Photography instructors teach at community centers, high schools, community colleges, liberal arts colleges, large universities, art schools, and photography studios. Some photo instructors are hired to work in full-time positions, but a majority work as part-time teachers or adjunct professors.
Instructors looking for their first job may find the most luck teaching photography classes at community art centers or community colleges. These classes are generally open to the public and require less formal training and experience from their instructors. From these positions, instructors can look for jobs teaching at larger schools. If they have teaching experience and certification, they can apply to teach at public schools of all levels. To work at a university or art school, however, instructors need an M.F.A. degree. Those with the degree can get job assistance from their school or through their contacts made in class or in the darkroom.
Career advancement may come in the form of higher salary, larger classes, or more prestige. Instructors who become known for their own work can command the highest salaries when teaching because the demand to learn from a "master" will be high. Instructors at all levels can advance by getting an advanced degree. A bachelor's degree is needed to teach at the high school level; a master's degree is required for teaching at a community college; and a Ph.D. or M.F.A. is necessary to teach at a college or university.
Advancement at a community art center is likely by adding responsibilities and supervising other instructors.
Tips for Entry
Volunteer at a community art center to gain experience and exposure.
To be an instructor means that you must continue to learn. One way to accomplish this is to join a photography association, such as the Professional Photographers Association, https://www.ppa.com.
Consider what type of student you would like to teach: high school, community college, university, or hobbyist. Explore the various settings by visiting lectures at each venue.
Visit the National Association of Schools of Art and Design's Web site, https://nasad.arts-accredit.org, for school listings and their contact information.