I just went and started doing it. There was no special pathway for me. Found a region I was personally interested in, took a flight to that country, and just figured everything out. I know that's not helpful advice, but it's really how I did it, and have done it in this area for just over four years.
Now most newcomers will typically just hire a 'fixer' (someone who knows people in the area, knows stories to pursue, etc.) and just pay for their services, almost like a tour guide. There's very little real journalism involved unless you're exploring stories that you find yourself.
The beginning of a new conflict is when journalists/combat correspondents have the most freedom. As the conflict goes on (in my experience) it becomes more strict, and controlled. Lots of people get involved out of ego - they want to take photographs in body armour and play the part.
The reality of the work is frustrating and annoying the majority of the time. Locals will try to take advantage of you if you even give a hint that you're inexperienced (example, I was quoted $120 USD to make a trip by one guy, then a local taxi driver quoted me $40 USD for the same trip).
Plans change incredibly quickly, or you will spend weeks setting up an assignment, arrive, and find out the unit you're attached to or living with have changed your plans for you. Your gear might get broken, or you will get sick, or just plain physically and mentally fatigued and have no drive to work.
Budget for the following: Armour (Level IV plates, carrier, and a helmet) $500-750 USD. Decent first aid kit, $100 USD. Insurance (per month) $500-$1,000 USD (lots of people forge their documents or just are uninsured).
Freelancing is very, very hard, and you make fuck all money. It's basically an expensive hobby. That being said, I have had some amazing life experiences, and it has changed my life in good and bad ways.