Do you receive certification?

So, I have been interested in this school for quite a while now. I have been looking at doing the Professional Intensive course, but I always have one question. Do you actually receive a degree or a certificate for completing the 8-month course or would I still have to go to a university to receive a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in photography?


Hi Ethan, welcome to the RMSP Community!

We are a non-accredited trade school and therefore do not provide a bachelor’s or associates degree upon completion of the Professional Intensive program. We do however offer a certificate of completion upon finishing the program.

We chose to be unaccredited for two reasons.

First, accreditation involves a lot of red-tape and bureaucracy. We change and adapt our Professional Intensive program every year to stay relevant to changes in the industry, equipment, business and marketing strategies and more to ensure that it provides the most current education possible. We will even add classes mid-program to build the best program we can. Both of these things would be impossible if we were an accredited program.

Second, an official degree in photography really won’t help you in any way when looking for a job. Most photographers are freelancers and own their own businesses. Those that do decide to work for someone else are rarely if ever asked if they have a degree in the hiring process.

I hope that makes sense! Feel free to ask any other questions you might have and I would be happy to help!

1 Like

Hello Ethan,
Just wanting to reach out and offer to answer any questions you may have. As a former student I would be happy to assist. Although the program has changed a bit since I attended in 2014 (it’s even longer and more extensive now), I came away from the program with the skills to step in to the professional world. It’s really structured so that you get can as much out of it as you want. The staff is extraordinary (and no, they aren’t paying me to say that). :slight_smile: As a graduate I have an entire ‘family’ of people to turn to when I need advice or guidance with anything having to do with business, photography or technical problems. Good luck with your decision. I also researched many different programs before deciding on RMSP. I’m not sure how this site works or how you would reach me. Tell Bob McGowan you have my permission to contact me personally via email.
Christal Steele

Hi Ethan,

I’d add that a traditional Bachelor’s degree in photography will get you almost nowhere, unless you go through to a MA or MFA, which would set you up to teach photography at the university level, and that’s about it.
In the 20 years I’ve been in the field, I’ve never been asked where I went to school (back in 2000) nor has any of my hiring processes required showing any certification of any kind. Sure, it won’t hurt to have some certification, but you have to balance the cost of it and if it’s worth it to your business objectives. What clients wanted to see was my portfolio - whether it’s a website or print portfolio, or both. Word of mouth is also huge in this field. In the portrait and wedding world, having great SEO on your website drives traffic to you and using social media to drive traffic is necessary, too. But ultimately, the college course I once took in 1995 in photography was a near-total waste of my time for really learning photography compared to a focused program like what RMSP offers.

Hope that helps!