How Much Education Do You Need to Become a DJ?

Formal Education

A high school diploma or GED equivalent is typically the only educational requirement for a DJ. While in high school, aspiring DJs should gain experience writing and reporting for the school newspaper or, even better, getting involved with the school radio station. They should also start learning how to use audiovisual equipment such as transmitters, tape decks, mixing boards and other devices. An aspiring DJ can greatly improve his employment opportunities by pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism, communications or related field. While studying in college, budding DJs should join the school radio station and apply for their own show. Most colleges have community radio stations that offer opportunities for DJs to gain experience and start to network with others in the field.


Many radio stations both public and corporate offer internships for aspiring DJs. While the position is usually unpaid and interns are usually allowed only minimal on-air exposure, the experience is nonetheless invaluable. DJ interns work closely with experienced professionals, performing research, helping around the office, checking facts and completing a wide array of other tasks. In the process they learn how a radio station functions and what the responsibilities of each station member entail. Though few positions pay, many internships offer college credit for those pursuing a degree in broadcasting, communications, journalism or similar field
The bulk of a DJ’s education typically happens during on-the-job training. New DJs usually start out working under the wing of a veteran DJ, observing how the handle all sorts of situations and problems that arise. At this point they may start getting some real live airtime as they learn the tricks of the trade. Many new DJs do their on-the-job training at small local radio stations instead of big corporate ones, but there are exceptions.

Skills and Personal Qualities

Being a disc jockey requires a very specific set of skills and personal qualities that not everyone possesses. Radio stations like to hire DJs who have polished and often unique speaking voices that listeners want to hear over and over again. DJs should have excellent pronunciation and grammar, and they should be comfortable speaking on the fly even if most of their lines are scripted. They should have a natural, sociable personality and be able to transmit this quality over the air. Knowledge of music, as well as current events, sports, history, movies, celebrities and other elements of popular culture, is also extremely valuable.


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