A Degree in Meteorology...Pros / Cons

Hey everyone,
I know many of the members in here don't have meteorology degrees but for those of you who do or are on your way or can offer any help!...im looking for some advice...any advice really. I'm really wanting to go into the field of meteorology and have been accepted into OU's program for this fall, but I still have a few doubts and questions in my mind before I really dedicate myself to this. I know going into the field of meteorology isn't storm chasing, its much more... and I'm looking quite forward to that, but I'm just curious about a few things. I've listed some of the questions below, like I said, any advice or input would be greatly appreciated.
~ How much of the math is really used after you receive your degree?
~ How easy it to get a job after graduation?
~ What is the average salary? (i'd work for nothing, i love weather, but just for income reasons is why im asking)
~ Besides govt jobs and broadcasting, what else is out there?
~ Any pros / cons ?

Thanks for the help!
 
Advice from someone who didn't get a degree but wishes now he had....GET YOUR DEGREE....if not a degree in meteorology, earn a degree in something.

Look at me.....age 43, intelligent, extremely knowledgeble regarding meteorology, an accurate amateur forecaster with over three decades of dedicated, passionate weather/ storm research. During the past five years online, several professional meteorologists have emailed me seeking info on past tornado outbreaks they didn't know but I did. Three years ago, a veteran NWS meteorologist told me (in a chatroom) that I knew more about past major U.S. hurricanes than he did....or anyone on his staff. I've written severe storm related articles for NEMAS, for Storm2k, for Lou's Weather Watch; while not a pro, I know my stuff when it comes to storms and forecasting them.

Even so, I couldn't get a job doing weekend weather at the smallest tv market station in America (and forget NWS and NOAA); without a college degree, my weather career options are limited to:

a) write/ publish books on past storms or weather in general (something I'm seriously considering in the near future).

B) move to tornado alley and chase/ sell video I shoot (which would have to be a second job; it wouldn't pay the bills alone).

c) start up my own internet weather forecasting paysite; a very risky venture considering I have no professional experience/ reputation to lure paying clients with.


And before anyone says "wait PW, you can still go to college and get that meteorology degree"......as I said, I'm 43 years old (so IF I enrolled tomorrow, I'd be nearing 48 on graduation day). How many employers in the weather field are looking for newly graduated meteorologists in their late 40's?? (reality check.....about the same percentage as law firms seeking newly graduated attorneys in their late 40's --> zero).

As Chevy Chase said in the movie Caddyshack..."see your future....be your future". It's true....if you are 14, 16, 18, or 20 and want to be a pro meteorologist, you'd better get yourself into college and earn that degree. If you don't...no matter how much you learn about tornadoes, how much success you have chasing storms, how accurate your internet forecasts are; someday you'll be standing on the outside looking in (and it's not a very good view I can assure you :wink:
 
How much of the math is really used after you receive your degree?

Really depends on what you do with your degree. If you are making weather models you are going to use all that math and more. If you are taking weather observations expect to use very little. All that math your learn is good for more than just science though, it helps you in everyday life with problem solving

~ What is the average salary? (i'd work for nothing, i love weather, but just for income reasons is why im asking)

I did a meteorology internship and made $75 every two weeks. Don't worry, that is on the low side.
 
Originally posted by Mike Mezeul II

~ How much of the math is really used after you receive your degree?
As mentioned above, it depends on the job. If you are doing any type of research, or modelling (basically anything above a B.S.) you will probably use it some to a lot. If you are in operations, probably not much at all, if any.
~ How easy it to get a job after graduation?
I'm not exactly sure on the overall state of the job market, but the NWS is not hiring much at all lately, and I think there are budget concerns/cutbacks, but don't take my word as truth. Perhaps someone else can confirm the government job situation. That said, I tried many many times for Intern positions with the NWS, and even with five years of experience in satellite analysis with the Air Force, it was tough for me to crack the Top 10, and I only made the Top 3 (which you need to be to even get an interview/job possibility for the most part) once. I would think you would have to have excellent grades, a multitude of extra-curricular stuff, and job experience for an NWS job now, the competition for a very few amount of jobs is staggering. Even with a master's degree it is rough to get an intern position. Not saying it's impossible with a B.S., but pretty rough.

