Students in journalism associate degree programs must be self-motivated, creative, and willing to follow potential story leads since hands-on reporting, editing, and writing work is part of the program. Graduates go on to enroll in higher-level degree programs leading to reporter and correspondent careers. In fact, some associate degree programs are intended to prepare students for transfer to a 4-year bachelor's degree program in journalism.
In most cases, students are required to hold a high school diploma or the equivalent for admission. Some schools, though, consider applications from qualified high school students or individuals without a high school diploma or its equivalent. High school students who take additional classes or participate in clubs related to writing and political science may be more prepared for journalism degree programs than individuals without the background. Once accepted, most programs require students to participate actively in student media organizations, such as the school newspaper.
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Associate of Political Reporter Degree
Courses are designed to prepare students for work in media outlets including newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and the Internet. Students learn how to gather reliable information, conduct interviews, and write newsworthy articles. Common coursework includes:
- News writing and reporting
- Multimedia reporting and editing
- Writing features and opinion pieces
- Writing broadcast news
- Professional ethics in journalism
Employment Outlook and Salary Statistics
Information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that between 2014 and 2024, open positions for news analysts, correspondents and reporters were expected to decrease by 9% (www.bls.gov). As larger media conglomerates face economic issues and reduce the number of reporter positions, the BLS pointed out that reporters may find more job openings with smaller media outlets, such as local newspapers, niche magazines, and local broadcasting agencies.
Although the BLS does not have specific salary information for political reporters, as of May 2015, the BLS indicated that reporters and correspondents earned an annual median salary of $36,360. The states that paid reporters and news correspondents the highest annual average salaries during that same year included the District of Columbia ($77,870), New York ($62,980), Georgia ($58,250), Maryland ($57,490), and Massachusetts ($55,660).
Continuing Education Information
While associate degrees in journalism can prepare students to become reporters, the BLS stated that the majority of employers often prefer to hire applicants who hold a bachelor's degree related to journalism or another specialty field, such as political science. Individuals who want to become political reporters may need to take additional coursework to become familiar with this particular news category. Some 4-year bachelor's degree programs in journalism cover political reporting techniques, but taking courses in political science may better prepare students for this profession. Education options beyond the bachelor's degree level that may include courses in political reporting include master's degree programs in journalism or political science, which can take about two years to complete.
Students interested in becoming political reporters can earn an associate degree in journalism to prepare for a journalism bachelor's degree program. Graduates will have mastered basic writing, reporting, and editing skills.