The Paths to Becoming a Journalism Teacher

Q. I’m interested in moving into journalism education, most likely at the high school or community college level. Although I have about 12 years of professional experience as a reporter and editor, I only have a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

I know that teaching job requirements vary from school to school, but I’m thinking of pursuing an online master’s degree in journalism education. I’ve looked at a few programs from reputable universities with well-respected j-schools.

Do you think this type of degree would be worth pursuing? Would there be a stigma about doing it online instead of on a traditional campus? And do you need to specify that a degree was earned online when you present it on your resume?

Many thanks,

Amanda

A. You have more reporting to do.

First, though, you have chosen some good areas to look at. Community college enrollments are booming as people return to school, and demographics are increasing the need for K-12 teachers.

Your choice of degree is more problematic.

Colleges and universities vary in their requirements for faculty. For some university positions, a master’s degree won’t even get you interviewed. The requirements are not as stringent at community colleges, so check by talking to people at your target institutions.

High schools do not require master’s degrees but may require a secondary teaching certificate and special certification in journalism. Again, ask.

If your reporting tells you that you need a master’s degree, ask again whether the kind of online degree you want to pursue will qualify you. Online education is growing rapidly in almost every respect.

E-mail Joe for answers to your career and job-hunting questions.

Coming Friday: Find out where journalists go when they leave the industry.

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