What Can I Do With A Degree In Journalism?

"I am interested in a career in Journalism. What can I do with a degree in Journalism? What types of careers are open to Journalism majors in today’s industry? How competitive is the job market? Is any special training required for the job I want?"

asked by Billy B from Las Vegas, NV

While Journalism programs at colleges and universities used to focus primarily on print journalism, many now colleges now offer comprehensive programs in Communications and Media Studies to prepare students for a variety of career opportunities. As print media and newspapers experience declining returns, many Journalism students are seeking careers in broadcast media, advertising, and public relations.

A Journalism degree from an accredited university can help you prepare for a career in various fields of the media. Employers are currently looking for skilled Journalism professionals and communications specialists to fill a variety of job titles. Job titles may include: Web Content Producer, Copywriter, Technical Writer, Grant Writer, Public Relations Specialist, Staff Blogger, Critic, or Editor.

While some of these positions require specialized training, a Journalism degree will provide the necessary foundation for a motivated professional to succeed in the ever-changing field of new media.

Journalism students may want to consider getting a leg up on the competition by pursuing a minor or double major in a specialized field. For example, studying computer science or engineering may help you land a career as a Technical Writer. An aspiring critic will benefit from taking supplemental courses in film or literature, while a hopeful Copywriter will benefit from a comprehensive program related to advertising.

Public Relations is one of the few communications fields that is actually on the rise. Some colleges offer major programs specific to Public Relations, while others include PR as part of the Journalism program. Anyone who is serious about pursuing a career in Public Relations should consider completing the Accreditation Program offered by the Public Relations Society of America. The Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential shows employers that you have the basic knowledge, skills and abilities to succeed as a Public Relations specialist.

As a Journalist, you may either work as a salaried employee or as an independent contractor. A salaried career in Journalism is highly competitive, and jobs are often reserved for those who have the most experience. A freelance writer can work as an independent contractor, often producing content for a number of clients. While a career as a freelance writer may not provide the same stability as a salaried career, it will help aspiring journalists expand their portfolios and gain valuable experience in the field.

Writers interested in covering a specific niche or topic may enhance their portfolios by starting a personal blog that is relevant to their area of interest. Some colleges may even offer Journalism courses dedicated to principles of mastering the realm of new media, offering lessons on social media, Search Engine Optimization, HTML, and Web marketing. If an aspiring journalist can display competence in any of these skills, they will have a better chance of landing a lucrative career in today’s Journalism industry.

Skilled journalists may also find a career in broadcast media as a reporter or news writer. These jobs have become more impacted in recent years. Journalists interested in a new career in broadcast media will likely be expected to start as an intern. Many colleges offer access to internship programs for qualified Journalism students interested in gaining real-world experience in the field.

Career Spotlight: Journalist

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