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2020 Journalism Degree Guide

Journalists need to be up to date on current events and have a nose to sniff out a story. Curiosity and good investigative skills are necessary. If this field piques your interest, consider majoring in journalism.

Journalists have the ability to investigate stories, interview sources, and share this information with readers, viewers, and listeners. As a journalism major, you will receive a well-rounded education and learn everything you need to know about transferring information through all types of media outlets. Not only will you take classes in writing and editing, but you will be educated in history, science, professional ethics, libel, and culture. Journalists cover a wide variety of topics and must do so fairly and correctly.

For those who are interested in television, there is the option to concentrate in Broadcast Journalism or you can learn to tell your story through pictures with a degree in Photojournalism.

Journalism Degrees Decreasing

#75 Most Popular Major
15.9k Degrees Awarded
-4.0% Increase in Graduates

Journalism was the 75th most popular major in the 2017-2018 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 15,914 degrees in this year alone. This 638 less than the prior year, a decrease of 4.0%.

The United States has 342 different schools where you can get a degree in journalism. Our 2020 Best Colleges for Journalism ranking analyzes 183 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for journalism students. Explore this or one of our many other custom journalism rankings further below.

Journalism Degree Requirements

Journalists love to write. They are always working on a new story to provide the public with information. This career is best suited for people who are detail oriented and enjoy research. You must cover every detail of breaking stories and ensure all information is shared and accurate. A career in journalism also requires a strong sense of social perceptiveness and a constant awareness of current events.

News can happen at any time. Although journalists work full time, work hours are not always consistent. You may have to work late hours or on weekends to make a deadline or report a breaking story.

The best way to get involved in journalism is through experience. Get involved with your campus newspaper, news studio, or radio station. This will give you the opportunity to write your own articles and sharpen your skills before joining the job force. Internships are also a great way to gain experience. Working at a local news outlet will teach you about real reporting and give you an advantage when trying to find a job after graduation.

Getting Accepted Into a Journalism Program

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. Specific journalism careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Journalism Degree Types

There are various different levels of journalism degrees. You can spend many years getting as high as a research / scholarship based doctorate's in journalism to something that takes less time like a first year certificate. How long it takes to complete some common journalism degree levels is shown below.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to journalism, with approximately 52.7% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for journalism workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 52.9%
Master’s Degree 11.8%
Some College Courses 11.0%
High School Diploma 8.9%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 6.3%

About 70.5% of workers in careers related to journalism obtain at least bachelor's degree. View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in journalism careers have.

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The education level required is different depending on the journalism career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for Journalism Majors

Average Number of Jobs
$31k Average Starting Salary
-0% Decline Job Outlook 2016-26

A degree in Journalism leads to many possible careers in news reporting. Options include trade magazines, news stations, local or national newspapers, Internet news sources, or working as a freelance writer. Some journalism majors don't go into news reporting and instead pursue careers in other communications areas, such as public relations or even advertising.

Steady Demand Projected for Journalism Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your journalism degree?

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to journalism.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Writers and Authors 141,200 7.6%
Photographers 139,000 -5.6%
Editors 125,600 -1.4%
Reporters and Correspondents 40,200 -10.1%
Film and Video Editors 40,000 17.0%

Journalism Degree Salary Potential

Recently graduated journalism students earned an average of $31,042 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $5,200 to as high as $48,000. As you might expect, salaries for journalism graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.

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Highest Paid Journalism Careers

Salaries for journalism graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers journalism grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Broadcast News Analysts $91,990
Film and Video Editors $86,830
Communications Professors $78,090
Writers and Authors $73,090
Editors $69,480

Getting Your Journalism Degree

With over 897 different journalism degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased journalism school rankings to help you with this.

Journalism is one of 5 different types of Communication & Journalism programs to choose from.

Majors Similar to Journalism

Related Major Annual Graduates
Communication & Media Studies 68,023
Public Relations & Advertising 19,507
Radio, Television & Digital Communication 14,960
Communication & Journalism (Other) 1,920
Publishing 246

View All Journalism Related Majors >

References

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