2022 Guide: Online Photojournalism Degree Programs

The best online photojournalism programs can prepare you for a career as a journalist. Capture images that tell important stories about the world around you. Explore the degree programs in photojournalism, as well as related programs in journalism and photography, with this Campus Explorer guide.

What Is an Online Photojournalism Degree Program?

An online bachelor’s degree in photojournalism, journalism, or photography can prepare you for a number of career options in the industry. These programs all get you ready for the role of a journalist, telling compelling stories through images.

Some photojournalists strictly capture news events with images. Others combine their photography and writing skills in multimedia journalism. Gather information, take photos, and prepare them to be shared in local, regional, and national newspapers.

Consider a photojournalism program that’s certified by the Professional Photographer’s of America to find a reputable program that helps you build the skills you need. Many courses are offered on campus, but an online degree in photojournalism can cover the same skills, techniques, and areas of study.

Explore the history of photography, media law, graphic design, news writing, and ethics in journalism as part of your degree program. Look for courses that offer hands-on opportunities to capture images and tell stories in an ethical, professional way.

The most common career path of this degree program is a photojournalist. Work with local newspapers, publishing companies, radio broadcasting, or television broadcasting corporations. As a self-employed journalist, you can pick up various assignments and take on other photography contracts as you establish yourself as a professional photographer.

Why Choose an Online Photojournalism Degree?

Expand your opportunities in journalism or photography with a degree in photojournalism. This specialized program combines these two fields and can help you expand your career opportunities. If you’re struggling to find work as a photographer or find competitive journalist positions requiring photography experience, choose this degree to broaden your knowledge base and move forward in your career.

If you love taking photos, then a career in photojournalism may be for you. This career path is also a great option for journalists who prefer breathtaking images to the written word.

Studying photojournalism online is a great way to study at your own pace. An online course also allows you to study from home, so you can capture compelling stories in your local area, rather than traveling to a campus location.

How Much Does a Photojournalism Degree Cost?

You can enroll in an online bachelor’s degree program for approximately $38,500 to $60,600, according to the U.S. News in January 2020. This cost depends on whether you’re attending a public or private institution. It also depends on the type of degree you’re pursuing.

A career in journalism typically requires a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Many careers in photography, however, only require a high school diploma. If you already have a bachelor’s degree and are looking to transition to a career in photojournalism, consider a certificate course. These affordable courses can be completed in 18 months or less and can cost as little as $700, like the New York Institute of Photography Photojournalism Course.

On average, online courses are more affordable than in-person alternatives. Not only are prices per credit hour often lower, but an online program doesn’t include as many cost-of-living expenses and on-campus fees.

Explore scholarships and grants that can reduce the price of a degree in photojournalism. Applicable scholarships and transfer credits are two popular ways to reduce the cost of an online bachelor’s degree in photojournalism.

How Much Do Photojournalism Majors Make?

According to PayScale in June 2021, photojournalists make a median annual salary of about $38,700. Journalists have a median annual salary of $41,600, so you may be able to earn more by combining your photography and journalist skills.

Your salary as a photojournalist depends on your experience level. For example, according to PayScale, an entry-level photojournalist can expect hourly pay around $12.95. Photojournalists with 20 or more years of experience, however, earn a median hourly rate of $20.87.

A degree in photojournalism may help you earn more. In a competitive field, the skills and experience of a degree can set you apart from other photographers and journalists. Explore not only degrees in this major, but related journalism and photography degrees to gain experience and create a competitive application.

If you plan to use your degree and talents to focus on more expressive, creative roles, consider a career as a photographer. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, photographers in 2020 earned a median pay of about $41,300. Professional photographers tell stories with images in a variety of contexts, from weddings to community events. If you’re planning a career as a freelance photographer, you can pick up both journalistic and artistic photography assignments.

What Is the Job Outlook for Photojournalism Degree Holders?

The job outlook for reporters and journalists between 2019 and 2029 is an 11% decline, according to the BLS. Similarly, the professional photography industry is expected to see a 4% decline between 2019 and 2029. These job outlooks make a degree in photojournalism a great way to create a strong application in a competitive industry.

Scholarships for Photojournalism

A degree in photojournalism is an investment. Search for scholarships to reduce the cost of your online program. From full funding to small awards to covering the cost of a new lens, scholarships are great ways to start your program the right way.

The application process can vary. Many require a short essay describing your career ambitions or personal history, while others only require a short form including some personal information. Scholarships are available through colleges, nonprofit organizations, community groups, and personal donors.

As you consider the best photojournalism degree programs, apply to any scholarship that fits your situation. Here are some examples of scholarships that you may be eligible for:

  • ACES Bill Walsh Scholarship: Apply to receive $3,500 and financial aid to attend the ACES conference.
  • Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference: This scholarship and conference attendance are awarded to rising high school seniors looking to promote “free spirit” qualities in journalism.
  • AQHA Journalism Scholarship: Members of either AQHA or AQHYA can apply to receive up to $32,000 toward a degree in journalism.

FAQs About Photojournalism Degrees

Summary Information

  • Accelerated and standard program lengths available
  • Typically, the study is 36-48 months
  • Programs can usually be completed fully online

  • Can be completed in 36 months
  • Offers opportunities to promote worthwhile causes through journalism
  • Prepares students for careers in both journalism and photography

  • Programs typically vary in price
  • A high number of scholarships are available for journalists and photojournalists
  • Certificates and other degree programs are available at reduced prices

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