I've been a portrait photographer for 12 years and I used my photography business and experience to pay for my college degree. I own my own business as a natural light photographer, and I've also worked studio jobs, and taking school portraits for a national company.
While I don't have a degree in this field specifically, it's helped me tremendously in job searches in addition to being something I enjoy doing.
I would look into community colleges in your area to get an itemized list of recommended classes. If you haven't had the chance to try it out yet I'd recommend a community college to try and take some classes before going to an Arts school (as they tend to be very expensive to attend).
While I was in high school I photographed at every opportunity I could, and also interned with several wedding photographers. Part of photography is having an "eye" for it, or understanding composition. The second biggest thing is understanding your light. Things you need to understand in addition to knowing and being comfortable with your camera. One of the best things I did was intern with professionals (I assisted on sessions as well as helping with edits) and the hands on experience really helped me to understand areas where I was weaker or needed more work. I would recommend taking an editing class if it's available. I was able to take an intro to adobe illustrator, adobe photoshop, Video editing with Final cut/ premier and a digital communication/design class. Those skills I've used in all of my jobs post college, as well as in my own creative projects with photography. Hope some of this helped!
Most professional photographers do not need a college degree. But, they have to have a thorough knowledge of how a camera works and how to use that knowledge to produce images that meet a clients expectations. There are plenty of books on digital photography that can get you started on your knowledge journey and most are available used.
You will need to invest in a DSLR camera and lenses. There are lots of good used cameras to get you started. I suggest shooting what interests you and studying the work of pros who shoot similar images.
I consider photography to be a lifelong learning experience. Best of luck with your journey.
I also have an interest in photography and it is one of my biggest hobbies. I am inferring from your question that you are thinking about a career in Photography? I know several professional photographers who did not go to college although they did take a lot of training. Since you are a beginner, I would recommend finding a basics class. I joined a free online photography course called "A Year with my Camera". I am not sure if there is an age restriction, so you would want to check that out. The course is a series of emails that are sent to you about the basics of photography. The emails are free, however, workbooks and such have a cost and can be found on Amazon among other places.
I believe that photography is like most artistic endeavors. Knowing the basics is about half of what you need to be successful. The rest is a combination of practice and taking risks. As an artist, it is important for you to find your voice. And that can entail considering how you want to share your photography. Do you want to report on the news? Do you want to do fine art, wedding, or portrait photography? Knowing where you want to go can make some of your choices a little bit easier. Even within some big categories, there are subsections. Like Portrait photography - you could be a person who takes the kids school photos or you can work with businesses or famous people to do headshots. Or you could provide photos for marketing campaigns where you are taking pictures inside retail spaces.
All in all, photography is about keeping up on your skills. Are you taking photos every day and really thinking about how good they are? Are you trying to take different kinds of photos even the ones that make you uncomfortable? I struggle with taking pictures in low light. Just can't seem to make it work but I keep trying.
Hopefully some of this was the information that you were looking for.