Freelance Photographer Education Requirements And Degrees

If a freelance photographer career is compelling to you, you might also be interested in what kind of education you need to become a freelance photographer. For freelance photographers, the most commonly required education level is a bachelor's degree.

We decided to investigate the topic of freelance photographer education more precisely by analyzing 11,451 freelance photographer resumes and found that freelance photographers most commonly study photography, graphic design, or fine arts. 61% of freelance photographers hold a bachelor's degree, 17% hold a associate degree and 9% hold a high school diploma.

The most common colleges for students to pursue their goal of becoming a freelance photographer are School of Visual Arts and Savannah College of Art and Design.

For those who would rather stay in your pajamas during the day, we prepared some online courses that can help in freelance photographer education paths.

We prepared a list of a freelance photographer certifications that you should consider. The most common certification for freelance photographers is Web Graphics and Multimedia Certificate.

What Degree Should I Get to Become a Freelance Photographer ?

We assessed our data to determine the typical level of education for freelance photographers. The most common degree for freelance photographers is bachelor's degree. In fact, 61% of freelance photographers earn that degree. A close second is associate degree with 17% and rounding it off is high school diploma with 9%.

  • Bachelors degree, 61%
  • Associate degree, 17%
  • High School Diploma degree, 9%
  • Masters degree, 6%
  • Other Degrees, 7%
What Should I Major in to Become a Freelance Photographer ?

According to our resume data, most freelance photographers, 40% to be exact, major in photography. Some other common majors for a freelance photographer include graphic design and fine arts majors.

Most Common Colleges for Freelance Photographer

Here are the most common colleges for a freelance photographer career in the US based on their resumes. Freelance photographers often get their degree in School of Visual Arts, Savannah College of Art and Design, and Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

School of Visual Arts

Savannah College of Art and Design

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

Brooks Institute

Columbia College Chicago

Most Common Certifications For Freelance Photographer

Web Graphics and Multimedia Certificate

#1 Certification For Freelance Photographer

Equips the student for work as a Web graphic artist, creating illustrations, pictures, buttons, and other images for use on the Web, as well as the ability to create interactive multimedia designs in Flash or other programs.

Equips the student for work as a Web graphic artist, creating illustrations, pictures, buttons, and other images for use on the Web, as well as the ability to create interactive multimedia designs in Flash or other programs.

Certification Details
  • More than two years of education or training after high school required? No
  • More than two years of work experience required? No
  • Oral or Written Exam Required? No
  • Renewal Required? No

Certified Professional Photographer (CPP)

#2 Certification For Freelance Photographer

Certification Details
  • More than two years of education or training after high school required? No
  • More than two years of work experience required? Yes
  • Oral or Written Exam Required? Yes
  • Renewal Required? Every 4 year(s)

Top Online Courses For Freelance Photographers

Sometimes things are just better when you get to stay in your pajamas all day. That includes school. We found top courses for freelance photographers from Udemy, Coursera, EDX, and ed2go that will help you advance in your career. Here are essential skills you need to be a freelance photographer:

  • Photoshop
  • Photo shoots
  • Lightroom
If you want to improve freelance photographers skills these courses could help you in this.

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Mastering Architecture and Real Estate Photography
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Start a business photographing real estate photography jobs for architects, builders, and real estate agents...

Digital Photography for Beginners with DSLR cameras
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Learn how to take stunning photographs by mastering both the technical and creative sides of digital photography...

Photography - Become a Better Photographer - Part I
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See results today! 50 photography tips for taking amazing photos with your DSLR, Mirrorless or compact camera...

Adobe Photoshop CC For Photographers
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(259)

An essential Photoshop course for all photographers. Learn how to edit and manipulate your images with Photoshop CC...

How to Be a Commercial Photographer
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Learn how I thrived for 35+ years photography people, products, and places for Fortune 500 companies and top maazines...

Portrait Photography for Beginners
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Top 10 Colleges For Freelance Photographers

In a lot of cases, a higher education can mean a higher salary or even a better job. That's why we found out the best colleges for freelance photographers. We based this list on these metrics: admissions rate, retention rate, mean earnings of students working, ratio of working vs. non-working students 10 years after admission, average cost of attendance and median debt for graduates.

1. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

2. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

3. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

4. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

5. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Public

In-State Tuition
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

6. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

7. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,522
Enrollment
13,760

8. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

9. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$14,184
Enrollment
30,845

10. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

Top 10 Affordable Colleges For Freelance Photographers

If those top 10 were a bit out of your price range, you might want to check these schools instead. After factoring in in-state tuition and fees, average cost of attendance, admissions rate, average net price and mean earnings after 6 years, we found that these are the most affordable schools for freelance photographers.

1. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL • Public

In-State Tuition
$6,381
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$21,034

2. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$6,798
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$18,306

3. Brooklyn College of the City University of New York

Brooklyn, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,240
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$13,991

4. Lehman College of the City University of New York

Bronx, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,210
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$14,359

5. Brigham Young University

Provo, UT • Private

In-State Tuition
$5,620
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$18,136

6. Fashion Institute of Technology

New York, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$5,740
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$17,864

7. Hunter College of the City University of New York

New York, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,182
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$13,998

8. Queens College of the City University of New York

Queens, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,338
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$14,281

9. California State University - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$6,749
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$14,823

10. Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL • Public

In-State Tuition
$5,656
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$21,623

Top 10 Hardest Colleges To Get Into For Freelance Photographers

Some people like a challenge. Well, we challenge you to get into one of these schools. It's not going to be easy. We know this based on these institutions' admissions rates, average SAT scores accepted, median ACT scores accepted and mean earnings of students 6 years after admission.

1. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

Admissions Rate
8%
SAT Average
1,508

2. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

Admissions Rate
5%
SAT Average
1,520

3. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

Admissions Rate
17%
SAT Average
1,507

4. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

Admissions Rate
8%
SAT Average
1,492

5. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

Admissions Rate
19%
SAT Average
1,466

6. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

Admissions Rate
6%
SAT Average
1,512

7. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

Admissions Rate
13%
SAT Average
1,445

8. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

Admissions Rate
4%
SAT Average
1,497

9. New York University

New York, NY • Private

Admissions Rate
20%
SAT Average
1,419

10. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

Admissions Rate
22%
SAT Average
1,420

Top 10 Easier To Apply Colleges For Freelance Photographers

Why make getting a job harder on yourself than it has to be? With these colleges, you're sure to be accepted in no time. We compiled admissions rates, average SAT scores, average ACT scores and average salary of students 6 years after graduation in order to uncover which were the easiest schools to get into.

1. Mount Saint Mary's University

Los Angeles, CA • Private

Admissions Rate
84%
SAT Average
1,031

2. Notre Dame de Namur University

Belmont, CA • Private

Admissions Rate
82%
SAT Average
983

3. Cardinal Stritch University

Milwaukee, WI • Private

Admissions Rate
71%
SAT Average
1,035

4. Wayland Baptist University

Plainview, TX • Private

Admissions Rate
98%
SAT Average
1,003

5. Curry College

Milton, MA • Private

Admissions Rate
93%
SAT Average
1,026

6. University of the Incarnate Word

San Antonio, TX • Private

Admissions Rate
88%
SAT Average
1,044

7. Barry University

Miami, FL • Private

Admissions Rate
91%
SAT Average
1,006

8. Grand View University

Des Moines, IA • Private

Admissions Rate
92%
SAT Average
1,060

9. Notre Dame College

Cleveland, OH • Private

Admissions Rate
90%
SAT Average
994

10. Kean University

Union, NJ • Public

Admissions Rate
86%
SAT Average
991

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