Should I Become a Broadcaster?
Broadcasters report news stories and typically focus on one entertainment medium, such as radio or television. Job tasks can include everything from production design to anchoring a news broadcast. They may work as on-air personalities, perform voice-overs, or write and direct news stories. Travel might be required, and facing deadlines can be a common stressor in this fast-paced profession.
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree required for most positions|
|Degree Field||Broadcasting, journalism, communications|
|Experience||Experience from working at college newspapers or radio stations may be required; internships can provide beneficial on-the-job training|
|Key Skills||Communication skills, interpersonal skills, ability to work with others, able to maintain objectivity, persistence and stamina: ability to use various software programs to write stories or conduct research|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$37,720|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2015)
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Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
The minimum education required for most entry-level broadcasting jobs is a bachelor's degree. Although employers may prefer candidates who have a communications or journalism degree, broadcasters may be able to find a job with a degree in a related field like political science.
Coursework in a broadcasting degree program may include mass media writing, photography, television production, radio production, and news writing. For students who wish to pursue a specialty, some degree programs offer concentrations in news and editorials, television, or radio.
As a student working towards a career in broadcasting, Completing an internship can be a valuable experience. Most schools that offer a broadcasting or related degree program allow students to complete an internship in their preferred area of emphasis. This may mean working at a local cable access station or radio station. These internships are critical in helping students gain an understanding of what it's really like to work in broadcasting.
Another tip for students is to take a diverse range of electives. Broadcasters are often required to cover all types of news stories, so they might benefit from elective courses covering different cultures, religions, and governments. Having an in-depth understanding of different places and people may be especially important for broadcasters who hope to work with international news stories.
Step 2: Entry-Level Positions
Breaking into the broadcasting business can be challenging, especially since there are fewer TV and radio stations in most major markets in the United States. Students should be prepared to begin their careers as production assistants before working their way up to on-air broadcasting positions. Experience and a good work ethic can be important factors that employers look at before granting interviews. The BLS also noted that the best job opportunities were likely to be found at smaller, local news outlets, so aspiring broadcasters may need to spend a couple years working in a smaller town before they can obtain a position at a large news business in a city.
Step 3: Your Skills and Your Career
The BLS also reports that the job outlook from 2014 to 2024 does not show growth in the fields of journalism and broadcasting. However, those with multimedia experience may benefit from employers' increased use of a variety of media platforms. Broadcasters who are comfortable using Internet news tools may have an advantage over job candidates who don't have skills using these technologies, which may help them secure a position in a larger and higher paying news market.
A career as a broadcaster means entering a tough job market where individuals may need to start work in entry-level positions and in small towns in order to begin a career, and this happens after having achieved a bachelor's degree in journalism or a related field; gained hands-on experience in a real-world environment; and developed skills in writing, researching, reporting, directing, and maintaining the ability to use up-to-date media technologies.