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Reconsider majoring in meteorology!


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What types of met jobs do you think are best suited for the "quiet weather geek"? I'll be totally honest, verbal communication has never been my strong point, and this has probably hindered my ability to land a job in the field. It seems like what you said is not only true with energy met jobs, but with operational met jobs in general. Unfair as it is, it seems as if many employers value communication ability over talent.

well here's the deal with that...communication is a huge part of being a meteorologist...it's your job to use your knowledge and training to disseminate/communicate information to the general public or clients...

if communication is a weak area for you, then you need to work on it...you may never be the best public speaker or the most eloquent...but you can build adequate skills for what you need to do...in the field of meteorology, it is absolutely imperative you know how to communicate...

not trying to go all psychologist on you...but because you know you have a weakness in communication, it seems like you are hyper aware of your "deficiency" and this leads to a lack of confidence...and a lack of confidence will also hinder your ability to communicate effectively...

if you really truly want to improve, you start off with a basic public speaking class...or join something like Toastmasters...you'll be surprised at how much easier public speaking is once you boost your confidence...

also, it seems as if you need to work on your interviewing skills...this will also improve if you boost your confidence/comfortlevel with verbal communication...it could be that because you don't think you are a good communicator you worry too much while you are trying to communicate and that worry actually gets in the way of you being able to communicate effectively..

here's the deal...i don't usually share this information...but i stutter...and i am painfully aware of how that effects my ability to verbally communicate...in the beginning i passed up some job interviews because i didn't want the interviewer to hear me bumble around like an idiot...and i still remember this horrid interview i had with the USGS EROS Data Center...oh my, i crashed and burned, to the point where i only got through half the interview and they stopped it and said "Thanks but no thanks"

but, this is who i am...i can't make it go away, so i find away to work with it...it will always be a bit harder for me than the rest of the population to verbally communicate, but i can't hide from life...i just have more confidence now...and if i mess up, well, it happens...i just stop, take a breath and start over...

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well here's the deal with that...communication is a huge part of being a meteorologist...it's your job to use your knowledge and training to disseminate/communicate information to the general public or clients...

if communication is a weak area for you, then you need to work on it...you may never be the best public speaker or the most eloquent...but you can build adequate skills for what you need to do...in the field of meteorology, it is absolutely imperative you know how to communicate...

not trying to go all psychologist on you...but because you know you have a weakness in communication, it seems like you are hyper aware of your "deficiency" and this leads to a lack of confidence...and a lack of confidence will also hinder your ability to communicate effectively...

if you really truly want to improve, you start off with a basic public speaking class...or join something like Toastmasters...you'll be surprised at how much easier public speaking is once you boost your confidence...

also, it seems as if you need to work on your interviewing skills...this will also improve if you boost your confidence/comfortlevel with verbal communication...it could be that because you don't think you are a good communicator you worry too much while you are trying to communicate and that worry actually gets in the way of you being able to communicate effectively..

here's the deal...i don't usually share this information...but i stutter...and i am painfully aware of how that effects my ability to verbally communicate...in the beginning i passed up some job interviews because i didn't want the interviewer to hear me bumble around like an idiot...and i still remember this horrid interview i had with the USGS EROS Data Center...oh my, i crashed and burned, to the point where i only got through half the interview and they stopped it and said "Thanks but no thanks"

but, this is who i am...i can't make it go away, so i find away to work with it...it will always be a bit harder for me than the rest of the population to verbally communicate, but i can't hide from life...i just have more confidence now...and if i mess up, well, it happens...i just stop, take a breath and start over...

Thanks for your reply. It was much appreciated since I don't feel quite as alone in this regard. As someone with Asperger's, my biggest difficulty is in making small talk and understanding non verbal cues; two things that are critically important in interviews and in the workplace environment, especially one where teamwork is commonplace. The act of "ice breaking" and coming across as friendly and interested in the job are also tough for me. While I am friendly and interested, people may not perceive me that way due to my tendency to monotone and ramble. In an ultra competitive market like meteorology, every brownie point matters. As such, you're right, I probably do need interviewing practice. I need to try and find a place where I may be able to get it.

