How to Become a Photojournalist: Education and Job Training Requirements for Becoming a Photojournalist

Published Aug 11, 2009

RSS Feed

Photojournalists tell stories with pictures. Instead of writing descriptions of a news event, a Photojournalist may provide a set of pictures that convey the same message or idea. Working as a Photojournalist takes both talent and education. A Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism or Visual Communication is a great place to start.

Photojournalist Career Summary

Photojournalists, also called news photographers or visual journalists, take pictures of newsworthy subjects for publication. Photojournalists may be employed by magazines, newspapers or other media outlets. They may be freelancers, selling their photos to news sources. Photojournalists work where news is happening, rarely working in an office. Carrying cameras wherever they go, Photojournalists are always ready to capture interesting images that describe or comment on a situation. Editing and captioning are important parts of a Photojournalist's job. Using the latest photographic technology, Photojournalists edit their pictures to ensure accurate and clear presentation. Photojournalists may use still photography or video.

Education Required to Become a Photojournalist

Photojournalism takes a combination of talent and training. Photojournalists need both an artistic vision and an understanding of how to communicate news effectively to the public. Photojournalists can be self-trained or attend college for training, says the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA, www.nppa.org). A Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with a Photojournalism concentration or a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communications can be a good starting point for learning Photojournalism. These degree programs include courses on photographic techniques, foundations of journalism and ethics in journalism.

Job Training and Certifications Required to Become a Photojournalist

Declines in the newspaper and newsmagazine businesses have made Photojournalism a very competitive field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, reports that there are many more Photojournalists than photojournalism jobs available. Future Photojournalists should have a portfolio of work ready to show prospective employers. This portfolio can be developed while in college and should be constantly updated, says the NPPA. Internships at newspapers or magazines can be entry points into the profession. Professional photographer certifications are available but not required for most Photojournalist jobs. The Certified Professional Photographer credential is offered by the Professional Photographers of America, www.ppa.com. In order for Photojournalists to attend restricted events, they must have press credentials. These credentials, provided by employers, identify a Photojournalist as a working press photographer. Press credentials are also necessary for working in foreign countries, says the Society of Professional Journalists, www.spj.org.

Featured School Choices:

  • Full Sail University

    Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this site.

    Suggested programs:
    • BS - Sportscasting (Campus)
    • BS - Media Communications (Campus)
    • BS - Creative Writing Bachelors (Campus)
    • BS - Sportscasting
    • Master of Science - New Media Journalism
    More information about Full Sail University
  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this site.

    Suggested programs:
    • BS: English and Writing: Journalism
    • Bachelor of Science in Digital Design: Photographic Design
    • MA: Communication
    • MA: Strategic Communication
    • MS: Marketing: Digital Marketing and Advertising
    More information about Liberty University
  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this site.

    Suggested programs:
    • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education
    • Bachelor of Arts in Communications with an Emphasis in Broadcasting and New Media
    • Bachelor of Arts in Communications with an Emphasis in Interpersonal Communication and Human Relationships
    • Bachelor of Arts in Communications with an Emphasis in Political Campaigns
    • Bachelor of Arts in Social Media
    More information about Grand Canyon University
  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this site.

    Suggested programs:
    • Creative Writing, B.A.
  • Bryant & Stratton College

    Bryant & Stratton College responds quickly to information requests through this site.

    Suggested programs:
    • Digital Marketing Specialist Diploma
  • Syracuse University

    Syracuse University responds quickly to information requests through this site.

    Suggested programs:
    • Masters of Communications
    More information about Syracuse University