Transition into weather with no education and experience?

19   May ,  2012 | 4

It’s pretty awesome to see how much passion there is for weather from all walks of life.   Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve met and spoken to many young students, mid level professionals, and older individuals who are excited and passionate about the weather space.   It’s phenomenal.

Interestingly enough, in the last few weeks, I’ve received quite a few emails of folks who are looking for ways/strategies to transition into the weather industry without any weather education/experience whatsoever.   They want to follow their passion of becoming a meteorologist…it’s commendable!

Everyone I’ve spoken to has their own individual situation at hand.  Some have hit a dead end and want to enter a job/career that’s full filling.   Others say weather is something they’ve always had a passion for and they are ready to commit now 100%.   Some of those folks are married with kids and are unfortunately tied to a single location.  Others are willing to move and do whatever it takes to make it work.   To each it’s own.

My advice to those who are transitioning into meteorology with no degree and no experience is to figure out what is it about meteorology that inspires you.  Have a game plan and goal in mind….and put it down on paper.  Is it severe weather?  Tornado chasing?  Are you interested in TV, Energy, Wind, Solar, Forensic, Marine, Aviation, NWS/Operational, private consulting, or maybe even weather risk/derivatives?  First and foremost figure out what you like.

Next, I would research in depth the sector you like and figure out what it takes to break in.  To start, you can go through the different categories on my blog.  Also, check out the AMS/NWA websites, job boards, and meteorology programs offered at various universities to get a sense of what type of programs/jobs are available.   Start picking up the phone and calling folks in the field.  See what they like and dislike about their jobs.

For folks interested in TV, you may want to try the online Mississippi State route (if you need to get some sort of credential) a quick and dirty way.  The issue with the online credential (among others) is if you ever decide to leave TV, it’s going to be extremely difficult to get any forecasting job at private companies/government in today’s economic environment.   They generally require a minimum BS degree in Meteorology unless you have many years of meteorology experience under your belt.

Let’s face it, it’s hard for degreed meteorologists to get meteorology jobs these days.   But I would say the ideal field to transition from into meteorology would be Computer Science.   As I’ve talked about numerous times in this blog, companies would be lining up around the block to hire you if you had a Computer Science/Meteorology degree and can code well.

For those folks who have received a BS degree in another field, and are looking to break into Meteorology…I would advise getting a Masters in Meteorology.  It’s two years and if you can get through the rigorous coursework with an internship on the side…you’re definitely moving in the right direction.   Experience matters too…so the more internships you can do while you’re in school…the better off you are.

Bottom line, in today’s economic climate…we all know there are very few job openings and hundreds of applicants for each meteorology job requisition.   That’s just the reality of the market…especially in operational forecasting jobs.  We have an oversupply of talent with little to no work available.  So, I would also caution those who are interested in making the switch to also take into consideration the reality on the ground today.

But it sure is nice to see a very dedicated and inspired group who are passionate about the weather and are willing to bend over backwards, change careers, and go wherever life takes them to achieve their dreams.  Keep that fire burning!

How would you advise your buddy or friend who wants to transition today?

Posted by AJ on May 19, 2012

  • The Weatherman

    Hi AJ,will any universities open up new meteorology programs? Who already has meteorology as a minor ? And can you work with a minor in meteorology as an energy trader, in weather derivatives, or as an NWS Forecaster.(Loved your post on forensic meteorology, thanks for that)

    The Weatherman

  • Jason

    Hi AJ, I just found your blog and I love it! Another way to get into meteorology, the way I did it, is to go through the military. The Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard all have meteorologist. Thanks to my experience in the Air Force, I was able to get a job at one of the worlds leading aviation companies as a meteorologist. The training is very demanding and intense so it’s not for everybody.

    • freshAJ

      Thanks Jason…appreciate it. Also thanks for your perspective.

  • Luce

    HI AJ, I know this blog was written about two years ago, but I wanted to try and still see if I could get your opinion/advice. I’m a recent meteorology graduate and its hard for me to land a job. I graduated about 6 months ago. I applied to various internships but never got hired while in college. So I have no internship experience. I have some experience on the green screen, but my professor kept that footage and im attempting to have him give me some sort of access or hardcopy of it. I participitated in extracurricular science activities with the meteorology club at my school and with a science organization my professor runs while in school. I had the chance to do a small research project with NWS over the summer before my last semester in college. I dont have much programming experience… I feel like im at a loss. Do you think it would be wise to try and get internships at TV stations here in my hometown? Some of my former classmates keep telling me to be persistent, but im not sure if I can anymore since I already graduated. My second question is do you think it would be convenient to go into a masters of science in computer science to open up job prospects? Wish I could have found your blog 2 years ago…