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What Kind of Education Is Needed to Be a Broadcaster?

A degree in radio or television broadcasting typically covers broadcasting history, technical production, communication, marketing and business. Find out about the requirements and curriculum of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for graduates with degrees in broadcasting.

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Essential Information

A professional broadcaster can work either in radio or television markets, which may also include streaming audio or video live over the Internet. Though broadcasters are often thought of only as those who read the news, broadcasting is a profession that requires many different skills. Therefore, education programs for this field cover a diverse range of broadcasting topics. Many radio and television companies offer highly competitive internships for undergraduates interested in on-the-job training before they graduate. It's recommended that students seeking employment in these industries seek out those opportunities to help get their foot in the door before graduation.

Career Radio Broadcaster Disc Jockey News Anchor
Required Education Bachelor's degree Associate's or bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree, postgraduate degree (recommended)
Other Requirements Strong speaking skills Strong speaking skills Completion of a television broadcasting internship (recommended)
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 0%* (for all radio and television announcers) *0% (for all radio and television announcers) -14%* (for all reporters and correspondents)
Median Salary $29,020* (for all radio and television announcers, 2013) $31,513** (2014) $55,595** (2014)

Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com

Radio Broadcaster Education

A radio broadcaster normally works from a studio, and duties may include reporting the news or weather, disk-jockeying or sharing public service announcements. On-air radio personalities often work their way up from sound technician or radio producer positions.

Although advanced degrees may be available in related fields such as broadcast journalism, radio-specific broadcasting programs are most often found at the associate's degree or certificate level. Most radio broadcasting programs provide an overview of radio history, theory and practice. Students also learn about acoustics and the science of sound. Many schools operate an affiliated or student-run radio station that broadcasts either live on the air or via streaming audio over the Internet. These venues give students the opportunity to gain valuable real-world experience in a learning environment.

Aspiring radio broadcasters are often encouraged to learn multiple angles and avail themselves to a variety of employment opportunities. Throughout 1-4 years of undergraduate schooling, they are taught technical production, communications, marketing and business skills. They also practice directing, producing and hosting radio programs. Through comprehensive training, an education in broadcasting may prepare graduates to become on-air personalities, operations managers, producers, program directors, sound editors, recording engineers or radio commercial copywriters.

Television Broadcaster Education

Television broadcasting is a demanding and multi-faceted profession that attracts a great deal of competition. Therefore, television broadcasters must be highly skilled in a range of broadcasting applications. Most undergraduate broadcasting programs cover a wide range of skills such as audio and video production, copywriting, production planning, film editing and camera handling. Students aspiring to be on camera must also develop the necessary speaking and acting skills.

Education for television broadcasters is more widely available but also more specialized than for radio broadcasters. Television broadcasters are normally part of either a technical team or a news team, but rarely both. Often, those in the editorial or news team pursue a degree in journalism or broadcast journalism, while those interested in production receive a video production or multimedia degree. Some schools may offer one degree program with various concentrations or tracks to help prospective broadcasters specialize in their own professional interests.

Television broadcasting degrees typically result in certificates of completion, associate's degrees or bachelor's degrees. However, many news anchors are expected to have graduate degrees in journalism or broadcast journalism. Doctoral degrees with a focus on communication may be available for those who are interested in teaching. Colleges with dedicated television broadcasting programs often have campus-based television stations or studios where students may practice their respective roles.

Job Outlook

Radio and television broadcasting is a highly competitive field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated little to no growth in job opportunities between the years 2012 and 2022 for all television and radio announcers, which includes disc jockeys. News anchors have an even slower reported job growth of -14% during the same timeframe. Payscale.com reports that disc jockeys made a median salary of $31,513 in 2014, while television news anchors made a median salary of $55,595.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics