To become a disc jockey, it is usually necessary to go to college to acquire technical skills and training, whether the plan is to work in radio or club environments. It is also possible to acquire the necessary skills through apprenticeship and on the job training, although this can take longer. It also helps to be familiar with a wide variety of musical genres and to be able to keep pace with developments in the music industry through professional publications, events, and studious listening.
Radio disc jockeys need to be able to operate the equipment in the radio studio and also need some announcing skills. Many may give weather forecasts and other announcements during the show, and require training in broadcast journalism. In training, students learn how to use equipment and will also receive voice training so they acquire the vocal skills they need on the radio. Training to become a disc jockey often provides access to internships to allow students to get job experience.
A student who wants to become a disc jockey on a radio station may want to think about the kind of music that most interests her. She should develop broad familiarity with the genre she wants to work in. With a college education and some experience through internships, she can apply for positions at radio stations. Competition is often fierce, and it can help to have an outstanding application with credits like internships at major radio stations.
In the club environment, disc jockeys may not need broadcast journalism training, but it can help to have some education in music and audio engineering. Many colleges and universities offer this type of training. Disc jockeys can learn to operate sound equipment and may develop skills like mixing and playlist creation. Careers in clubs are less likely to require higher education, but applicants who choose not to go to college to become a disc jockey do need to acquire on-the-job training through internships under the tutelage of experienced disc jockeys.
It can take several years to become a disc jockey and even longer to build up a reputation in the field. Radio announcers may move between stations to take advantage of better job offers and more work opportunities, while club disc jockeys tend to develop freelance careers as they build up a list of clients and a following. Both can potentially become celebrities if they have charisma and a talent for adapting quickly to emerging trends in music; a disc jockey can attract a customer following that will put him in high demand and may allow him to negotiate better pay for his services.