In addition, many jobs in the field start off with phone interviews since a lot of candidates are applying to positions that are considerable distances away from their present locations. This tactic has also become common in recent years since it is a way for employers to screen through large numbers of candidates quickly. Unfortunately, as I don't hear well either, this is another obstacle. I interviewed for a met job near Boston earlier this year, and it was still on the phone despite that it is within driving distance. Some of these interviews consist of a group of people shooting challenging questions at you (I like to refer to it as the firing squad), and without the ability to attach a name to a face or anticipate what's coming, it's really easy to get nervous, slip up and say the wrong thing.

The key is to know your own strengths and weaknesses. Even though I'm not the best with "people skills" or performing under pressure, I would consider myself a hard worker who is good with analytical problem solving and attention to detail. I'm not sure what, if anything in this field, will capitalize most on my strengths and minimize the effect of my shortcomings. Having no operational met experience, I can't really say whether most jobs in this field would be a good match for me. However, given what I've read on this forum and my inability to break into the field, it may not be.

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http://www.toastmasters.org/ or something like you local unemployment/workforce central office...i realize that you are in western mass, so i'm just using the Milford, MA office as an example...but once or twice a week they offer free classes on subjects such as resume writing and interview practice...you can start out by doing a mock 1 on 1 interview...and they also have mock group interviews...most people don't even think to utilize those resources...

like i said in my prior post...you will never be perfect...but you can make improvements and build self confidence...

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  • 10 months later...

I know this thread isn't 100% related to what my question is, but it was the first one to show up in my search so..... Here I go! I'm a junior in high school who is interested in Meteorology, but right now I'm thinking I may be inclined to major in Aerospace engineering as it is a subject I really enjoy as well and the job prospects seem somewhat better. It is obviously a bit early, but I am compiling a list of prospective colleges to look at/apply to... So far, these are some of the schools on my list..

-University of Texas

-University of Washington

-Georgia Tech

-Rice University

-University of California San Diego

As might be able to tell, I am not really into staying around New England, but that could change. So after all that background, my question becomes, do any of these schools have Meteorology programs, and if so, what are their reputations? If I start college and don't like Aerospace, it'd be good to have Met as a fallback. Also, if there any other schools you guys think of that might suit my desires, I'm open to suggestions.

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I know this thread isn't 100% related to what my question is, but it was the first one to show up in my search so..... Here I go! I'm a junior in high school who is interested in Meteorology, but right now I'm thinking I may be inclined to major in Aerospace engineering as it is a subject I really enjoy as well and the job prospects seem somewhat better. It is obviously a bit early, but I am compiling a list of prospective colleges to look at/apply to... So far, these are some of the schools on my list..

-University of Texas

-University of Washington

-Georgia Tech

-Rice University

-University of California San Diego

As might be able to tell, I am not really into staying around New England, but that could change. So after all that background, my question becomes, do any of these schools have Meteorology programs, and if so, what are their reputations? If I start college and don't like Aerospace, it'd be good to have Met as a fallback. Also, if there any other schools you guys think of that might suit my desires, I'm open to suggestions.

I will be transferring to the University of Utah to get my meteorology degree. They aren't the top school out there but they have a good program. Also Penn State has one of the best programs in the country I've been told.

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I know this thread isn't 100% related to what my question is, but it was the first one to show up in my search so..... Here I go! I'm a junior in high school who is interested in Meteorology, but right now I'm thinking I may be inclined to major in Aerospace engineering as it is a subject I really enjoy as well and the job prospects seem somewhat better. It is obviously a bit early, but I am compiling a list of prospective colleges to look at/apply to... So far, these are some of the schools on my list..

-University of Texas

-University of Washington

-Georgia Tech

-Rice University

-University of California San Diego

As might be able to tell, I am not really into staying around New England, but that could change. So after all that background, my question becomes, do any of these schools have Meteorology programs, and if so, what are their reputations? If I start college and don't like Aerospace, it'd be good to have Met as a fallback. Also, if there any other schools you guys think of that might suit my desires, I'm open to suggestions.

If they have programs, I've never met anyone from them, and I would have no comment from a perspective of "good" schools. But, if you go out from aerospace, to say, earth science with a focus on physics and/or mathematics, and do reasonably well, many graduate programs in atmospheric science/meteorology would be willing to consider you for admission. I met several people while doing my graduate work that fell into this description.

