Journalism Teachers


Employment Prospects


There are approximately 1,072,500 secondary teachers employed in the United States. Journalism teachers make up a small percentage of this number. Although schools are found in rural areas, more teaching positions are available in urban or suburban areas. Journalism teachers also find opportunities in charter schools, which are smaller, deregulated schools that receive public funding.

There are approximately 35,800 postsecondary communications teachers (including journalism professors) employed in the United States. The majority of all college professors are employed in public and private four-year colleges and universities and two-year community colleges. Employment opportunities vary based on area of study and education. With a doctorate, a number of publications, and a record of good teaching, journalism professors should find opportunities in universities all across the country.

Starting Out

While in college and graduate school, prospective journalism teachers should become familiar with their school's career services center to keep abreast of current teaching positions and journalism-related internships available. They should also consider joining associations such as the Journalism Education Association, Investigative Reporters and Editors, and the Society of Professional Journalists. These organizations offer many resources, as well as provide informative meetings and conferences, which can also serve as great networking opportunities.

Prospective high school teachers can use their college career services offices and state departments of education to find job openings. Many local schools advertise teaching positions in newspapers. Another option is to directly contact the administration in the schools in which you'd like to work. While looking for a full-time position, you can work as a substitute teacher.

Prospective college professors should start the process of finding a teaching position while in graduate school. You will need to develop a curriculum vitae (a detailed academic resume), work on your academic writing, assist with research, attend conferences, and gain teaching experience and recommendations. Because of the competition for tenure-track positions, you may have to work for a few years in temporary positions. Some professional associations maintain lists of teaching opportunities in their areas. They may also make lists of applicants available to college administrators looking to fill an available position. These lists are often available on the associations' Web sites. The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, for example, maintains a job list at its Web site, https://www.cupahr.org. Another resource is The Chronicle of Higher Education (https://www.chronicle.com), a newspaper with national job listings that is available in print and online.

Advancement Prospects

As high school journalism teachers acquire experience or additional education, they can expect higher wages and more responsibilities. Teachers with leadership skills and an interest in administrative work may advance to serve as principals or supervisors, though the number of these positions is limited and competition is fierce. In some high school systems, experienced teachers can become senior or mentor teachers. They help newer, less experienced teachers adjust to teaching, while continuing to maintain their own teaching duties. The additional responsibilities of serving as a mentor usually come with a higher rate of pay. Another move may be into higher education, teaching education classes at a college or university. For most of these positions, additional education is required.

At the college level, the normal pattern of advancement is from instructor to assistant professor, to associate professor, to full professor. All four academic ranks are concerned primarily with teaching and research. Some journalism teachers may choose to enter the administrative side of the field. A doctorate is not necessary, though helpful, at two-year colleges. It is an absolute necessity at four-year colleges and universities, as are service on departmental committees, research and publication, and a stellar teaching record. Some positions to consider are college president, dean, and departmental chairperson.

Some journalism teachers choose to leave the field for more lucrative careers in publishing or business. Many maintain a successful writing career running parallel to their teaching career.

Tips for Entry

Subscribe to the Chronicle of Higher Education (https://chronicle.com) to learn about trends in higher education and to access job listings.

Read Communication: Journalism Education Today (http://jea.org/wp/home/for-educators/cjet/) to learn more about the field. 

Conduct information interviews with journalism professors or high school teachers and ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field.

Visit https://images.dowjones.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/107/2017/03/28200713/2005roadtosuccess.pdf to read The Journalist's Road to Success: A Career Guide.

Participate in the Journalism Education Association's Mentor Program to build your teaching skills.