Disc Jockeys


Education and Training Requirements

High School

You can start to prepare for a career as a disc jockey in high school. A good knowledge of the English language, correct pronunciation, and diction are important. High school English classes, as well as speech classes, are helpful in getting a good familiarity with the language. Extracurricular activities such as debating and theater will also help with learning good pronunciation and projection. Music classes will introduce you to musical styles, techniques, and artists. You should also consider learning a foreign language. If you can speak Spanish or another foreign language, you can apply for jobs at stations that broadcast in a foreign language.

Some high schools have radio stations on site where students can work as DJs, production managers, or technicians. This experience can be a good starting point to learn more about the field.

Postsecondary Training

Although there are no formal educational requirements for becoming a disc jockey, many large stations prefer applicants with a college education. Some students choose to attend a school for broadcasting, taking courses specific to becoming an announcer. However, students should research the school's reputation by getting references from the school or the local Better Business Bureau. Many other hopeful DJs obtain a more general degree in communications. Many disc jockeys today have a college degree.

Although there may not be any specific training program required by prospective employers, station officials pay particular attention to applicants' recorded auditions. Companies that hire DJs for parties will often train them; experience is not always necessary if the applicant has a suitable personality.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There is no certification or licensing required for disc jockeys.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Aspiring disc jockeys can gain excellent experience by working on their high school, college, or community radio station.

Disc jockeys need a strong speaking voice and good diction. They should be levelheaded and able to react calmly even in the face of a crisis. Many unexpected circumstances can arise that demand quick thinking. For example, if guests who are to appear on a program either do not arrive or become too nervous to go on the air, the DJ must fill the airtime. He or she must also smooth over a breakdown in equipment or some other technical difficulty. They should also have a love for radio and a commitment to their listeners. Disc jockeys must be organized in order to juggle all the elements of a broadcast while live on the air.