My personal rec would be to stay with aerospace. The market for specialized engineers is (in general) more lucrative and the field isn't nearly as crowded as meteorology is. But both choices are math and computer-focused, both of which are useful skill sets to have in this market.

EDIT: Actually, I do so know some undergrad UW folks, I just completely forgot when I was responding yesterday. Normally, I usually only think of UW's grad program, which is very highly regarded and research oriented. But their undergraduate program isn't bad either, from what I can tell. I have met one or two Georgia Tech meteorology graduate program alumni working at defense contractors, but otherwise I have never heard much about GT.

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I know this thread isn't 100% related to what my question is, but it was the first one to show up in my search so..... Here I go! I'm a junior in high school who is interested in Meteorology, but right now I'm thinking I may be inclined to major in Aerospace engineering as it is a subject I really enjoy as well and the job prospects seem somewhat better. It is obviously a bit early, but I am compiling a list of prospective colleges to look at/apply to... So far, these are some of the schools on my list..

-University of Texas

-University of Washington

-Georgia Tech

-Rice University

-University of California San Diego

As might be able to tell, I am not really into staying around New England, but that could change. So after all that background, my question becomes, do any of these schools have Meteorology programs, and if so, what are their reputations? If I start college and don't like Aerospace, it'd be good to have Met as a fallback. Also, if there any other schools you guys think of that might suit my desires, I'm open to suggestions.

In general, met isn't really a fallback. You really need to be committed to it. But if you're into some other kind of engineering and you like it, do that. Job prospects are much better in other engineering fields than in meteorology.

Univ of Washington definitely has some sort of Met program, might be only grad school, I'm not really sure.

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In general, met isn't really a fallback. You really need to be committed to it. But if you're into some other kind of engineering and you like it, do that. Job prospects are much better in other engineering fields than in meteorology.

This x100. The meteorology field today is very competitive and getting squeezed by both sides. Jobs are disappearing as technology (forecast automation) are taking over forecasting jobs, while at the same time there has been an influx (and more coming) of college graduates who are trying to find jobs. In order to find a meteorology job with a BS nowadays you need to have at least two of a few things.

1. Come from a good school

2. really good grades

3. connections

4. experience in the field. (internships, co-op programs etc.)

5. luck

I suggest you visit the AMS site, they have some good information about careers and they keeps tabs on which schools offer meteorology programs.

http://www.ametsoc.o...nter/index.html

And just for fun here is the WxChallenge Forecasting site where students and colleges compete in a yearly forecasting competition. The top schools for the competition can be found here (pick a year and submit "Team Standings"):

http://wxchallenge.c...ive_results.php

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I know this thread isn't 100% related to what my question is, but it was the first one to show up in my search so..... Here I go! I'm a junior in high school who is interested in Meteorology, but right now I'm thinking I may be inclined to major in Aerospace engineering as it is a subject I really enjoy as well and the job prospects seem somewhat better. It is obviously a bit early, but I am compiling a list of prospective colleges to look at/apply to... So far, these are some of the schools on my list..

-University of Texas

-University of Washington

-Georgia Tech

-Rice University

-University of California San Diego

As might be able to tell, I am not really into staying around New England, but that could change. So after all that background, my question becomes, do any of these schools have Meteorology programs, and if so, what are their reputations? If I start college and don't like Aerospace, it'd be good to have Met as a fallback. Also, if there any other schools you guys think of that might suit my desires, I'm open to suggestions.

You should check out Millersville University's met program too. There are tons of undergraduate research / internship opportunities that MU can assist you with.

Link to Earth Sciences dept: http://www.millersville.edu/esci/

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U of Washington has a well respected program. I know their grad program was always listed as one of the top 5 (along with PSU, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Colorado) when I was in school 10 years ago. GT also has a program...I know a guy who got his grad degree from there. Not sure how good their undergrad program is...probably middle of the road though.

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U of Washington has a well respected program. I know their grad program was always listed as one of the top 5 (along with PSU, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Colorado) when I was in school 10 years ago. GT also has a program...I know a guy who got his grad degree from there. Not sure how good their undergrad program is...probably middle of the road though.

