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.
In the State of Wisconsin, both independent and salaried photographers can find employment at news agencies, creative firms, colleges and universities, 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, Wisconsin’s largest cities have much more to offer. They include Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay. Smaller cities worth considering include Kenosha, Racine, Appleton, Waukesha, Oshkosh, Eau Claire, Janesville, and West Allis.
Many of the state’s top training programs for photographers are also located in these cities. Just a few include Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and Carroll University in Waukesha. Continue reading to learn more about which Wisconsin schools are tops for aspiring photographers and where to find them.
Wisconsin Photography Schools
Wisconsin is home to 84 Title IV colleges and universities. In order 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 art and design schools are accessible to students with financial need.
An impressive number of Title IV schools in Wisconsin offer top-tier programs for aspiring photographers. Scroll through the list below to review Wisconsin’s best schools for aspiring photographers and what they have to offer.
University of Wisconsin Eau Claire – Degrees Offered: BA Art with a Photography Emphasis
Fon du Lac
Marian University – Degrees Offered: BA Photography, Minor Photography
University of Wisconsin Green Bay – Degrees Offered: BA Communication with an Electronic Media or Photography Emphasis
Viterbo University - Degrees Offered: BFA Studio Art with a Concentration in Photography
University of Wisconsin Madison - Degrees Offered: BS, BFA Art with an Emphasis in Photography
University of Wisconsin Stout - Degrees Offered: MFA Design with a Minor in Applied Photography
Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) – Degrees Offered: BFA Photography
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee - Degrees Offered: BFA Photography
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh - Degrees Offered: BFA Fine Arts with 2D Studio (Drawing, Photography, Printmaking)
Carroll University - Degrees Offered: BFA Photography
More Wisconsin Photography related programs to consider:
- Atlanta, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and SCAD eLearning
Employment and Salary Trends for Wisconsin Photographers
Wisconsin is home to 920 salaried photographers, down from 1,030 in 2012. Although the population decreased over the last several years, the Green Bay Wisconsin metropolitan area still has the 8th highest concentration of jobs and location quotients for this occupation. Salaries are on the rise as well. In 2012, the average salary for Wisconsin photographers was $34,300 per year, up from $29,230 in 2002. Today, the average salary in the state is $38,310 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.
Aspiring photographers can maximize their earnings by freelancing or choosing one of the highest paying industries for photographers. They include 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), and other information services ($61,090).
Despite a decrease in the talent pool, 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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