How do I Choose the Best Journalism Distance Learning Program?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus
A woman taking a journalism distance learning class.
A woman taking a journalism distance learning class.

When choosing a journalism distance learning program, it's important to think about an area of specialty since many schools require students to choose one. Comparing the core courses and grading systems of different journalism schools is another way to choose an online program. Analyzing the program description and attendance requirements in the school calendar is crucial so you'll be prepared when you decide to register.

Taking a distance learning degree program from an established brick and mortar university can give you a school name to help get you favorable attention on your resume. Research universities known for having good journalism schools to see whether they offer distance learning. Compare the cost of the journalism distance learning program with the school's name recognition factor and prestige, but don't overlook the course content.

The content of the core courses should give you a solid base on which to build your career knowledge. If you're not sure that it does, contact hiring managers in the types of companies in which you eventually hope to work to find out what type of education they prefer their employees to have. You'll be asking for this information only and not for a job at this time, so be mindful of their time and be polite. If you're fortunate, you may even be able to gain some future industry contacts from these informational interviews.

Since internships are typically given to students enrolled in a certain school and these are common and usually helpful in the journalism industry, picking an educational institution likely to provide you with internship access may be best. Research journalism internships on your own first, so you can get an idea of what is out there that you'd be most interested in. Don't let a discovery of a journalism distance learning program with a promising internship record keep you from checking its other credentials.

The distance learning program you end up picking should be properly accredited. Check with a top-notch university's journalism school to see if it will accept the transcripts, as this can be an excellent measuring stick. Plus, you may want to transfer to another university for a higher degree after you complete your first. Before making your final decision on a journalism distance learning program, also be sure to check the exam dates and any special residency requirements. For example, some online degree programs require students to spend at least one or two weekends at the school. If you won't be able to commit to this, you'll have to choose another program.

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    • A woman taking a journalism distance learning class.
      By: goodluz
      A woman taking a journalism distance learning class.