Photography Instructors


Education and Training Requirements

High School

While in high school, take all the photography classes that are offered. If your school does not have a darkroom, consider taking classes at your local community college or recreational center. Other art classes will also benefit you by broadening your artistic scope and abilities. To be a successful teacher, you should be able to communicate well with your students, so be sure to focus on your English classes as well.

Postsecondary Training

The level of postsecondary training required depends on where you teach. Instructors working at a community center or high school generally need a bachelor's degree, teacher certification, and a proven background in photography. If you want to teach at the college level, you will need a master's of fine arts degree (M.F.A.) or Ph.D (or both) to land a position at a large university. Art schools accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design are looked upon highly by employers and art professionals. Visit its Web site, https://nasad.arts-accredit.org, for school listings and contact information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

All 50 states and the District of Columbia require public school teachers to be licensed by the board of education in the state where they will be working. Licensing is generally not required for teachers in private schools. Photography instructors in self-enrichment programs such as those sponsored by community centers or photography studios are not required to be licensed, but proof of expertise and advanced training in the field may be necessary. Some community centers might require their instructors to be CPR-certified and undergo a criminal background check.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

To teach photography, you need education and experience in the technical elements of shooting and developing film. You also need to be passionate about photography and teaching to be an instructor. Students learn at different rates; some will pick up techniques and show talent from the beginning, while others may struggle just trying to load a roll of film into their camera. For this reason, you should also be extremely patient and supportive.

In some cases, students take photo classes simply for their own benefit or "just for fun." These individuals are not striving to become professionals, so they should be encouraged in their work and have fun learning the craft. It will be your responsibility as an instructor to create a fun and encouraging climate. In this case, you will need to be creative in your teaching methods to be able to educate your students in an entertaining and engaging manner.