Radio and television communications professionals work as broadcast and sound technicians, directors and producers, camera operators and journalists. Continue reading to learn more about the career opportunities and academic requirements for radio and television communications specialists.
Careers in radio and television communications include jobs in radio and television broadcasting, journalism or production. Although a bachelor's degree is usually required to pursue a career in radio and television, hiring criteria can vary according to the position. Undergraduate degree programs tend to focus on the technical aspects of radio and television communication, while graduate degree programs emphasize overall production. Depending on the program, your course load may include topics in radio announcing and reporting, digital media, news editing and mass communication theory. You may also receive training in diction or study production techniques and television history. Internships and experiences in student-operated television and radio stations may also be included.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) radio and television professionals must be team players with strong written and verbal communication skills. They should also have the ability to meet deadlines and perform well under pressure. As reported by the BLS, employment opportunities are expected to decline by 13% nationwide between 2012 and 2022 for broadcast news analysts, correspondents and reporters, who earned median annual salaries of $37,090 in May 2012.
A 3%, or slower-than-average, increase in job openings is projected for camera operators, directors and producers, while radio and television announcers will see little or no change in opportunities during the same 10-year period. As of May 2012, announcers and camera operators had median annual salaries of $27,750 and $26,280, respectively; directors and producers earned $71,350. An average growth in employment is expected for broadcast and sound engineering technicians through 2022, who had a median annual salary of $41,200 in May 2012 (www.bls.gov).
Associate degree programs usually provide technical training in camera operation, editing and radio broadcasting. As a qualified graduate, you may find a position as an audio-visual, broadcast, recording or sound engineering technician. Credits may be transferrable to a bachelor's degree program in a relevant field of study, which in combination with experience, can help to prepare you for a job as a television director or producer, announcer, broadcast news specialist or camera operator. Four-year coursework may include topics in film editing and history, digital camera work and lighting technology.
Many colleges and universities include fieldwork as part of their degree programs, such as on-air broadcasting experiences at college or local radio stations. As an aspiring reporter, writer or producer, you'll have the opportunity to conduct news research or organize a radio or television broadcast. If you're interested in a future as a camera operator, you may have the chance to work with film, lighting or video equipment and assemble a portfolio of clips. Often, these clips and experiences can be useful in finding an internship.
Internships can lead to valuable industry contacts, as well as college credits or stipends that can offset some of your tuition costs. According to the BLS, the broadcasting industry is very competitive, so any hands-on experiences in the field may help you obtain the advantage in the job market.