Further education (FE) courses in media studies examine the structure, history and effect of the different forms of media. The role requires the teaching of a wide range of media, including advertising and marketing, newspapers, radio, the film industry, TV, video gaming, animation, print and online magazines, websites and podcasts. Media is a very popular subject choice and is routinely oversubscribed.
Keeping up with the changing media landscape is a must. Anthony Shallow, media studies teacher at Peter Symonds College, Winchester, states that the biggest challenge in terms of teaching is keeping in touch with advances in technology. He says: “We have to develop our resources to keep in line with the current trends. I very rarely use books in my lesson because students have moved on from that – I use stuff like Pinterest and YouTube.”
Most candidates applying for FE media studies jobs will be required to have completed a teaching qualification, such as a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE). Relevant work experience will come into play for some, such as previous roles in journalism, publishing and film or TV. In most cases, experience in the media sphere is always seen as a positive from an employer’s point of view as it highlights a passion for the industry.
The top 10 universities in the UK for studying communication and media studies, according to the subject league table 2024, are:
The transferable skills learned by media studies students are equally applicable to the ones FE teachers should bring to the role. These include: creative and critical thinking, good communication skills, synthesis and evaluation of information, presentation skills and working as part of a team.
The wide scope of the subject is key to its success with students, as well as FE teachers. Ian St Peters, digital journalism lecturer at Burton College in Staffordshire, explains that “journalism has changed so much in recent years and we not only have to teach students how to write but also how do handle video, audio, social media, websites, online uploads”.
Many FE media studies programmes split theoretical and practical work 50/50. A-levels modules can consist of subjects as diverse as audio manipulation, photo editing and TV and radio production to screenwriting and cultural studies. You should be in a position to pass on your understanding of how and why the media works.
A qualified FE media studies teacher in the UK earns anything between £31,903 for entry-level positions and £49,670 for the most experienced teachers. Talent.com puts the median average FE media studies teacher salary at £37,433 in the UK, which is above the median annual pay for full-time employees (£33,000) for the tax year ending on April 5, 2022, an increase of 5.7% on the previous year.
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