How To Become A Journalist


The Job

The journalistís role has changed radically over the last 20 years. New technology and publishing platforms mean that journalists must be more flexible and multi-skilled than ever. While journalism could once be divided into three broad categories - magazine, newspaper and broadcast - modern journalism cuts across disciplines. It is not unusual for todayís journalist to write blogs, film short video pieces, file reports and tweet - all in the same day. It remains an exciting and challenging career and the skills journalists have always needed, like an enquiring mind, enthusiasm and the determination to get to the truth, are just as important as they always were.

Annual Salary

Journalist Salary

Minimum Education Level

Level: Level - Entry

Minimum Qualifications

Most journalism courses expect you to have 5 GCSEs and two A Levels (or equivalent).

Recommended Qualifications

There are several routes into journalism, including Degrees, fast-track Diplomas and one-year MAs, as well as pre-entry certificates and the new Advanced Apprenticeship in Journalism. Many journalists take a degree in a subject that interests them then learn key journalism skills, like media law and shorthand, on a post-graduate course.

The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) has details of accredited courses and training providers, including short courses and distance learning options. If you would like to work in multimedia broadcast, including TV and radio, you could take a course accredited by the Broadcast Journalism Training Council.

A number of bursaries are available for eligible journalism students who have trouble meeting the cost of training. Further information can be obtained from the National Union of Journalists and the Journalism Diversity Fund.

Average Working Hours Per Week = Varies between 35-55+


Common Working Pattern

Common Working Pattern

Time Taken To Qualify

1-2 years

What Next/Career Development

Experienced journalists can develop their career by specializing in particular areas. You could become an editor, a chief reporter or a specialist writer, such as a sports writer or war reporter. Alternatively, you could move into production or work abroad as a foreign correspondent. Short courses run by the NUJ, NCTJ and BJTC will help you develop your professional skills.

Facts And Figures

73 per cent of qualified journalists are NCTJ-trained*.
256,000 people are employed in the publishing and TV industries**.
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) is the biggest journalistsí union in the world***.
* Source: NCTJ
** Source: Direct Gov UK.
*** Source: NUJ