How Long Does Journalism School Take?

A career as a journalist is no doubt one of the most exciting jobs for those who are interested in covering current affairs and in writing in-depth articles about these events. Your work will appear not only in print media but also in digital form with the growing popularity of the Internet as a primary source of obtaining information for a growing number of people these days. If this is the profession that you are thinking of going into, you can expect to be sent right in the thick of things. You will be covering natural disasters, calamities, political events, heinous crimes and stories that capture human interest. This will be a career that will take you from end of the state—or even the world—to another, even putting you in the midst of dangerous situations at times.

Before you can embark on a career as a journalist, however, you will need to go to journalism school. Here, you will learn the basics of writing a news report. Things like the inverted pyramid method of writing news, giving proper citation to your report and writing with accuracy and timeliness are just a few of the things that you will learn in journalism school. In this day and age, journalism programs train students to write for print publications like newspapers and magazines. Now, they have added topics that teach students on how to write for digital media, including writing for websites, blogs and social media networks.

A bachelor’s degree in journalism is the typical requirement for anyone wishing to work for a news and media outfit as a journalist. This typically takes four years to complete. In this program, you can expect to have classes in journalistic ethics, techniques in conducting interviews and ways to do research in addition to discussions on the fundamentals of journalism. Students are also required to get classes in history, political science, economics, English and other liberal arts subjects, in order to give them a well-rounded outlook—an important trait for any aspiring journalist.

If you don’t like to spend a lot of time in school, you can always opt to obtain an associate’s degree in journalism. Some schools offer this program which only takes two years to finish. The advantage of going for this degree is that you can immediately look for work after obtaining your degree. The disadvantage, however, is that many employers still prefer those with a bachelor’s degree, given that all candidates possess similar qualifications.

Whether you decide to obtain a two-year degree or a four-year bachelor’s in journalism, see to it that you hone your skills by working in the school paper and other publications. You should also strive to learn all you can during your internship as this will teach you many things about being a journalist.

If you have plans of teaching journalism to students, obtaining a postgraduate degree is going to be important. A master’s degree in journalism may allow you to teach the subject in community colleges. However, a doctoral degree will increase your chances of being able to teach in universities. A master’s degree takes a year or two to complete while doctoral degrees can take five to six years to finish. Take note, however, that field experience is also going to be equally necessary if you want to land a teaching gig. Thus, it’s best to first work as a fulltime journalist after obtaining your undergraduate degree before proceeding with your postgraduate studies.

Career Spotlight: Journalist

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