Journalism qualifications

The NCTJ delivers industry standard qualifications for pre-entry trainee journalists and professional qualifications for working journalists.

Pre-entry qualifications

Certificate in Foundation Journalism

The NCTJ Certificate in Foundation Journalism provides an introduction to journalism. It may be used as a stepping stone for candidates wanting to go on to a career in journalism or by those wishing to improve their journalistic skills for a specific purpose.

The qualification is designed in such a way as to give a wide variety of uses within the community journalism setting; whether as a community journalist, blogger or those wishing to use journalism as a way to draw attention to specific community issues.

For those wishing to go on to a career in journalism, study at foundation level is unlikely to lead directly to a job with a news organisation, unless by way of apprenticeship. However, successful study at foundation level is likely to give candidates a “head start” when it comes to studying for the Diploma in Journalism.

This qualification is being piloted this year.  

Entry level qualifications

Advanced Apprenticeship in Journalism

The Advanced Apprenticeship in Journalism is a training scheme which provides a direct route into the industry. Apprentice journalists gain skills and experience working in a news environment as well as off-the-job training at college to work towards gaining the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism Practice qualification.

Apprentices can also progress to completing the full Diploma in Journalism qualification.

Diploma in Journalism

The NCTJ Diploma in Journalism equips trainee journalists with the knowledge and skills for professional entry level journalism. This qualification encompasses the skills required by the modern convergent journalist working across all media sectors.

Diploma in Journalism for Press Photographers and Photojournalists

The NCTJ Diploma in Journalism for Press Photographers and Photojournalists equips trainee photographers with the skills required to operate as a press photographer or photojournalist.  Candidates will learn and demonstrate an understanding of, and proficiency in, digital stills and video photography.

Professional qualifications

National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ)

The National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ) is the industry’s professional qualification that trainee journalists with at least 18 months employment can take to achieve senior status as a journalist. Employers who support the programme register trainees with the NCTJ and an online logbook is completed providing evidence of training and experience before taking the exams. This qualification is available for:

  • reporters

  • press photographers

NB: NQJ qualifications are not currently regulated by Ofqual and are not listed on the Register of Qualifications. They will be added to the NCTJ's regulated provision by the end of 2014.