Certificate in Journalism

Study writing, publishing, editing, journalism or photojournalism. Experience based learning helps you, develop an awareness of the industry, exploring opportunities to publish your work; and initiate a career.

Course Code: VWR001
Fee Code: CT
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate
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This course will provide you with a skills and knowledge base that prepares you to start a career as a freelance writer, an editor or a publisher. Many journalists begin their careers as freelance writers, submitting articles to newspapers and magazines. The broad scope of this course will prepare you to work as a writer in a publishing business, a freelancer, or in other areas of publishing. 
  • Improve writing skills
  • Discover work opportunities
  • Network with professionals
  • Understand this industry
  • Study, learn, take a step toward earning whilst doing something you are passionate about
  • Start with a certificate course that is achievable and upgrade to a proficiency award later on (NB: We offer many pathways for further studies)

Student Comment

'Many of the skills that I have learnt from this course help me on a day to day basis’.   A. Peterson, ACS Journalism student.

Learn from real world writers and publishers

Our school's publishing division is publishing ebooks every 2 weeks or so.
We distribute books through Overdrive, Wheelers and other international book distributors
Our principal is author of over 100 books, and editor for a national green living magazine

We know the industry; and we can show you what it is all about! 


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Certificate in Journalism.
 Editing I (Editing and Proofreading) BWR106
 Freelance Writing BWR102
 Publishing I (Self Publishing Children's Books) BWR107
 Advanced Freelance Writing BWR201
 Photoshop CS - Beginner To Medium Level VIT202
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 1 of the following 19 modules.
 Children's Writing BWR104
 Creative Writing BWR103
 E Commerce BIT100
 Efficient Writing AWR102
 Flash CS BIT102
 Html (Writing a Website) VIT102
 Introduction To Photography BPH100
 Photographic Practice BPH101
 Photographing People BPH102
 Poetry BWR109
 Writing Fiction BWR105
 Photographic Lighting BPH204
 Photographic Technology BPH201
 Publishing II BWR202
 Wedding Photography BPH206
 Editing II BWR302
 Editing Practice BWR305
 Photographic Portfolio BPH301
 Photojournalism Practice I BPH302

Note that each module in the Certificate in Journalism is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


Magazine publishers are in business, and in the main, are heavily influenced by economics. They publish in order to make money; and they will generally choose what they publish according to what is most likely to make money for them. You can increase your chances of getting published by being aware of how different kinds of publications generate income.


Periodicals (including ezines)

Money comes from advertising and/or sales of the publication (or subscriptions). If advertisers don’t buy space, there is no money to pay the writer (or anyone else). Articles which sell publications or advertising are what is required!


Money comes from sales alone, and not from advertising. Therefore, the book itself must be of interest, and sellable. Publishers consider both community interest in the subject, and what other similar titles (ie: competition) are already on the market.


Magazines will always look for writers who can supply something a little different. Articles that not only present factual information, but also create a mood and stir emotions in the reader will generally be more attractive to a magazine editor than articles that are dry and just factual, no matter how good the information.

Magazine articles are likely to be one of the most common areas you will find work. Most magazines pay freelance writers to produce articles, and a very high proportion of articles published in magazines are produced by freelance writers. Almost all magazines will welcome submissions of articles on a "spec" basis. (ie: If you send them an article, they will consider it. They might publish it, or they might not. If they publish it; they will pay you, otherwise they will return the article).

Check the magazine over the phone before submitting articles on spec. though. Some publishers will not return unused articles unless this has previously been arranged. Some (not many) will not pay at all for articles. The amount paid for articles, and the size of the articles required, can vary considerably between publications. Magazine articles can vary in length from 1000 to 5000 words. Sometimes articles can be considerably longer, but not often.

Non-fiction articles are sold in far larger quantities than fiction. There is only a small market for short stories, poetry etc. Contemporary non-fiction articles contain rhythm and changes of mood, and articles should move from quiet moments to loud or action filled sections, creating contrasts in the way the reader feels as he/she reads through the passage.

