Photographers use digital cameras, computers, mobile communications, and other equipment to capture images. Some specialize in photographing people, while others may specialize in photographing landscapes, merchandise, animals, events, or other subjects. Talented photographers are in demand in many fields. The industries with the highest levels of employment in this occupation are professional, technical and scientific services; radio and television broadcasting; newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers; motion picture and video, and other personal services.
The industries with the highest concentration of employment in this occupation are professional, technical and scientific services; radio and television broadcasting; independent artists, writers, and performers; newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers, and scenic and sightseeing transportation, water.
Colleges, universities, and professional schools also hire skilled photographers to educate the next wave of photojournalists, aerial photographers, fashion photographers, and more. In addition to education institutions, in the State of Texas both independent and salaried photographers can find employment at news agencies, creative firms, photography/portrait studios, research centers, film studios, design firms, art museums, theme parks, and more.
While photographers may find work just about anywhere in the state, Texas’s largest cities may have much more to offer. Consider Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, El Paso, Arlington, Corpus Christi, Plano or Laredo.
Many of the state’s top training programs for photographers are also located in these cities. Just a few include the University of Houston (Houston), Southern Methodist University (Dallas), and Texas Christian University (Fort Worth). Continue reading to learn more about which Texas schools are tops for aspiring photographers and where to find them
Texas Photography Schools
Texas is home to a whopping 252 Title IV degree-granting colleges and universities. To become a Title IV school, the institution must (1) have accreditation recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, (2) be in business for at least 2 years, (3) sign a participation agreement with the Department, (4) grant an associate's degree or higher, and (5) offer a program of at least 300 clock hours in length. Because these schools have met all of the Department’s requirements, they are eligible for federal financial aid programs. This means, even the most expensive Texas schools for photographers are accessible to students with financial need.
Texas A&M University Commerce - Degrees Offered: BFA Visual Communication Arts with an Emphasis in Photography
Southern Methodist University - Degrees Offered: Minor in Photography
University of North Texas - Degrees Offered: BFA Studio Art – Photography, MFA Studio Art – Photography, Photography Minor
Texas Christian University – Degrees Offered: BA, BFA Studio Art with a Photography Focus
University of Houston - Degrees Offered: BS Digital Media with a Photography Focus
Sam Houston State University - Degrees Offered: BFA Art with an Emphasis in Photography
Baylor University - Degrees Offered: BFA Photography, BA New Media - Photojournalism
More Texas Photography related programs to consider:
- Atlanta, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and SCAD eLearning
Employment and Salary Trends for Texas Photographers
Texas is home to 110,390 professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (ADESM) occupations, up from 103,870 in 2013. An impressive 3,330 of these professionals are salaried photographers, down from 3,520 in 2013. Although the population decreased, Texas still has the nation’s fourth highest employment level in this occupation, with the Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX Metropolitan Division listed at number six on the Bureau’s list of metropolitan areas with the highest employment level in this occupation. Salaries are on the rise as well. In 2013, Texas-based photographers earned $31,420. Today, the average salary is $33,400 per year.
It is important to note that the photography industry has more independent workers than salaried workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “more companies contract with freelancers rather than hire their own photographers.” Based on salaries for all independent artists combined, independent contractors may earn an average of $47,180 per year. This means, aspiring photographers can maximize their earnings by freelancing or choosing one of the highest paying industries for photographers. They are:
- Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing ($76,090 per year)
- Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories ($69,230)
- Motion Picture and Video Industries ($67,160)
- Scientific Research and Development Services ($63,530)
- Other Information Services ($61,090)
Despite a decrease in the talent pool in Texas, the future for the photography industry as a whole looks promising. Across the U.S., employment in the photography industry is expected to increase by four percent for the 2012-2022 decade. This means, the industry is set to add 5,900 new jobs in the coming years. It is important to note that digital photographers and photographers with a passion for the latest technology will have the most opportunities.
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