GT is one of the best engineering schools in the country, but when talking to some people there when deciding where to go to school it seems like undergrad meteo there really isn't very good compared to some of the more well known meteo schools. It's best for the highly technical, research-oriented branch of meteo (definitely not communication/journalism).

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U of Washington has a well respected program. I know their grad program was always listed as one of the top 5 (along with PSU, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Colorado) when I was in school 10 years ago. GT also has a program...I know a guy who got his grad degree from there. Not sure how good their undergrad program is...probably middle of the road though.

Concur. The College of the Environment at Univ of Washington is excellent as is specifically the Department of Atmospheric Sciences. They have undergrad (BS in Atmospheric Sciences) and graduate programs. They also understand the matrixed nature of the modern atmospheric scientist and offer minors in climatology and meteorology as well as a dual major of a BS in Applied & Computer Math Science. They are heavy on research with long-standing colloborative programs with NOAA, JPL and JISAO. I am not an alum but worked with the Department for years. Very good.

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This x100. The meteorology field today is very competitive and getting squeezed by both sides. Jobs are disappearing as technology (forecast automation) are taking over forecasting jobs, while at the same time there has been an influx (and more coming) of college graduates who are trying to find jobs. In order to find a meteorology job with a BS nowadays you need to have at least two of a few things.

1. Come from a good school

2. really good grades

3. connections

4. experience in the field. (internships, co-op programs etc.)

5. luck

I suggest you visit the AMS site, they have some good information about careers and they keeps tabs on which schools offer meteorology programs.

http://www.ametsoc.o...nter/index.html

And just for fun here is the WxChallenge Forecasting site where students and colleges compete in a yearly forecasting competition. The top schools for the competition can be found here (pick a year and submit "Team Standings"):

http://wxchallenge.c...ive_results.php

The school factor is not too big, that tends to be more significant based on the location of where the job you're applying for is who where the boss or bosses went to school. If you're applying for a job in California and went to San Jose State you may be at a big advantage vs. the guy who went to Penn State...the opposite might be true for East Coast jobs. I've long said East Coast schools or ones like Wisconsin/OU in the middle of the nation may be the grads with edges because the vast majority of jobs in meteorology tend to seem to be east of the Mississippi outside of Boulder CO/Norman OK.

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GT is one of the best engineering schools in the country, but when talking to some people there when deciding where to go to school it seems like undergrad meteo there really isn't very good compared to some of the more well known meteo schools. It's best for the highly technical, research-oriented branch of meteo (definitely not communication/journalism).

I'd generally agree with this, as a GT grad student (engineering, not meteo - my interest here is purely as a hobbyist). If you have the resume to get in to AE from out-of-state, you should probably go with AE and not meteorology (it's under the Earth/Atmospheric Science department here).

The "pure" science programs here (especially in undergrad) tend to play second fiddle to the engineering programs. If you are interested in meteorology, you can still get a minor in EAS while getting an AE degree. If you combine that with the right internships, you would probably be able to land jobs at NOAA or JPL (or their contractors) that a lot of EAS majors would kill for.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 4 years later...

So I just stumbled across this thread, I’m going to Northern IL University in a month for meteorology and I keep seeing things like this that really want to make me reconsider. I know this was posted 8 years ago so I’m sure things have changed but if anyone has any insight into this I’d love to hear it, giving myself some other options just Incase sounds like the best bet to me right now but I’d love to hear any advice anyone may have. 

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On 10/1/2012 at 8:47 AM, Eskimo Joe said:

You should check out Millersville University's met program too. There are tons of undergraduate research / internship opportunities that MU can assist you with.

Link to Earth Sciences dept: http://www.millersville.edu/esci/

Yes Millersville is ever expanding their programs now introducing emergency planning and I believe a few others are in prospects down the road.

1 hour ago, CoalCityWxMan said:

So I just stumbled across this thread, I’m going to Northern IL University in a month for meteorology and I keep seeing things like this that really want to make me reconsider. I know this was posted 8 years ago so I’m sure things have changed but if anyone has any insight into this I’d love to hear it, giving myself some other options just Incase sounds like the best bet to me right now but I’d love to hear any advice anyone may have. 

