School Required to Become a Journalist

Journalism is usually offered as an undergraduate and/or graduate course of study. Continue reading for an overview of the programs - including career and salary info - to learn what training is required for a journalist.

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Journalists work for various types of outlets, such as broadcast, print and online media, to inform the public of news and information. A journalist will need to earn a bachelor's degree in journalism or a related field. The following article details the educational requirements and job outlook for a career in journalism.

Essential Information

Journalists investigate and report news stories for all types of media, including newspapers, television and radio. They must be skilled in conducting research for news stories and interviewing key sources. The job includes working closely with a publishing team, including editors and photographers, to create informative stories and meet deadlines.

Career Titles Reporter and Correspondent Broadcast News Analyst
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* -8% -13%
Average Salary (2015)* $46,560 $89,240

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Journalists often work for a particular type of media organization, such as a television or radio station, newspaper, or website. However, newsrooms are increasingly relying on multimedia journalists to publish content on multiple platforms, including radio and television stations, websites, and mobile devices. Multimedia journalists typically shoot, report, write and edit their own stories.

Reporter/Correspondent

Reporters and correspondents inform the public about news and events happening locally, nationally and internationally. They often work for newspapers, magazines, websites, television, radio and Internet news sites.

Broadcast News Analyst

Broadcast news analysts are often hired on a contract basis to provide analyses of the news stories being discussed. Although some broadcast news analysts present weather reports, broadcast meteorologists are a type of atmospheric scientist.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Broadcast Journalism
  • Photojournalism
  • Print, Broadcast and Electronic Journalism

Education Requirements For Journalists

Students interested in becoming journalists can take several educational paths. Undergraduate degrees are the most common, but graduate degree programs are also available.

Undergraduate Programs

A bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as journalism, communications or English, is the minimum degree required to become a journalist. Some aspiring journalists who want to report on a particular subject, such as government affairs, might complete a bachelor's degree in that field and take elective courses in journalism. Students may also choose to double major in journalism and another subject, such as economics or international affairs. Some common undergraduate journalism courses include:

  • Investigative journalism
  • Broadcast journalism
  • Writing for communication
  • Reporting
  • Communication law
  • Field reporting

Internships

While earning an undergraduate degree, journalism students might pursue internship opportunities. Internships provide real-world work experiences with newspapers, magazines or television and radio stations. They also allow students to network with professionals in the field.

Graduate Programs

While a graduate degree is not always required for journalists, earning a professional master's in journalism can help a journalist move from one media to another or broaden their areas of reporting. Additionally, students with a bachelor's degree in another field can complete a master's to begin a career in journalism.

Graduate schools offer several types of master's degree programs for journalists and aspiring journalists. These programs can take 1-2 years to complete and can be found with concentrations in:

  • Public affairs and journalism
  • Investigative journalism
  • Broadcast journalism
  • Interactive journalism
  • Entrepreneurial journalism
  • Magazine writing

Journalists are actively engaged in gathering news and information through interviews and research, and then distributing that information in a concise, meaningful manner to their audiences. A combination of a bachelor's degree in journalism or a related field, along with work experience in the form of an internship, will prepare a prospective candidate for entry into this profession. Graduates who wish to broaden their specialties or depth of knowledge in a particular field may pursue a graduate degree that can usually be completed in 1 to 2 years.

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