NQJ by distance learning

The National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ) is an ideal way for junior journalists to demonstrate to employers that they have reached an advanced level of professional competence. 

Now available for distance learners via the Journalism Skills Academy e-learning platform, the qualification is assessed by an e-logbook of work completed on the job, as well as exams in media law and ethics, and practical skills. 

You can find more about the structure of the NQJ here

Most candidates begin their NQJ training when they take up their first job, after gaining the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism qualification (generally with the industry ‘gold standard’ - grades A-C in all subjects plus 100 words per minute shorthand, if applicable).


Such candidates will – by virtue of that earlier qualification – have evidence of their abilities to find, research and produce news stories; to deploy social media and analytics skills; and to use legal, regulatory and ethical knowledge.


Other candidates may join the programme with no previous journalistic training. Typically, they will be graduates, but will not necessarily have studied journalism as part of their degree.


However, if you have no prior learning in journalism will need to demonstrate you have journalism skills to diploma level before moving on to the more advanced skills, knowledge and behaviours applicable to the NQJ (you can do this by taking diploma modules via distance learning, for instance). You will also need to evidence a minimum period of employment as a journalist to sit the NQJ exams.


By the time you take your NQJ exams, you should have at least 18 months’ experience working as a journalist and will have completed an e-logbook of evidence that is one of the assessments for the NQJ.


If you have not gained the Diploma in Journalism (to gold standard) and would like to discuss your eligibility to register for the NQJ, please contact us by phone or email. We can assess each individual candidate, validate any prior learning and determine your eligibility to begin working towards the NQJ.


Please note that some employers (notably many in the local and regional news sector) will only support a trainee through NQJ training if they have achieved the 'gold standard' Diploma in Journalism (including media law court reporting and public affairs modules, and shorthand at 100wpm).


Those employers are also likely to require your diploma passes in essential media law and regulation, media law court reporting and public affairs to be no more than five years old.


To sit the NQJ exams you will also have completed a minimum of 18 months employment as a trainee journalist (two years for JPIMedia). If in doubt, please speak to your editor in the first instance, or contact us.

How much does it cost?

We offer two distance learning options:

1. Learning materials only (cost: £500+VAT)

  • Access to the e-learning study materials
  • Registration fee for the NQJ qualification

Ideal for journalists who have access to employer-led NQJ training.

2. Full distance learning package (cost: £800+VAT)


  • Access to the e-learning study materials
  • NCTJ tutor support
  • An exams preparation workshop
  • Registration fee for the NQJ qualification

Ideal for freelance journalists or those without access to in-house training schemes.