Online Certificate Programs in Journalism

Penn Foster Career School
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  • Education Prerequisites: Online journalism certificate programs typically have an open admissions policy so students of all educational levels are encouraged to enroll. However, some courses within a program may require the completion of prerequisite courses, such as the two fundamental English courses.
  • Professional Prerequisites: None.
  • Average Program Length: 15 credits

Journalism is the process of researching, interviewing, writing, and editing news articles or broadcast packages for newspapers, magazines, and television and radio stations. The occupation is known as the “fourth estate” because of its importance in keeping citizens educated on current events so they can make informed decisions when they vote. Journalists are involved in the daily dealings of local, state, and federal government, and they can help illuminate social problems such as poverty and racism.

Individuals who want to enter this profession should consider enrolling in an online journalism certificate program, which combines training in news writing and reporting with the convenience that comes with distance learning. An online certificate in journalism may be best suited for an individual with a bachelor’s degree who is looking to change careers. It may also be good for someone who wants to brush up on their skills or who is interested in the occupation but doesn’t want to enroll in a four-year degree program.

Completing an Online Certificate Program in Journalism

An accredited online journalism certificate program typically teaches students fundamental journalism and new media skills they’ll need to succeed as successful professionals in what is a rapidly changing industry. In the program, students may enroll in courses such as journalism ethics, news writing, documentary filmmaking, and infographics and data journalism. A journalism ethics course discusses the ethical issues raised by media coverage of events in a democracy. In this class, students will learn about how diversity, conflicts of interest, privacy, deception, accuracy, and fairness affect the way news is covered. Meanwhile, an infographics and data journalism course teaches students how to tell stories visually by converting data to infographics. Students may also learn about data sourcing and the principles and methods of graphic design.

Students in an accredited online journalism certificate program will be graded by their performance on reading assignments, quizzes, projects, and exams. Each course also requires students to apply what they learn to completing assignments that simulate the type of work they’ll be doing professionally. For example, a news writing course may require students to attend a city council meeting and write an article about it, while students in an infographics and data journalism course may need to build their own infographics. Journalism internships are typically coordinated through the school with a local newspaper. However, students can apply for internship opportunities on their own if they’re available in the area they live in.

What Your Online Certificate in Journalism Can Do for You

Graduates of an online certificate program in journalism may be qualified for employment as a reporter, correspondent, or broadcast news analyst at a newspaper, magazine, and radio or television station. These professionals research story ideas, contact sources for interviews, collect data, write articles or appear on television broadcasts, and update stories as new information is made available. Most employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, but some will also consider those with bachelor’s degrees in other fields but who have journalism experience. For example, an individual with a business degree could be well-suited to work as a business reporter because of their expertise. Therefore, a journalism certificate may be a good option for students who are working on or already have their bachelor’s degrees and who want to augment their knowledge with the reporting skills that will help them get hired.

Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts earned a median annual salary of $36,000 in May 2010. Broadcast news analysts earned $54,140, the highest salary in this group, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment in this occupation is expected to decline 8% from 2010 to 2020 because of decreases in newspaper readership and broadcast news viewership. To make up for decreased revenue, many media companies will downsize their labor forces. Yet job opportunities may be available for online and new media sources that use many of the same skills that traditional media uses, including writing, editing, and reporting. However, these projections are no guarantee of actual salary or job opportunity, which is determined by location, employer, and the condition of the economy.

Online Certificate Programs by School

Herzing University
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Herzing University - Herzing's online certificate program offers the flexibility, personalization, and support you need to succeed in today's ever-changing job market. Discover Herzing's hands-on coursework, experienced faculty, and student-first approach which sets them apart from other online universities.

Ultimate Medical Academy
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Ultimate Medical Academy -
Get personalized attention with UMA.
One-on-one tutoring, pre-interview coaching, job search assistance, alumni services—they’re all included in Ultimate Medical Academy’s competitively priced tuition. As a nationally accredited school, we provide quality career training online and at our two campuses in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Let’s talk about your needs, your career goals and how UMA can help you succeed.

Gainful employment information can be found at and includes information on tuition, loan debt, completion, placement and occupations.

Penn Foster

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Penn Foster Career School - Penn Foster Career School offers over 85 online career diploma and certificate programs that can help students prepare for a career path in some of today’s fastest growing fields. If you are looking for training in allied health, business, education, or the trades, then Penn Foster Career School is a great choice. Penn Foster Career School is regionally accredited by the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.