Do you want to work as an animal journalist?
- Read about the most important info you need to decide on following this career.
- Follow the 7 points below and search for a tertiary institution near you for future studies. If you already are graduated, you may also search through our list of Jobs in the main menu.
- If you want to PLAN the way you need to prepare, then join our community in step 8 where you will learn everything, while chatting with other potential journalists and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!
UPDATED: 12 October 2020
1. What is an animal journalist?
An Animal Journalist researches and writes about animal related news stories for existing publications (paper or online).
Articles can be submitted to various forms of media, such as newspapers, online publications, magazines, newsletters or even nature TV programs.
Also known as:
- Animal Writer
- Environmental Journalist
2. What do they do?
Media / Business
Animal Writers or Journalists write about newsworthy events in which animals are involved. Some writers find that focusing on a specific species, group of animals (such as pets) or subject matter helps them to stand out and achieve greater success.
- Receive and review request from editors
- Research topics to write about
- Schedule workload
- Write draft article and edit
- Submit article for review
- Administration and filing
Where they work:
Most journalists work outdoors, gathering information on new stories, or actually reporting on animal related events.
Places of Employment –
Animal journalists may freelance (self-employed), or work for publishing outlets, marketing companies, companies that produce animal products, zoos, aquariums, nature parks or government organizations.
The average yearly salary for employed animal journalists is around US$35,000. Freelancing writers may charge an hourly rate, or flat rate per article. Income will depend on the contract with the publication.
Future growth and Possibilities:
The market for journalists that focus on animal related news is very competitive.
3. Which Skills are required?
The skills required for a career as an animal journalist can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.
- Critical thinking
- Creative thinking
- Decision making
- Problem Solving
- Effective communication
- Interpersonal relationship
- Good business knowledge
- Good writing skills
- Basic public speaking skills
- Good health and physical fitness
- Excellent computer literacy
4. Which Subjects must I have at School?
Language will be your major or most important subject in school, whether you want to study further, or not. It will strengthen your writing skills and techniques, and prepare you for a career as an animal journalist. This can be substituted with journalism, if your school does have it as a subject.
The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.
OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!
5. What will I need to Study?
To become an Animal Journalist requires at least a College Diploma
Study towards a major in journalism, writing, language, or communications to perfect your skills.
Short Courses –
Courses are essential, especially when you do make use of computer software to type, edit and share your stories. Learning how to make and edit videos will also be good.
The duration of College diplomas can be up to 3 or 4 years. Short Courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.
Possible Career Preparation Paths:
If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.
Why is planning important?
To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A Preparation Path is like your road map to where you want to be.
Possible Combined Career Paths:
It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.
Possible Alternatives (there are a lot more):
Stepping Stone Career:
Being an animal journalist can also be used as a stepping stone career. A stepping stone career is one which is used to help you get to another career, normally because the other career is too difficult to reach (sometimes due to things like high fees etc).
You can begin as an intern journalist after basic short courses and expert guidance (maybe working under a mentor). The money made can then be used to pay for studies towards a promotion or another career, and the experience helps in gaining knowledge. One paying to help get to the other.
Some of the possible paths:
Training and apprenticeship:
Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal careers, most of the skills you will need as a journalist will be acquired through practice. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.
In some cases entry level positions (or junior journalists) require training sessions even before you are allowed to actually perform your job duties. These sessions are offered by the place of employment, after you have successfully applied.
Apprenticeship is also possible where you need to learn skills from a more senior journalist or expert.
Join the Animal Journalists Group in STEP 8 to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!
Average level of education of all the people who enter the career:
6. Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations
Certain animal careers require some form of legal certification to prove that you can indeed do the work, and work with the necessary equipment.
Although not required by law, certifications may help workers establish their credentials and enhance their skills.
Learn more about requirements by joining OZT in STEP 8.
7. Where can I study further?
All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.
See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards journalism.
8. Join the OZT community
Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming an animal journalist.
Members of the Platform have special access to:
- Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
- Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
- Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
- Make friends around the world and share knowledge
- Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!
If you have decided on being an Animal Journalist, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, while non-members will be assisted to register first.
If this career is NOT the career for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu, and search for something different.
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Career Profiles and Resources
Career Mentors are Members who assist by volunteering to keep each Career Page factual and current, while mentoring Students in the related Career Group.
Contributions by expert members are always appreciated to allow the Students to make informed decisions. Please add your contribution through the attached Form:
List of Career Mentors/Educators who have contributed to this Career info:
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