I would go with your gut. Meteorology is a tough field to get into but dont let that take you down. Network yourself study hard to understand the content and if it is something you truly love to do you will not regret it. As for when you graduate start looking into internships Junior year make yourself known in many of the businesses (in private sector and government) go to conventions (AMS is great) get as much experience as you in different aspects of meteorology without running yourself crazy, again the material can be challenging at times. I personally was unsure what the field would look like my senior year I often looked around at different job prospects, many of which have been in the broadcasting portion of meteorology, which if that is what your interest is in there are quite a few openings. I myself wanted to do forecasting and more along the research/behind the scenes type of job but in order for me to do that in mainly the government I needed to go for masters which is in the near future just not the right time right now for me. The private sector is great but the openings arent quite as open and sometimes can be rigorous, went for an accuweather position did the whole interview out of 50 or so candidates 6 were chosen to come to the HQ to do an interview and get to know them took tests, did interviews, wrote out discussions and of the 6 two were chosen from different schools all around the country. Unfortunately the downside of first time being there was the unsure what to expect and found out after the process the pay rate which is comparable I feel to many other private sector forecasting companies for starting just ended up not working out in my favor but I didnt let that get me down. I spoke with my advisor and he guided me into the job I currently have which is working for the FAA as a weather observer. Could not thank him enough and even though it is not forecasting it gives me the freedom to do some research myself and better fine tune my forecasting skills in different locals of the country. Forecasting will still be a passion of mine as well as storm chasing but this is a more practical thing for me at this point until I am done with a masters degree to better make myself standout in the crowds of folks that go into the application process. It is no guarantee of course, but I love learning more and more about the field and will continue advancing my knowledge whether at this job or the next.

Hope this helps

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1 hour ago, so_whats_happening said:

Yes Millersville is ever expanding their programs now introducing emergency planning and I believe a few others are in prospects down the road.

I would go with your gut. Meteorology is a tough field to get into but dont let that take you down. Network yourself study hard to understand the content and if it is something you truly love to do you will not regret it. As for when you graduate start looking into internships Junior year make yourself known in many of the businesses (in private sector and government) go to conventions (AMS is great) get as much experience as you in different aspects of meteorology without running yourself crazy, again the material can be challenging at times. I personally was unsure what the field would look like my senior year I often looked around at different job prospects, many of which have been in the broadcasting portion of meteorology, which if that is what your interest is in there are quite a few openings. I myself wanted to do forecasting and more along the research/behind the scenes type of job but in order for me to do that in mainly the government I needed to go for masters which is in the near future just not the right time right now for me. The private sector is great but the openings arent quite as open and sometimes can be rigorous, went for an accuweather position did the whole interview out of 50 or so candidates 6 were chosen to come to the HQ to do an interview and get to know them took tests, did interviews, wrote out discussions and of the 6 two were chosen from different schools all around the country. Unfortunately the downside of first time being there was the unsure what to expect and found out after the process the pay rate which is comparable I feel to many other private sector forecasting companies for starting just ended up not working out in my favor but I didnt let that get me down. I spoke with my advisor and he guided me into the job I currently have which is working for the FAA as a weather observer. Could not thank him enough and even though it is not forecasting it gives me the freedom to do some research myself and better fine tune my forecasting skills in different locals of the country. Forecasting will still be a passion of mine as well as storm chasing but this is a more practical thing for me at this point until I am done with a masters degree to better make myself standout in the crowds of folks that go into the application process. It is no guarantee of course, but I love learning more and more about the field and will continue advancing my knowledge whether at this job or the next.

Hope this helps

Agreed.  I started in meteorology but transferred to Geography and then went through the MS, Emergency Management program at Millersville.  It's lead to a decent career.  Big message is that you have to be comfortable with moving a fair distance for your first job.  You might have to move cross country for a 'meh' position to put your time in.  If you're going to stick with meteorology that's great...seriously the field isn't all doom and gloom like some make it out to be.  You just have to find what keeps your interest going and push through hard.  Take internships, do research and don't forget about working started help desk positions for things like Raytheon (they make AWIPS) or Michael Baker.  My RA in college started in the private sector and it boosted his career quickly once he got into NWS.

