Journalism training in the UK
Journalism is an exciting and challenging career - no one day is the same as the next. Find out more about studying journalism in the UK and what the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) can do to support your studies and career prospects after graduating.
Journalists know the news before anyone else and they have reports filmed and stories written before most people are even aware of the event.
Journalism in the 21st century is fast-changing and full of opportunity. Journalists today need to be able to work across all media platforms and ensure that they produce accurate and engaging work to tight deadlines.
“The NCTJ qualification is trusted by employers because editors and industry professionals have direct input into NCTJ syllabuses and examinations”
Training to be a journalist in the UK
Trainee journalists, photographers and photojournalists usually start a career in a news organisation, which could be a small newspaper, niche magazine or tiny cable channel or a large regional daily, top consumer title or national television company.
Editors need trainees who can hit the ground running and produce quality news content immediately and the best way to gain the multimedia skills to succeed, is on a course accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). The NCTJ qualification is trusted by employers because editors and industry professionals have direct input into NCTJ syllabuses and examinations.
There are two levels of journalism qualification provided by the NCTJ, a pre-entry qualification that can be studied on one of the accredited courses around the UK or via distance learning, and a senior qualification that trainee journalists study once in employment.
Diploma in journalism
This is the qualification editors look for when recruiting trainees. Students can train to become reporters, sub-editors or videojournalists through the course.
To gain the qualification they must complete five core modules, in reporting, shorthand, media law, public affairs and a multi-media portfolio of work, and an additional two specialist options. These can be selected from production journalism, media law court reporting, sports journalism, videojournalism for online and broadcast journalism.
There are over 80 accredited courses around the UK offered by 41 different colleges, universities and commercial providers. Students can choose to study fast-track courses, academic year courses, apprenticeships, undergraduate degrees and postgraduate qualifications. For those unable to attend a course, the NCTJ also offers the option of distance learning.
National Qualification in Journalism
This is the professional qualification for senior journalists, press photographers and photojournalists and sub-editors. It is taken by hundreds of journalists each year and is made up of the following sections: Newspaper Practice, News Report, News Interview and Logbook. Students must have the diploma to be eligible and must have worked in a newsroom for at least 18 months.
What does the NCTJ do?
Founded in 1951, the National Council for the Training of Journalists is a registered charity dedicated to providing a world-class education and training system for journalists in the UK. The NCTJ is the contact point for those looking for a career in journalism and provides advice to thousands of aspiring and current journalists.
Potential students interested in studying journalism in the UK can view a list of the all the accredited courses, and read more information about both training and careers, on the NCTJ website - www.nctj.com
Provided by the NCTJ (2011, updated 2016)