What Education Is Required to Become a Journalist?

Find out what type of degree would help you embark on a career in journalism. Read about what you'd learn in a journalism program, and review practical experience opportunities in the field. Get info about the different types of journalists. Schools offering Journalism degrees can also be found in these popular choices.


According to the Dow Jones News Fund, Inc. (DJNF), three out of four college graduates hired for journalism positions in newspapers majored in mass communication or journalism. Many schools offer programs in journalism at both undergraduate and graduate levels. While it's possible for you to land a job as a journalist without a degree, there are aspects of journalism taught in college that may keep you out of legal trouble in the professional world. Some of the things you'll study in a journalism program include:

  • First Amendment studies
  • Ethics in journalism
  • Conducting research and interviews
  • Basic journalistic writing styles
  • Photojournalism

Important Facts About Journalists

Median Salary (2018) $43,490 (for all reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 9% decline (for all reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts)
Work Environment Newsroom, with occasional time in the field
Similar Occupations Announcer, broadcast and sound engineering technician, film editor

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Getting an education is just part of the story. You'll also need experience. You can begin as early as high school by writing for your school paper. Colleges offer positions on their newspapers, and some have broadcast facilities as well. You can investigate internship programs at broadcast and print news facilities of all sizes.

The DJNF (www.newsfund.org) advises that many of the larger news agencies rarely hire students directly from school and that you'll probably fare better by beginning at a smaller, local paper, and then working your way up. The DJNF also says that each journalist position you take can be considered a stepping-stone to your end goal, and breadth of experience is a positive factor in this industry.

Journalist Job Options

Broadcast journalists, also called news anchors, correspondents, and newscasters, typically work for television stations. Some journalists work for print and online newspapers. As a newspaper reporter, you may be called a reporter if you're working on a factual story, or you may be called a columnist if you're working on an opinion-based interpretation of facts and events.

If you're more interested in a cloak and dagger take on journalism, you might find your niche as an investigative reporter. These reporters work for newspapers, magazines, and broadcast venues. They can spend weeks or longer working on individual projects that might even require undercover sleuthing.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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