Qualifications: an overview

The NCTJ is the media industry's professional body and awarding organisation regulated by Ofqual, CCEA and Qualifications Wales to deliver industry standard qualifications for pre-entry journalists, trainee journalists and senior journalists throughout the UK.

Certificate in Foundation Journalism

The NCTJ Level 3 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 to cover 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.

The certificate has also been allocated a UCAS tariff of 16 points for entry to higher education.

Apprenticeships

The Level 3 Junior Journalist Apprenticeship is a training scheme which provides a direct route into the industry. Apprentice junior journalists gain skills and experience working in a media/news organisation as well as off-the-job training with a training provider to work towards gaining the NCTJ Level 3 Diploma in Journalism qualification.

NB: this standard is due to be replaced by the Level 5 Journalist Apprenticeship Standard which includes the NCTJ Level 5 Diploma in Journalism.

The Level 7 Senior Journalist Apprenticeship also provides a direct route into the industry at graduate level or progression from the junior journalist apprenticeship. Apprentices at this level will work towards gaining the NCTJ Level 6 National Qualification in Journalism, qualifying as a senior journalist.

All  apprenticeships include an end-point assessment which must be passed to complete the apprenticeship. This assessment is independently assessed by the NCTJ as the end-point assessment organisation.

Both apprenticeships may also be utilised by employers to upskill their exisiting staff.

Diploma in Journalism

The NCTJ Level 5 Diploma in Journalism equips trainee journalists with the knowledge and skills for professional entry level journalism. This qualification encompasses the skills and knowledge required by today's multimedia journalist.

National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ)

The NCTJ Level 6 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. Journalists register with the NCTJ and an online logbook is completed providing evidence of training and experience before taking the mandatory exams.

Bespoke qualifications

The NCTJ may work in collaboration with individual employers (or group of employers) to design bespoke qualifications that meet the specific needs of a targeted audience. Please contact Lyn Jones, head of qualifications, for further information.

NCTJ Level 4 Diploma in Magazine Journalism

The NCTJ Level 4 Diploma in Magazine Journalism is a bespoke qualification designed for specialist magazine journalists. The learning in this bespoke qualification can be applied to day-to-day editorial environments providing added breadth, depth, insight and authority to their roles.

NCTJ Level 5 Certificate in Professional Sports Journalism

Sky Sports News runs a bespoke professional training course for its employees to take their knowledge, skills and confidence to the next level. Candidates work towards gaining the NCTJ Level 5 Certificate in Professional Sports Journalism. The learning in this bespoke qualification is applied to their day-to-day newsroom environments and provides the channel’s sports coverage with added breadth, depth, insight and authority.