Some writers specialise in a particular type of article, writing "sports" articles, or "gardening", "travel", "motoring" or "cookery" articles etc. If you have a special skill or just an area which you are interested in, it is worth considering developing your abilities to write and sell articles in that specialised subject area.

Magazine articles are most likely to sell if they are saying something new. This does not mean that they are news articles, but they will be better accepted if they approach subjects in a way which is not commonly used by other magazines. Non-fiction articles need to be fresh and bright. They should enlighten the reader, or expose him/her to things new and different. They might occasionally prod or stimulate thinking beyond the article. They should also entertain, and be easy to read, even humorous on occasions.

Remember, you are competing for the attention of readers. They are trying to decide whether to read your article or someone else’s in the magazine, or whether to buy your magazine or another one instead. A major competitor is the television. Your article is likely to be skimmed by readers sitting in front of a TV set. Your article needs to attract their attention away from the TV set.

Good article writers tend to be:

  • very keen readers in their area of specialisation (eg. a motoring writer reads books, magazines, newspaper columns...anything he can get on motoring);
  • good listeners. They may not talk a lot, but they say the right things to keep a conversation going, and to get the people they are talking to, to divulge lots of thoughts and information;
  • curious and inquisitive. They like factual information, seek it, find it and remember it. They can be curious to the point of being tactless or nosey.
A travel feature may be anything from 500 to several thousand words, and should normally be illustrated. If you do not have your own photographs, you may be able to get photos to use from a local travel agent or a larger bus or airline company, in exchange for giving them some free publicity (by way of a mention) in the article.


Travel articles should be written from fresh experiences, either your own experiences or information derived from an interview with someone who has visited the place. A travel article must sound fresh.


Professional travel writers sometimes reproduce several copies of an article and submit them to different non competing newspapers in different cities or towns. This way, even if one does not publish the article, others might. If several publish it, the one piece of work may bring several payments.



Public relations and marketing firms sometimes engage the services of a writer. Companies of this type can be approached: ask them if there might be any work; tell them you are a freelance writer; show them (or send them) samples of your work.  This may require nerve, and you may get knock-backs at first, but often, persistence pays off.

Amelia Lobsenz, president of an American PR company said:

"The public relations person and the magazine writer have a great deal in common. We are both creative people looking for ideas, are stimulated by the printed word. If we are successful in our careers we become familiar with national magazines and their needs.  In my own early days I found myself being surprised at the directness and forthright approach of the PR practitioner. He is not a 'flack' trying to sell any product or concept that comes his way. He handles products he believes in."

PR firms can at times hire freelance writers to handle excess workloads, writing such things as brochures and catalogues, advertisements, booklets, press releases etc.

To write a standard press release requires two things:
1. You must have basic writing skills, particularly the ability to be concise with your use of words.
2. You must know the product you are writing about.

If you have a lot of knowledge about a particular area, then a PR firm may be very interested in getting you to write material which relates to that area. For example, if you are a mechanic, trying to become a writer, try approaching PR firms which handle promotions for motor car companies. You should always be clear about who your writing is aimed at. Consider who will read it, and what you are trying to communicate to those particular people. Consider how to best reach and hold the attention of that type of person.


Many good writers never get published, and more often than not, it is because they either don’t know how to sell their work, or they simply are not prepared to write work that is salable.

