Online Journalism Degrees 2021

October 12, 2021

reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Journalism Degrees 2021 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Best Online Bachelor's in Journalism Programs Badge

Journalists research, analyze, and present information to the public about newsworthy local, national, and international events. Nearly all media outlets maintain an online presence that supplements their print, TV, or radio platforms. Some companies publish exclusively online. Core activities of journalists include seeking and reporting the truth, acting independently, and being accountable and transparent.

Careers and earning potential for bachelor's in journalism degree-holders vary widely. Annual salaries range from about $30,000 for entry-level applicants to more than $100,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Positions include entry-level staff writers at small news outlets who cover community topics. More advanced positions include senior broadcast journalists who may report and analyze international breaking news. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Questions to Ask Before Deciding on a Journalism School

What kind of jobs can you get with a journalism degree?

Journalism degrees serve as pathways to careers as staff writers, news editors, broadcast journalists, and live broadcast technicians.

How long does it take to get a journalism degree?

Students typically complete undergraduate journalism programs in four years of full-time study. Journalists also earn associate degrees and complete graduate-level programs.

How much do journalists make?

Journalists make a mean annual salary of $66,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Earnings vary depending on the specific job, geographic area, and the candidate's experience.

Are journalists in high demand?

The BLS projects overall employment of journalists to fall 11% from 2019-2029 due to declining advertising spending.

Journalists use creative skills like writing, visual design, videography, and public speaking to present information to print, broadcast, and web-based audiences. They write news stories or broadcast scripts that employ engaging, accurate, and professional language.

These professionals also produce audio and video segments, provide narration for live events, and gather information through interviews and from publicly available records. Journalism professionals can also work as corporate communications or marketing specialists. Most undergraduate journalism majors complete their studies in four years or less. Tuition for online programs ranges from less than $10,000 per year to more than $30,000 for in-person, four-year programs.

The cost of a journalism degree depends on several factors. In-state tuition typically costs less. Online programs may offer lower per-credit costs but require technology fees. Some schools also charge lab fees for accessing the digital broadcasting and production studios students use to hone their skills.

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree

Bachelor's in journalism degree-seekers can use the Affordable Colleges Online calculator tool to help determine the ideal academic program for their situation. To use this tool, you will need to know your income, living expenses, and financial aid information.

Break down your current financial situation, and receive a college tuition estimate you can afford to pay.

How Much Do Journalism Majors Make?

Graduates with a journalism bachelor's degree enjoy a variety of career options. Opportunities include working as a staff writer, who researches and publishes written articles for a media outlet. Journalism program graduates may also work as news producers or editors or as social media planners.

Other careers for journalism program graduates include working as public relations or corporate communications specialists, product marketing managers, and freelance writers. On the low end, entry-level journalists earn an annual starting salary of about $32,000, according to the BLS. The median annual wage is $49,300, and the top 90% of journalists earn $127,370 annually.

Although employment of journalists is projected to decline through 2029, the BLS projects that reporters will also face strong competition for the remaining jobs. Candidates with prior job experience and multimedia journalism experience need an advantage given that news and entertainment publishing continue migrating to digital media platforms.

Courses in Journalism

Most undergraduate journalism programs value practical, hands-on skills. Students typically take a full-time course load that includes multiple journalism-focused courses each semester. Students need to develop and demonstrate their skills in areas such as interview techniques, gathering information using public records, writing scripts for broadcast, using multimedia technology, and public speaking.

Theoretical concepts comprise a core part of the curriculum, which varies by program and school. These courses may include ethics in journalism, legal considerations, and the history of mass communications. Requirements vary by program and school, but students typically complete 120 semester credits to earn a bachelor's in journalism.

[tabs] [tab-item title="Basic Reporting"]

This class focuses on identifying sources; gathering information; and using correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation to write simple news stories for print, broadcast, and online publications. Students learn essential journalism skills such as gathering accurate information and meeting deadlines.

[/tab-item] [tab-item title="Multimedia Reporting"]

In this course, students learn how to combine text, images, audio, and video to tell stories. A key course goal involves giving students experience with the multimedia platforms and technologies used to capture and publish content.

[/tab-item] [tab-item title="Visual Design and Presentation"]

Students concentrating on written or web-based journalism often study the theory and practice of print and webpage visual design. In this class, students learn about typography, photo editing, and graphic design principles.

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Certifications and Licensure for Journalism

Most employers consider job candidates who earned a bachelor's in journalism or mass communication. Some companies looking to fill niche roles may consider applicants with degrees in political science, finance, business, or health. In the U.S., journalists do not need certification or licensure from an accrediting body or organization. However, experience with and certification in professional media technologies benefits job-seeking graduates.

Facebook Certified Community Manager

Facebook, and its digital sibling Instagram, are critical bridges between news content publishers and consumers. The Facebook Certified Community Manager credential, obtained through an online exam, identifies people who know how to build, grow, and sustain an online community in accordance with the platform's policies and regulations.

Adobe Certified Associate

Adobe's industry standard suite of Creative Cloud apps and software, like Photoshop, for editing images, and InDesign, used to design print and digital publications, are tools media professionals use every day. Available through an online exam, this certification demonstrates that holders possess the technical skills relevant to the job.

Microsoft Office Specialist

The Microsoft Office Specialist certification in Excel credential certifies expertise in using Excel spreadsheets to analyze and identify trends from large sets of raw information. That data often becomes the foundation of data-driven stories.

Scholarships for Journalism

Journalism students at all levels enjoy access to scholarships, fellowships, and grants. Some organizations open scholarships to anyone in the journalism field. Other scholarships focus on specific subsets of journalism like photography, while others encourage newsroom diversity.

The Radio Television Digital News Foundation Presidents Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Second-, third-, or fourth-year students pursuing careers in digital, TV, or radio journalism can apply online. Candidates submit a cover letter, resume, work samples, and a letter of recommendation. The Foundation awards two scholarships annually. Recipients may also attend the RTDNF conference.

Amount: $2,500

Rich Clarkson Founders Scholarship of the National Press Photographers Foundation

Who Can Apply: Undergraduate and graduate photojournalism students whose work ethic demonstrates leadership and professionalism may apply. They must be working toward a four-year accredited degree. Applicants submit an academic transcript, resume, cover letter, recommendation letters, essay and examples of work.

Amount: $2,000

Overseas Press Club Foundation Scholarships and Fellowships

Who Can Apply: Undergraduate and graduate students studying at U.S. universities who aspire to work as foreign correspondents may apply. Recipients may work in the foreign bureaus of international news organizations. Applications require a cover letter, resume, and work samples demonstrating a student's interest in global topics such as finance or the environment.

Amount: Varies

Online Bachelor's in Journalism Programs 2021

Austin Community College View School Profile Austin, TX $2010

Students interested in entering careers as reporters and correspondents can pursue an online associate degree in journalism through the Austin Community College District. The program focuses on building skills in reporting, writing, photography and public speaking. Graduates from the online Associate of Arts in Journalism program can continue their studies at a 4-year college or begin their careers in the field in entry-level positions. Students at ACC can apply for financial aid to help pay for this degree.

Nate Delesline III

Nate Delesline III is a Virginia-based writer covering higher education. He has more than a decade of experience as a newspaper journalist covering public safety, local government, business, transportation, and K-12 and higher education.

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