Guide to an Online Broadcasting Education

by Jelise Ballon, BroadcastingSchools.com Contributing Writer
Guide to an Online Broadcasting Education

When considering a career in broadcasting, one might conjure up images of being the next Diane Sawyer, Peter Jennings, or even Howard Stern. But whether you aspire to be the news anchor at the microphone or the sound engineer controlling the microphone, you still need to know how that microphone works. In short, both a career and education in broadcasting requires a lot of hands-on and technical expertise, making it difficult to learn online.

To date there are no degree programs in broadcasting offered entirely online. However, there is a small selection of online courses offered for both students pursuing a degree in broadcasting and professionals trying to further their education.

How Online Programs Work in Broadcasting

Approximately 50% of the coursework required for a typical Bachelor's Degree program in broadcasting involves hands-on education in the studio or lab. However, there are also lecture courses such as mass media law, writing for television or radio, and broadcast sales, which can be translated into an online curriculum. Typically, an online course requires that students need only a computer with internet access, but the specific method of delivery is dependent on the college or university.

For many institutions online courses provide downloadable course material, such as the syllabus, lectures, and assignments. They may also include a means for students to interact with the professor and each other, such as a chat room or message forum. Other online courses may provide video-based lectures and activities through streaming media or videotapes. These types of courses are often referred to as “TeleWeb.”

More often than not, online courses allow students to access the course information and/or lectures at their convenience; however, some may require the students to logon at specific times to watch a live lecture or participate in a live, interactive discussion. When considering an online course or program, it's best to speak to the college or university about how the course is transmitted and what the requirements are.

Online Schools and Programs Offered for Broadcasting Students

There are currently no broadcasting degrees offered entirely online, although many two-year and four-year colleges offer courses online, such as Long Beach City College http://de.lbcc.edu/ which offers the class “Introduction to Broadcasting.” A sampling of other schools offering online broadcasting courses includes:

State University of New York (SUNY) Oswego campus offers an online bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Mass Communications, however, the program requires students already have an Associate's Degree in broadcasting or a related field. According to Alison Finsterwalder, Associate Director of Continuing Education at SUNY Oswego this requirement is to make sure that students get the general education and studio courses that are not offered in an online format.

When asked about the future possibility of a broadcasting degree offered entirely online, Ms. Finsterwalder commented that prerequisites, like the one set by SUNY Oswego, are the “only option for an online degree in broadcasting, unless a hybrid program were to be developed.” Hybrid programs are those that combine both online and traditional on-campus courses.

For individuals looking to further their careers, a limited number of post-graduate certificates and courses in broadcasting are offered. These include:

Paying for an Online Education

Students looking to take some of their broadcasting courses online must first enroll in the college or university offering the courses. Tuition costs vary depending on the school and location. If enrolled in a college or university, student loans are available to those who qualify.

Employment in the Broadcasting Industry

A degree in broadcasting can lead to a variety of careers options including radio or television anchor, producer, editor, writer, audio engineer, record producer, screenwriter, advertising, programming director, sales and promotions, camera operator, and more.

Summary

If a career in broadcasting is what you're after, then you will likely spend a majority of your education inside a classroom or studio setting. The hands-on technical components of this degree require it. However, there are options for some online coursework, and your best bet may be to earn your Associate's Degree from a community college offering a majority of coursework online and then transfer to a four-year college if you want your Bachelor's Degree.

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