You don’t have to have your work published in order to be a satisfied creative writer; however, most creative writers will, sooner or later, aspire to see what they write being published and read by a wider audience. In order to understand the basics of selling anything, including writing, be prepared to do the following:

  • Research your customer (publisher) and what they are likely to buy;
  • Find out everything that your customer wants, even if you can’t provide it;
  • Highlight what your writing has to offer rather than its features (what niche it fills, how it unique, how it can help the publisher achieve sales etc);
  • If there are objections or hesitations, stay calm and try to determine, very specifically, what they are. Once you narrow down the objection, try to find a way to overcome it or compensate for it. (For example, how about if I focus the article more on teenage travelers?);
  • Don’t get defensive or be over-sensitive. Take criticism and any comment on your work as a sign of interest. Most publishers just won’t comment if they see no value in the work;
  • Show confidence in your ability, and willingness to develop it in ways that appeal to the publisher;
  • Get the customer to look at your work, even if it takes a month or more. Offer to submit a short story or article instead of a long manuscript, and send a copy of any item that you get published anywhere. Keep your name before the publisher, even if you don’t get a particular work published. Be careful, though, to avoid becoming a pest;
  • Try to reach some agreement, whether it is an agreement to edit and resubmit within a certain time or an agreement to research a better topic. This will give you an opening;
  • Remember that the publisher is always right   without him or her, you are not going to be published. Many writers must adapt their work to their publishers. Just keep in mind that when you are established and successful, you can start insisting on your own way of writing and topics.

Who will benefit from this course:

Early career journalists who are "learning on the go".

Writers looking to break into freelance markets such as magazines and newspapers.

Editors wanting to offer writing services to existing clients and help attract new clients.

Amateur and aspiring writers seeking to build confidence in their abilities, or improve their fundamentals.

At the end of this course you will:

  • Know the difference between different types of writing, including features and newspaper articles
  • Understand the fundamentals underpinning good writing
  • Understand how to identify different types of errors and areas for improvement
  • Understand the general process of how publishing works
  • Understand how to develop a concept, then set up a structure and begin research
  • Understand how to write a compelling headline

What Should You Study?

Let us help you make the Best Decision for You!

  • Contact us and tell us about your passions and ambitions
  • Let us understand your situation so we can advise you properly
  • Then make a better informed decision about what to study.

Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).

What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding in your selected discipline. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (6 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email acs@oamps.com.au.

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email (admin@acs.edu.au) call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.

What if I change my mind?

Please get in touch with studentservices@acs.edu.au if you would like to be removed from our mail list.

If you would like ACS Distance Education to delete your information at any time (whether you are a customer or a prospective customer), please contact our privacy officer and we will process this ( admin@acs.edu.au ).

Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.


Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Julia Mayo-Ramsay

Dr Julia Mayo-Ramsay is a practicing environmental and agricultural lawyer. She holds a PhD in International Environmental Law, LLM, BLJS, GDLP, LLM (Environmental Law) and a Master of Applied Science (Agriculture).
Julia started out in agriculture working on various dairy farms in the 1980s before working as dairy manager / tutor at Hawkesbury Agricultural College Richmond NSW. Julia then went on to work at Riverina Artificial Breeders at Tabletop (Albury) NSW as an embryo transfer technician assisting vets with artificial breeding and embryo transfer in cattle, sheep and deer. This was followed by two years as a herd manager for a very large commercial dairy herd milking 3,000 cows over three dairies on the outskirts of Sydney before heading overseas. In 1994 Julia accepted a position in NE Thailand at the Sakhon Nakhon Institute of Technology (now a University) training farmers and students in cattle breeding and dairy farm management. On returning to Australia in late 1996 Julia completed a Master of Applied Science in Agriculture at Hawkesbury Agricultural College (UWS) as well as law degrees and maritime studies. Julia now works as a Lawyer in the area of environmental and rural law.
Currently Julia teaches a variety of maritime subjects for Marine Rescue NSW.
As well as teaching Julia is working on a number of environmental research projects.

Adriana Fraser


Jenny Bragg

Jenny has experience across many different business areas including marketing, operations management and human resources, her specialty fields are events, hospitality and tourism. She has worked in a number of different service sector organisations including hotels, restaurants, bars and specialist event providers. Jenny is a trained teacher and has worked with different educational bodies in the UK, as well as providing a consultancy service to the business and events sector.

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