The scheme combines learning with work experience on the Echo and its companion website.
The course is free to most successful applicants, particularly those under the age of 19.
In its summary, the NCTJ said: “The course is a unique partnership between a newspaper and college, providing free training for people under 19 living in the Southampton area and giving them an opportunity to become qualified journalists without going to university.
“All the current seven students are very enthusiastic about the course and its potential. Many said they had dreamed of becoming a journalist but did not feel it was within their grasp to achieve.
“They were enjoying the lessons, particularly shorthand, and looking forward to more involvement with the newsroom and playing a greater part in the Echo’s publications and multimedia in the future.”
It is the second such ‘classroom in the newsroom’ initiative to have been set up by Highbury College.
Its course based at The News, Portsmouth, which is also NCTJ-accredited, is in its fourth year.
Paul Foster, journalism course leader at Highbury, said: “We’re delighted to have received NCTJ accreditation. The course is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who wants to break into the media industry.
“It’s not just about newspapers and websites; the skills the students are learning on this course will see them get a job across the media.
“We know this because our previous students have done exactly that. It really is a stepping stone to getting a job without the expense of going to university.”
David Brine, who runs the course at the Echo, added: “It is a huge boost that the NCTJ has recognised what we are trying to do here in Southampton and has been so complimentary about it.
“The students were thrilled to hear the course had been accredited and are looking forward to tackling the various parts of the diploma while gaining an invaluable insight into life as a working journalist.”