Journalist Education Requirements and Career Information

Programs in journalism typically cover both broadcast and print journalism. Find out about the requirements of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for journalism graduates.

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Essential Information

Journalists analyze and interpret facts and information about local, national and international events and report them to the public. Most journalists participate in bachelor's degree programs to prepare for careers in either print or broadcast journalism. Work experience is important for aspiring journalists, so most degree programs include an internship.

Career Titles Print Journalist Broadcast Journalist
Required Education Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Work experience Work experience
Job Growth (2012-2022)* -14% for reporters and correspondents -14% for reporters and correspondents
Median Salary (2013)*$35,600 for reporters and correspondents$35,600 for reporters and correspondents

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements for Journalists

Journalists, also referred to as reporters and correspondents, have bachelor's degrees in either communications or journalism. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 1,500 institutions in the U.S. offer these degree programs (www.bls.gov).

All journalism majors take courses in editing, journalistic ethics, reporting, feature writing, photojournalism and communications. Additional coursework is determined by whether a student is focusing on print or broadcast journalism. Students either take courses to strengthen their writing skills or to learn radio and television production techniques. Those concentrating in online media learn software and web design skills, as well as how to combine text with graphics, photo and video media. Undergraduate students also benefit from professional internships with media outlets, completed either during the summer or during the semester.

Career Options

Print journalism and broadcast journalism are the two major areas in which a journalist might work. As both text-based and broadcast news is becoming increasingly digitized, both of these career areas have some online media focus.

Print Journalist

There are positions available in print (newspapers and magazines) and online media. Some journalists report on facts alone, while others, such as columnists, create content based on both facts and opinions. Journalists often specialize in certain fields, such as politics, entertainment, sports or weather.

Broadcast Journalist

Broadcast journalists may choose to be either newscasters or correspondents with radio and television news outlets, as well as on the Web. Newscasters are more commonly known as news anchors, who present and introduce news packages. Correspondents conduct research and deliver news reports from the field.

Career Information

According to the BLS, many journalists begin their careers with smaller publications or broadcast networks, often as general assignment reporters assigned to news that is pertinent to that outlet's audience (www.bls.gov). As they gain experience and build a portfolio of reports, they are assigned to more difficult and in-depth stories.

After years of reporting, many journalists go on to become editors, producers, supervising reporters and even station managers and publishers. They may also have the opportunity to advance to larger networks and publications.

Career Outlook

The BLS lists the median annual wage of both reporters and correspondents, including print and broadcast journalists, at $35,600 as of May 2013. Employment in the reporting and correspondence field is expected to decline 14% through the 2012-2022 decade, due to news organizations merging and the decrease in the number of newspaper readers. According to the BLS, employment prospects will be favorable with small local newspapers. The BLS also reports, however, that journalists with training or experience in online print and broadcast media can expect the best job opportunities in this highly competitive field.

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 21 years of age or older and have completed some college or 24 years of age or older and a high school graduate for a Bachelor's degree
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Florida (1 campus)

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • All degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree or higher
    • Post-Master's Certificate degree applicants must have a Masters degree or higher
    School locations:
    • Maryland (1 campus)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    • Master
        • MA in Communication
        • MA in Science Writing

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (1 campus)
    • California (2)
    • Colorado (2)
    • Georgia (1)
    • Michigan (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    Do you prefer online or campus based learning?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Undergraduate applicants must be a high school graduate or have completed GED and completed some college. Master's degree applicants must have a bachelor's or higher.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Minnesota (1 campus)
    • Washington (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor - Digital Media Production
        • Bachelor of Fine Arts - Digital Media Production
    • Associate
        • Associate - Radio Broadcasting

    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • Communication Studies
      • Comparative Language Studies and Services
      • Digital, Radio, and Television Communication
      • English Composition
      • English Language and Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature
      • Journalism
      • Public Relations and Advertising
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Boston University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • Communication Studies
      • Comparative Language Studies and Services
      • Digital, Radio, and Television Communication
      • English Composition
      • English Language and Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature
      • Journalism
        • Broadcast Journalism
        • Print, Broadcast and Electronic Journalism
      • Public Relations and Advertising

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Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics