get the benefit of 24/7 assistance from an advisor at the college should they need it.

Those who do not have the ability to motivate themselves to complete the work outside a traditional classroom should not consider an online course, Heller warned. “Since there are few time constraints on our program and students are left to study at their own pace, it takes a motivated student to work their way through the course.”

Anyone interested in enrolling or learning more about the program can visit the institute’s website at

Another online photography program that is taking off is one operated by the Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online Division.

Devra Pransky, spokeswoman for the program, said the institute has offered an online version of its photography course since December 2008. Currently, there are 2,000 students enrolled in the online program.

The amount of time it takes to complete the course depends on the student, Ms. Pransky said. The class is designed to take 5-1/2 weeks, but the student can work that schedule at their convenience.

There are many advantages to the online program, versus a traditional college classroom, she said. Among them are it affords the student flexibility to be in “class” at their convenience and the ability to network with other students in the program who are enrolled from all over the world.

Students are required to buy their own equipment for use in the program, Ms. Pransky said. However, they are able to do so at a discounted rate, “which gives them an edge once they enter into the professional world.”

The only disadvantage to the program is the loss of face-to-face interaction with other students and a classroom instructor.

To learn more about the program, enter your zipcode in the search box above and click on the Art Institute Online logo to request more information. You'll note that the name of the school is technically Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Online Division, but this school was formerly known as simply 'Art Institute Online'. Financial aid may available to those who qualify.

Article by Shari Berg,