Journalism Teachers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

To prepare for a career as a journalism teacher—or, in fact, most any other kind of teacher—take a wide variety of college-preparatory classes, including science, history, computer science, English, and journalism. Prepare yourself to be comfortable speaking in front of people by taking speech classes or joining your school's speech or debate team

Postsecondary Training

If you want to be a journalism teacher, your college training will depend on the level at which you plan to teach. All 50 states and the District of Columbia require public high school teachers to have a bachelor's degree in either education or in the subject they teach. Prospective teachers must also complete an approved training program, which combines subject and educational classes with work experience in the classroom, called student teaching.

For prospective college or university professors, you will need at least one advanced degree in your chosen field of study. The master's degree is considered the minimum standard, and graduate work beyond the master's is usually desirable. If you hope to advance in academic rank above instructor, most institutions require a doctorate. Your graduate school program will be similar to a life of teaching—in addition to attending seminars, you'll research, prepare articles for publication, and teach some undergraduate courses.

Other Education or Training

Continuing education classes, webinars, seminars, and workshops are provided by the American Association of University Professors, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Journalism Education Association, Society of Professional Journalists, and other organizations at the state and national levels. Contact these organizations for more information. 

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Journalism teachers and professors might consider becoming certified by the Journalism Education Association. Although it is not required, certification may boost an individual's attractiveness to employers during the job search.

High school teachers who work in public schools must be licensed under regulations established by the state in which they are teaching. If moving, teachers have to comply with any other regulations in their new state to be able to teach, though many states have reciprocity agreements that make it easier for teachers to change locations.

Licensure examinations test prospective teachers for competency in basic subjects such as mathematics, reading, writing, teaching, and other subject matter proficiency. In addition, many states are moving toward a performance-based evaluation for licensing. In this case, after passing the teaching examination, prospective teachers are given provisional licenses. Only after proving themselves capable in the classroom are they eligible for a full license.

Another growing trend spurred by recent teacher shortages in elementary and high schools is alternative licensure arrangements. For those who have a bachelor's degree but lack formal education courses and training in the classroom, states can issue a provisional license. These workers immediately begin teaching under the supervision of a licensed educator for one to two years and take education classes outside of their working hours. Once they have completed the required course work and gained experience in the classroom, they are granted a full license.

College and university professors and high school teachers in private schools do not need to be licensed.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Previous teaching experience (student teaching, etc.) is necessary to become a college or high school teacher. If you want to teach at the college level, it will take several years at the minimum to gain tenure and advance to the rank of professor, and you may need professional experience as a journalist. Many journalism teachers are seasoned pros who move into teaching for a career change or to share what they've learned.

Journalism teachers must respect their students as individuals, with personalities, strengths, and weaknesses of their own. They must also be patient and self-disciplined to manage a large group independently. Teachers should also be well organized, as you'll have to keep track of the work and progress of a number of different students. 

If you aim to teach at the college level, you should enjoy reading, writing, and researching. Not only will you spend many years studying in school, but your whole career will be based on communicating your thoughts and ideas. People skills are important because you will be dealing directly with students, administrators, and other faculty members on a daily basis. You should feel comfortable in a role of authority and possess self-confidence.