I'm not acquainted with any self-taught lawyers, doctors or nurses and even if I were, I don't think they would qualify as top candidates on my list of individuals who I would dash towards for assistance.
On the other hand, I am familiar with self-taught photographers who on their spare time continue to dedicate endless hours to the craft out of sheer love. Then we have those who carry it out as their livelihood who in most cases have acquired what they know about photography on their own and who probably obtained a degree in a completely unrelated field.
If you want to be a photographer, perhaps you don't necessarily have to attend school and earn a degree. It's not a bad idea if you do and I'm sure you'll acquire a lot of value from it but is it something that's absolutely necessary? I don't know. It's all subjective.
I do believe that if you invest in yourself as a photographer such as attending workshops, finding a mentor, buying books, staying curious, constantly shooting and essentially teaching yourself what you would normally be required to sit in a classroom for, you can pretty much immediately boost the chances of bringing to completion specific goals related to the type of photographer you wish to be.
Photography is such a very personal pursuit. What worked for one person isn't necessarily guaranteed to work for someone else but the least one could have is a strong foundation from which to build on. I'm well aware that a degree will certainly provide you with a basic framework to support the talent you already have with a camera but that may not be the only path to get you where you want to be. There's so many paths to visually and technically educate yourself nowadays.
In fact, there's many professional photographers without a formal education in photography such as David duChemin or Chase Jarvis. Once again, most of them began their careers doing something else and yet somehow eventually discovered who and where they wanted to be found which is behind a viewfinder.
Why am I talking about this? Well, because I've received 1 or 2 emails asking for advice on the subject. I'm probably not the best person to ask because I'm constantly learning as I go along as you but what I can say is that don't let others tell you what process is right for you.
Assuming you're technically knowledgeable in executing what's ask of you in any given situation, I would think that having a strong interest and passion is far more important than the grades you earned in college. Believe it or not, I learned to think more critically all day on an outing with my camera than I have anywhere else due in part to the constant need to re-evaluate changing circumstances such lighting, plans, subjects,lens, settings, positioning, composition, etc.
Steve Girait over at PetaPixel recently published an article entitled 18 Facts of Life for Photography Students and if you scroll down to #7 he stated the following:
Nobody Cares How Good Your Grades Where in School
Honestly, when working as a freelance photographer, nobody cares if you went to school for photography, and even less what your grades were. School is a great place to learn about who you are as a photographer; nobody cares about grades later on. The photography industry is unlike most industries in the way people get hired. When you hire a contractor, do you ask them how they did in college?
In the end, the choice of attending college to pursue photography is up to you and if I could re-do my college years all over again, I would unquestionably have chosen photojournalism as my major but at the same time I wouldn't want to give back measureless hours I've spent on my own learning my camera but most importantly myself.