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The benefits of studying an NCTJ-accredited course

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The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) provides a world-class education and training system that develops current and future journalists for the demands of the ever-changing media industry. In order to provide this education, the NCTJ accredits journalism courses across the UK, at universities, colleges and independent training centres. NCTJ accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in journalism and is recognised throughout the media. By studying an NCTJ-accredited course, you’ll be opening the doors to whole range of careers in the media sector.

Our courses

Here at the University of Sunderland, we offer the following courses that are accredited by the NCTJ:

We caught up with Emma Robinson, Accreditation Manager at the NCTJ to learn more about the benefits of studying an NCTJ-accredited course:

What are the benefits of studying an NCTJ-accredited course?

“One of the main benefits of studying an NCTJ-accredited course is employability. Journalism graduates who have studied NCTJ-accredited degrees are already more appealing to employers who are looking for multi-skilled recruits. They already know the fundamentals of journalism and can operate to professional standards so by having the NCTJ diploma under your belt it really sets you apart from the rest and shows that you’ve got the knowledge, skills and aptitude to succeed in the newsroom. Some employers even specify in job adverts that they want graduates who have the NCTJ diploma in journalism.

By studying an NCTJ-accredited degree and gaining the NCTJ diploma, you’re also eligible for the next level qualification – the National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ). As a trainee journalist, by passing the NQJ, you’ll fast-track to achieve that senior level status and a welcome pay rise!

Finally, if you study an NCTJ-accredited course you’ll get a lot of support from the NCTJ. There are lots of online learning resources you can access, including sample exams. We also invite student representatives to a student council every year, a great networking event where they can communicate their views of the NCTJ and meet with senior figures from the industry.”

How practical is an NCTJ-accredited course?

“You’ll be treated as a trainee journalist from day one and expected to get out there and do the job. You’ll have to find news stories by reporting on patch, make contacts, write copy, record films or podcasts and delve further into social media and analytics.

In addition to the core journalism skills taught on an NCTJ-accredited course, you’ll also have opportunities to gain specialist skills in broadcast journalism, sports journalism, video techniques, digital developments, photography, shorthand and more.”

How can I tell if a course is accredited by the NCTJ?

“You can look on our website where we have a list of all the courses we accredit. We’ve got all the universities listed that offer those courses, and a list of the different courses too. You can also look at a university’s journalism course pages to see if they mention the NCTJ accreditation – they will often put our NCTJ logo on there as well.”

The NCTJ offers a series of free masterclasses. Can you tell us more about them?

“The Journalism Skills Academy is an online platform where prospective and current journalists can develop their skills through a series of free learning resources. We offer a wide range of masterclasses, including court reporting, media ethics, sports journalism and interviewing techniques. We work with brilliant contributors from the industry as well.

There’s also quizzes to test your journalism knowledge and helpful tips about how to pitch to commissioning editors. It’s a really interesting platform to get some introductory tips and skills.”

What sort of careers are available now in journalism?

“The world of journalism is expanding more than ever before, especially with developments in digital journalism and social media. There are more careers out there than ever before and roles that have expanded too. Reporters can now be expected to work across different platforms; back in the day you might work on print, and TV would be completely separate but now you’ll work across multiple platforms, including print, websites, social media, plus TV and radio too. So, reporters are now expected to have a whole host of skills, such as understanding audience engagement and how to keep audience engagement online, creating videos, podcasting and much more.

The NCTJ has an annual careers guide that we create every year all about the different types of careers out there and includes some tips about how to get a head start, you can download a copy of this from our website.”

Find out more

To find out more about the NCTJ and NCTJ-accredited courses, check out the NCTJ website. You can also learn about the Journalism Diversity Fund, which supports people from diverse backgrounds. Discover our journalism courses here at the University of Sunderland and register for an Open Day today.

Published: 9 November 2021