Guide to Become a Photography Instructor

Photography and teaching are two fields that when combined requires one to be an artist and educator at the same time.

If you are planning to pursue a career in photography teaching, a question in your mind might be: which profession would you take up first? Or, can you teach if your qualification is purely experience?

One question that usually emerges from discussions about the pursuit of a career in photography teaching is whether one should start as a teacher or a photographer. One can lead to another, but which is the best way? That question may be better answered by each person wanting to pursue a career as a photography instructor.

Teaching to Photography Career

If your target is, foremost, to become a teacher, and then get a chance to teach photography, either as a subject or as an extra-curricular activity in school, then you can take a course related to art teaching. This gives one a broader field to seek for employment as a teacher. Only that the disadvantage in this is it could happen that one’s passion for photography could take a back seat in the face of the rigors of teaching. As a result, one doesn’t get as much actual experience on the art he wants to teach.

Photography to Teaching Career

If you want to start as a photographer and your intent is to focus on hard-core photography, you can take a photography course. If you want to take a course with a broader scope, but something that would allow you a stint in photography teaching, try fine arts or studio art college programs. Meanwhile, if you have a degree totally unrelated to the arts, but you have extensive practical experience in photography, the question that might play in your mind would be: do I need to go back to arts school or obtain training under the tutelage of a professional photographer?

Some private schools do not require a relevant degree, only expert knowledge through experience. Public schools and some private schools, however, require a degree in the specialty (or masters) as well as certification as a teacher. So, if you are a photographer before a teacher, the most practical way is to ask the school you intend to teach regarding their requirements. Your experience may be enough or at the most, you will have to take classes in teaching methods. If they require a degree in the arts, and you may have to go back to school for it, then you should seriously consider how badly you want to pursue your plan, because art school can cost a lot.

According to, the average salary for a photography instructor in Pasadena is $41,000, which could still vary depending on factors such as experience and location. Knowledge of photography in tandem with multimedia design or graphic design, for example, could fetch higher pay.


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