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  • 2 years later...
On 12/18/2010 at 10:10 AM, Ellinwood said:

This, but more grammatically correct :D

I lol'd at the "forced into the private sector" part, like it was some sort of despicable evil.

Nearly all mets. work odd hours even into middle-aged or older years unless they land a top job or go into management. I happen to love my 2:30am-11:30am schedule because I get the afternoon off to do shopping when everyone's at work or I can go storm chasing :D

I'd like to get some data on the 21-25k salary range with poor raises, as I am rather skeptic about those figures. Maybe in certain companies...

The second to last paragraph about how everything's getting automated and that you need less forecasters to do the job is complete bull.

I'd like to hear what qualifies you to make all of the statements in your original post.

While it is still difficult to get a met job for those starting out, you'll have to make some sacrifices like living somewhere that you didn't want to or starting out in a part-time position, but if you really do like the weather and forecasting then stick with it.

The 21-25k is 100% reality for small to medium market broadcast careers (the majority across the US for first/second jobs). I was offered a 'raise' when moving from the weekend position to the morning position (at the channel which was the news leader in the area)... which amounted to a total of 22k up to 24k... do the math and you'll quickly realize that an extra $20 a month is still not much of a liveable salary. I made more as a waitress on weekends in college in between atmospheric physics and calc 3 classes hahaha. It's real. Dont be fooled. But also don't be disenchanted. Meteorology is a passion and will always be worth it if its truly what you want!

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On 10/25/2020 at 12:14 AM, Mcost said:

The 21-25k is 100% reality for small to medium market broadcast careers (the majority across the US for first/second jobs). I was offered a 'raise' when moving from the weekend position to the morning position (at the channel which was the news leader in the area)... which amounted to a total of 22k up to 24k... do the math and you'll quickly realize that an extra $20 a month is still not much of a liveable salary. I made more as a waitress on weekends in college in between atmospheric physics and calc 3 classes hahaha. It's real. Dont be fooled. But also don't be disenchanted. Meteorology is a passion and will always be worth it if its truly what you want!

Jesus....and Ellinwood's post was from ten years ago.  

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On 10/26/2020 at 5:05 PM, hazwoper said:

Jesus....and Ellinwood's post was from ten years ago.  

This is why a lot of meteorologists(broadcast mets especially, including myself) have left the business; it's not sustainable if you want to start a family, save for retirement, etc. 

Do I miss forecasting every day? Of course, but I also don't want to be working in my 70s(or until the day I die). 

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Welp currently a sophomore Met major at Millersville and this thread just made me wonder why I'm doing this. I've always had the passion to go into meteorology, I couldn't imagine doing anything else. But right now I'm minoring in Heliophysics/Space Weather. I hope to God I can find a job out there when that time comes. In the meantime, I'm just gonna work my butt off and try to market myself.

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12 hours ago, Newman said:

Welp currently a sophomore Met major at Millersville and this thread just made me wonder why I'm doing this. I've always had the passion to go into meteorology, I couldn't imagine doing anything else. But right now I'm minoring in Heliophysics/Space Weather. I hope to God I can find a job out there when that time comes. In the meantime, I'm just gonna work my butt off and try to market myself.

Hey thats awesome, I went to Millersville as well for my Met degree. During my time there was one student who had gone into minoring in Space weather, Mike something. I do not unfortunately know where his path has taken him other than he went onto graduate school to broaden his understanding of space weather; I believe he was in talks with the folks out in boulder, CO during the one space weather outings the class had taken. Yea study hard try to get into internship opportunities or research excursions to help give you a foot into something you may want to do. DeCaria was a tough one to deal with in thermodynamics but he usually does what he can to work with you. Sikora was my advisor and an awesome forecasting teacher he had helped me land a job coming out of school, not exactly where I was hoping but it essentially helped me get a foot in the door and meet new people that could help me in the long run. Stay strong push through and have fun with it was truly some good times going to Millersville.

