How to become a newspaper journalist
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- specialist courses run by professional bodies
You may find it useful to have a degree in a subject like journalism or English. This will help you develop the skills you'll need as a journalist.
You could also do a postgraduate course in journalism. Some of these are accredited by the Professional Publishers Association.
You'll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course
You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant qualifications include Level 3 Diploma in Journalism or Level 3 Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.
You'll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
Higher apprenticeships relevant to this role include:
- Level 5 journalist
- Level 7 senior journalist
Employers will set their own entry requirements.
You could start as an office assistant or trainee reporter on a local or regional newspaper.
You'll need a minimum of five GCSE grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, or equivalent qualifications. Many recruits have A levels or degree level qualifications.
Competition for jobs is strong, and you'll need to show you've got writing experience. You'll find it useful to have examples of your published work in a portfolio, especially if these include your name as the author.
To build up your experience you can:
- volunteer for student and community newspapers
- write your own blog and have an online presence on social media
- submit articles and reviews to local papers or websites
You can study a range of professional qualifications in journalism, accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). These are available either online or part-time at a training centre.
If you have a degree, you may be able to do a Fast Track NCTJ Diploma in Journalism course offered by National Council for the Training of Journalists.
The NCTJ is working to promote diversity in journalism through its Diversity Fund for eligible journalism students.
Professional and industry bodies
As a journalism student you can apply for student membership of the National Union of Journalists.
You can find out more about working in journalism from the National Union of Journalists.