Professional Development

Professional Development


Earn some serious street cred with the Certified Professional Photographer program.

Why bother?
Basically, being certified assures the general public that you are a professional. Plus, you get the hoity-toity title of Certified Professional Photographer (CPP)!

That's important because certification is a term that consumers and businesses understand. Everyone knows that certified electricians, plumbers, contractors, etc., are Certified Professional Photographermore reliable than those who aren't, right? So while consumers may not know a lot about professional photography, they DO know that certification should ensure professional-quality goods and services.

It also gives you a competitive edge (in other words, a reason to trust you over the studio that their cousin's friends' brother-in-law runs across town.) After all, you will be one of less than about 8% of professional photographers (around 1,725 in the world) who have attained certification. That's certainly something to help you shine.

What does it take?
There are multiple steps required to become a Certified Professional Photographer (ah, that has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?). Those steps help you polish your technical and artistic skills, and lucky for you, PPA can help with all of them:

  1. Passing a comprehensive written exam measuring your technical expertise
  2. Successfully submitting your work to a panel of judges for review & approval
  3. Renewing credentials every 5 years with continuing education, submitting work for critical evaluation, or retaking the certification exam

For full details, visit the certification section of

Merit & Degree Program

Since 1937, PPA degrees have served as a sign of professional development. In fact, these degrees carry some serious weight—both with consumers and your peers. Along with being a symbol of your accomplishment, PPA degrees can also help you:

  1. Continue learning and growing.
  2. Market yourself.
  3. Justify & explain your prices.
  4. Demonstrate your commitment & expertise.

What does it take?
For starters, you've got to be a PPA member to even participate in the Merit & Degree program. And to get a degree, you need to accumulate 25 merits (or points). You can earn those merits through things you might already be doing to grow your skills and network, like competition, education and teaching!

Intrigued? Want to know more about earning these degrees and making use of them? We created a special place just for you! Visit the degree section for the juicy tidbits.

International Photographic Competition

Our International Photographic Competition (IPC) is a great way to improve your skills and earn merits towards a PPA Master of Photography degree. This oh-so-prestigious PPA competition receives thousands of image entries annually.

Watch for the IPC rules released each year in the spring.

Business Consulting

You're good at taking pictures, without a doubt. But seeing the big picture, in terms of finances and business? That can be more challenging.

Business Consulting give you access to financial and business services tailored to fit your needs. PPA's Business Consulting can provide you with expert, personalized advice from top business consultants and live educational workshops designed to get you organized, help you keep more money and stay on track. And that help? It's only for PPA members!

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