Carey spent almost 20 years in the media prior to teaching, having worked with United Press International (UPI), the Brotherhood Commission and at a variety of newspapers. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, St Louis Post-Dispatch, Ft Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Times Herald, Boca Raton News, Shelby Star, Chronicle of Higher Education, TheCommission, OnMission, Facts and Trends, Christianity Today, and Charisma.
While at the Brotherhood Commission, a Southern Baptist Convention mission agency, he served as editor of Missions Today, the men's magazine. He traveled extensively during his time as editor, covering the Rwandan refugee crisis and the Oklahoma City Bombing.
He is active with several photojournalism groups, serving as Director of Region 6 of the National Press Photographers Association, a board member of Christians in Photojournalism, and an organizer of the Southwestern Photojournalism Conference.
He did his undergraduate work in journalism at the University of Washington, received his masters in journalism from the University of Memphis and his Ph.D. from Regent University specializing in photojournalism.