Transition into weather with no education and experience?19 May , 2012 | 3
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?