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DJs play music for audiences in live venues, at events or on the radio.

Annual Salary


Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

45 to 47 variable

You could work: freelance / self-employed; managing your own hours

Future employment

There will be 0.5% more DJ jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

As a club DJ you might:

  • play and mix records in clubs or bars, to create atmosphere or keep people dancing
  • choose music to suit your audience's taste and the venue's music policy
  • operate lighting and visual effects in time to the beat
  • create your own sounds, manipulate beats, use samples, and add music and sound effects
  • work with an MC who raps or sings over the music

As a radio DJ or presenter, you'll present a radio programme in your own style. You could:

  • choose the music to be played
  • keep up an entertaining and natural flow of chat
  • interact with the audience through phone-ins, emails, texts and social media
  • keep to a very tight timing schedule
  • interview studio guests
  • operate studio equipment to play music, pre-recorded news, jingles and advertisements (known as 'driving the desk)
  • discuss ideas with the producer, write scripts and prepare playlists for future shows

Working environment

You could work at events, on festival sites, at a music venue or at a recording studio.

Your working environment may be hot, noisy and you'll travel often.

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • volunteering
  • applying directly
  • specialist training courses

You could start by doing a college course. This will give you some of the skills needed to work with sampling equipment, mixers, digital controllers and decks. Courses include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Music Technology
  • Level 2 Certificate in Radio
  • Level 3 Diploma in Creative and Digital Media

Colleges and community education centres also often run short workshops in DJ-ing and recording skills.

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
For more information
Volunteering and work experience

Getting experience will help you to develop your skills and make contacts in the industry. You could:

  • work on student, community or hospital radio stations
  • volunteer to DJ at events like parties, weddings and charity shows
  • work as a DJ on an internet radio station
  • volunteer to work as a roadie for an experienced DJ
  • post mixes to online video and music streaming sites to get noticed

You can also find work experience placements through the BBC Taster Days, or by contacting broadcasters to ask about opportunities. The Radiocentre can help you find commercial radio stations.

Direct application

You can apply directly for work as a DJ by contacting bars, clubs and radio stations. You'll need to showcase your mixing and presenting skills, for example through your own online music channel or by posting mixes on music streaming sites.

Other routes

You can take training courses or attend DJ workshops, which are offered by private music training providers that specialise in DJ skills, music technology and sound recording.

More information

Career tips

Do your research and make sure that your demo mixes fit in with a venue's music policy or the type of music on a radio station's playlist.

Further information

You can get more advice about becoming a DJ from:Community Media Association; Hospital Broadcasting Association; Radio Academy

You can also find out more about working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

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As a successful club DJ, you could move into music producing and recording, club promoting, working for a record label or starting your own label.

As an established radio DJ, you could get involved in other types of media work, like TV presenting.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • broadcasting and telecommunications knowledge
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • customer service skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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