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8 hours ago, so_whats_happening said:

Hey thats awesome, I went to Millersville as well for my Met degree. During my time there was one student who had gone into minoring in Space weather, Mike something. I do not unfortunately know where his path has taken him other than he went onto graduate school to broaden his understanding of space weather; I believe he was in talks with the folks out in boulder, CO during the one space weather outings the class had taken. Yea study hard try to get into internship opportunities or research excursions to help give you a foot into something you may want to do. DeCaria was a tough one to deal with in thermodynamics but he usually does what he can to work with you. Sikora was my advisor and an awesome forecasting teacher he had helped me land a job coming out of school, not exactly where I was hoping but it essentially helped me get a foot in the door and meet new people that could help me in the long run. Stay strong push through and have fun with it was truly some good times going to Millersville.

Nice to meet a fellow MU alum! Yeah I have DeCaria for Meteorology this semester and Cloud Physics next semester. It'll be interesting to take Radiative Transfer with Clark next semester as well :lol: Sikora is definitely my favorite prof in the department! Cool guy to talk to. But overall, it's been a blast and so much fun at Millersville. If any interested Met majors read this, go to Millersville! It's a smaller school atmosphere with big name professors that can get you places.

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I'm not sure if this will influence people or not in the times we are living in.  NWS workers are considered essential workers, thus have continued working throughout the pandemic.  And the vast majority of them remain in their offices as the agency is not setup for widespread working from home.

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I know this is an old thread (and unfortunately not a ton has changed over the past decade), but my two cents is if you're going to get a degree in Meteorology, it is important to supplement it with another marketable skill. Those include programming, GIS, business/finance, etc. depending on the path you choose. There is a lot of talk about how bad starting salaries are in this field and yes, there is a lot of truth to that, but you can do well if you look into the right places and are willing to expand your horizons.

If you want to go on TV, you are looking at salaries in the 20s or low 30s to start and will likely have to move to a small town in a different part of the country. There are opportunities to move up, but those jobs are highly competitive, so you will really have to hustle. Ultimately, due to low wages and station politics, many end up leaving this sector after a few years. If you end up in broadcast, I would recommend not getting fixated on market size; rather, focus on where you can get the most on-air experience. That will help you eventually move up.

The next main sector is operational forecasting and I'm bearish about long-term prospects here. Salaries are about the same or slightly higher than broadcast, but in many cases barely a livable wage and laughable for the work put in for the degree. You will be required to work overnights and weekends at most companies and this can take a major physical and mental toll. Not much upward mobility. NWS is a similar deal, however, the pay and benefits are much better and increase over time. To get in, you will likely need a couple years of experience in a private sector job or a Master's. Additionally, with automation becoming more and more prevalent, the demand for a large team of human forecasters is likely to decline, although there will still be a need. Overall, operational forecasting is a good way to get into the industry, but probably best to leave after a couple years.

What has changed in the past 10 years is the emergence of the Weather Risk sector. This is a program only offered at a few schools; Penn State pioneered the program and others have recently added it. Weather risk involves sectors including catastrophe modeling, travel risk management, energy and commodities, insurance, reinsurance, etc. In these sectors, the salaries are much higher (can easily pull six figures) and demand will continue to increase as businesses are forced to adapt to climate change. Overall, if you are planning on getting a degree in Meteorology, this is definitely the most fruitful path, BUT it is highly competitive. 

Long story short, I would say reconsider majoring in Meteorology if it forces you into tens of thousands of dollars into student debt and you end up in a sector with little-to-no upward mobility. The Math, Physics, Chem, Programming, Stats, and Business (in weather risk) classes you are required to take gives you a variety of skills that can easily be applied to other fields outside of Meteorology. If you do go through with the major, please consider the various sectors above and do what you can to network, get internships, and become involved in extracurricular activities in college so you can be a strong candidate once you graduate.

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On 11/7/2020 at 8:03 AM, LongIslandWx said:

I'm not sure if this will influence people or not in the times we are living in.  NWS workers are considered essential workers, thus have continued working throughout the pandemic.  And the vast majority of them remain in their offices as the agency is not setup for widespread working from home.

It's definitely important to consider, I'd argue all applicants should ask companies what they did to accommodate employees during COVID. Those that haven't done much to keep employees safe probably aren't enjoyable to work for.

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