Working in broadcasting and journalism with GCSEs (or similar)

It can be hard to break into broadcasting and journalism. People applying for jobs like the ones below may have a degree.

First jobs are often low paid and there is a lot of competition. If you are hoping to get into the industry with just GCSEs or similar, look for trainee schemes and apprenticeships. People often volunteer to gain experience. You might need to do another job to support you while you get started.

Example jobs

Runner

General assistant in TV or film. You’ll need a great attitude and lots of enthusiasm.

Radio broadcast assistant

Helps to plan radio programmes and offer studio technical support. You’ll also be doing lots of administrative work.

Editorial assistant

Supports the publication of newspapers, magazines or websites. You’ll need great English and the ability to spot errors.

Case study

I cover the lifestyle content for The Scotsman Magazine, The Scotsman's Saturday supplement.

Gaby Soutar, lifestyle writer at The Scotsman Magazine

Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

Many jobs in the industry are paid at a day rate, or just for the length of a contract. You would only earn money for the days you work and there may be gaps between jobs.

pay levels graph

Typical working conditions

  • Working conditions vary. You’ll be working in a fast-moving environment where it is all about deadlines and teamwork.
  • An admin or editorial assistant will probably spend lots of time in the office in front of a computer.
  • For some roles in TV and radio, you could be out on location working on productions.
  • Most opportunities can be found in London, although there are many employers across the rest of the UK. You’ll find clusters of TV and radio employers in Bristol, Manchester, Cardiff and Glasgow.
  • There are many local and regional newspapers.

Qualifications needed

  • You need to consider that you will be competing against people with degrees, even for trainee positions and entry-level jobs.
  • But if you’ve got the right skills and relevant experience, it is possible to get a break in the industry without a degree. Good grades in relevant GCSEs (or similar) are important, such as English, history and media studies. Maths, physics, engineering or technology might be useful for technical work.

Career path

  • You might start off in casual or part-time work, as full-time jobs are not always available.
  • Experience at this level will help you to move on to different jobs. Build up a portfolio of things you have worked on to show to employers. Get involved with a school radio station, make your own podcasts or start blogging.

Useful links

Pearson is not responsible for content on external websites.

Creative Skillset careers

Information about creative careers from the sector skills council

NUJ careers

Information about careers in journalism from the National Union of Journalists

Radio Academy

Find out about working in radio