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Education Requirements for Career in TV

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a TV professional. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and training to find out if this is the career for you.

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A career in television can begin with a high school diploma. High school graduates work in television advertising sales or as a broadcast or sound technician. A bachelor's degree, and in some cases an internship for experience, is required for careers as a reporter, correspondent, broadcast analyst, radio or television announcer, producer or director.

Essential Information

TV professionals include actors, announcers, reporters, producers, station managers and technicians. There are a wide variety of jobs in TV, and most require or benefit from college education.

Career Announcer Reporters/Correspondents/Broadcast News Analysts Ad Sales Agent Producers/Directors Broadcast/Sound Technician
Required Education Bachelor's Bachelor's High school diploma Bachelor's High school diploma
Other Requirements Internship Production experience College degree for advancement Master's for advancement Bachelor's for advancement
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) -11% -9%* -3% 9%* (all producers/directors) 7%*
Median Annual Salary (2015) $30,960* $37,720* $48,490* (all ad sales agents) $68,440* (all producers/directors) $41,780*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

TV Announcer Careers

Television announcers convey program information, introduce programs and may record public-service announcements. They may have general duties, such as providing news and weather information, reading commercial announcements or commenting on sports events. In addition, at small, public stations, they may have fundraising duties. Some host political, finance or sports shows which require advance research and preparation of interview questions.

Educational Requirements

Announcers are expected to have a pleasing appearance, a characteristic style and, in most cases, college training. Announcers usually have bachelor's degrees in fields such as broadcasting or mass communications.

In addition to formal schooling, aspiring TV announcers should get as much paid and unpaid experience as possible. Opportunities can be found through high school and college TV stations and internships. Announcers often start out as production assistants, researchers and reporters before getting the chance to go on-air.

TV News and Program Production Careers

TV news professionals include news anchors or newscasters, broadcast news analysts, reporters, weather reporters, assignment editors, news directors and assistant directors. TV reporters research and present news stories on the air or prepare stories that are read on the air by others. Correspondents are reporters assigned to cover news in other locations, such as in the nation's capital or a war zone. Broadcast news analysts interpret events. News anchors generally work in TV studios, presenting stories and introducing clips or live broadcasts.

Assistant TV producers may perform multiple duties, including clerical work, research, scheduling and even studio camera operation. Video editors use editing software to compile footage for news stories and other broadcasts. Producers are responsible for assembling casts and props and choosing scripts; their choices often dictate what is seen in the final product on TV.

Educational Requirements

These jobs generally require experience and a 4-year college degree, usually in a field such as communications or journalism. A program leading to a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism may stress critical and ethical thinking. Course topics may include an introduction to mass communications, broadcast writing, news-gathering techniques, speech, media law, visual communications and sound production.

Those interested in production can take a program in TV production in school, sometimes offered with a news concentration. In addition to covering topics in communication and reporting, these programs give students the chance for hands-on experience editing video and producing a recorded broadcast in the school studio.

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TV Advertising Sales Careers

Those who sell TV ad time are called advertising sales agents or account executives. They work out deals with advertisers to sell commercial time during programming and seek out new clients. They may also produce TV commercials for those who buy TV ad time.

Educational Requirements

Entry-level ad agents may be able to find work with a high school diploma, but higher-level jobs typically need a college degree. Appropriate majors include business, advertising, marketing or mass communications. Many of these workers gain experience by starting out in smaller markets before moving to larger stations.

TV Management Careers

General managers, who are also called station managers, are responsible for all the activities of TV stations. They may oversee all the workers at a station and may be supported by large staffs of administrative workers.

Educational Requirements

This field requires extensive TV station experience combined with a college degree in mass communications or journalism. Those interested in the field may want to find programs that incorporate business management classes. It's also possible to get a 2-year advanced master's degree in TV management. Such a program may focus on media law and ethics, monitoring audience response, news management and TV production.

Technical TV Careers

Technical TV jobs involve understanding and operating the complex equipment used in TV stations. Television camera operators use studio or mobile cameras to record broadcasts. Control engineers are in charge of maintaining smooth, continuous programing. Technical directors oversee the technical staff.

Educational Requirements

While it may be possible to get a technical job at a TV station with a high school diploma and short-term, those who want to be in the best competitive position may find it important to get a 4-year degree in a field such as engineering or broadcast technology. One reason is the increasingly complex nature of TV broadcasting equipment and the need to understand computer networking. Those who want to move into managing technical departments will need bachelor's degrees.

Job Outlook

The BLS predicts that the number of jobs for reporters, correspondents and broadcast analysts will experience a 9% decline between 2014-2024. A 14% decline is expected in the number of jobs for radio and television announcers during the same time period. Advertising sales careers will decline by 3% from 2014-2024. Although the number of broadcast technicians is expected to decline by 6%, increases of 12% in the field of audio and visual technicians and 8% for sound technicians are expected, and a 9% increase in positions for directors and producers is anticipated during this same time period.

Depending on their position, TV professionals earn a median annual salary that ranges from $30,960 for announcers to $68,440 for producers and directors.

Television careers include advertising sales, reporting, broadcast analysis, or working as a broadcast or sound technician, producer or director. It's possible to begin a career in television after graduating high school, although some fields require a bachelor's degree. Although a decline in the number of jobs is expected for reporters, correspondents, broadcast analysts, advertising sales and radio and television announcers, the number of jobs for audio and visual technicians, sound technicians, producers and directors will increase through 2024.

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