The private sector is a little better I think, there are a ton of companies out there, all specializing in various areas. I won't go into names since there are dozens. Most of my experience in applying is with the NWS (since I failed so many times :)), but now I work with a private company and am very happy.
~ What is the average salary? (i'd work for nothing, i love weather, but just for income reasons is why im asking)
Starting salaries range from the low 20s to the low 30s, straight out of school with no experience. Entry-level NWS will be at the GS-5 or 7 (in rare cases), so salary there is in the mid 20s or so. Private companies traditionally (i.e. when I was in school 5-7 years ago) paid a bit lower, but I think now are doing a bit better (I don't have any figures though, and would very much depend on the company). That said, benefits are a crucial thing to look at as well. The federal government benefits are hard to beat, though private companies can have some very attractive packages as well, and do better than the government on the medical side, especially dental/vision, and tuition assistance (i.e. they may pay for advanced education).
~ Besides govt jobs and broadcasting, what else is out there?
As I alluded to above, the private sector has been growing rapidly over the past few years, and will likely be the biggest source of jobs for the forseeable future.
~ Any pros / cons ?
Pros: If you truly love weather, it will be difficult to find a weather-related job you will be unhappy in, and as you mentioned, it doesn't get any better to get paid for something you love to do.
Cons: While you definitely will not be making the big bucks of some other professions, salaries in the 40-60k range are very possible after maybe 5-15 years of experience (depending very much so on where you work, what you do, etc.), with only a B.S. degree.
 
Advice from someone who didn't get a degree but wishes now he had....GET YOUR DEGREE....if not a degree in meteorology, earn a degree in something.

Look at me.....age 43, intelligent, extremely knowledgeble regarding meteorology, an accurate amateur forecaster with over three decades of dedicated, passionate weather/ storm research. During the past five years online, several professional meteorologists have emailed me seeking info on past tornado outbreaks they didn't know but I did. Three years ago, a veteran NWS meteorologist told me (in a chatroom) that I knew more about past major U.S. hurricanes than he did....or anyone on his staff. I've written severe storm related articles for NEMAS, for Storm2k, for Lou's Weather Watch; while not a pro, I know my stuff when it comes to storms and forecasting them.

Even so, I couldn't get a job doing weekend weather at the smallest tv market station in America (and forget NWS and NOAA); without a college degree, my weather career options are limited to:

a) write/ publish books on past storms or weather in general (something I'm seriously considering in the near future).

B) move to tornado alley and chase/ sell video I shoot (which would have to be a second job; it wouldn't pay the bills alone).

c) start up my own internet weather forecasting paysite; a very risky venture considering I have no professional experience/ reputation to lure paying clients with.


And before anyone says "wait PW, you can still go to college and get that meteorology degree"......as I said, I'm 43 years old (so IF I enrolled tomorrow, I'd be nearing 48 on graduation day). How many employers in the weather field are looking for newly graduated meteorologists in their late 40's?? (reality check.....about the same percentage as law firms seeking newly graduated attorneys in their late 40's --> zero).

As Chevy Chase said in the movie Caddyshack..."see your future....be your future". It's true....if you are 14, 16, 18, or 20 and want to be a pro meteorologist, you'd better get yourself into college and earn that degree. If you don't...no matter how much you learn about tornadoes, how much success you have chasing storms, how accurate your internet forecasts are; someday you'll be standing on the outside looking in (and it's not a very good view I can assure you :wink:

I just attended a friend's graduation at U of H a week ago. He is thrilled to now hold his History degree and is already perusing the local school districts for his dream job...teaching History to high schoolers (his dream, my nightmare, LOL!). He did 23 years in the military and graduated at age 47. It has jump started something in me, why should I hold out? While I would have to drive to College Station to get the schooling I desire (Met school of course), and math is my WEAKEST subject to boot...I am still looking into it. Frankly I am tired of being intimidated by letters and numbers (Math) and not knowing how to read all the data I have at my disposal. I am a bright woman, just haven't had to turn on the "study capabilities" in 2 decades. Just because Algebra kicked my butt in 1982 doesn't mean it will now.
I have 3 (almost 4) kids college age, none has gone on to pursue higher education. So, why shouldn't Mom? I have thought along the lines as you about age at graduation and also, how to keep afloat financially and still go to school. But it all boils down to what is most important to you. I am almost 39.
Go for it, I just might! :wink:
 
~ How much of the math is really used after you receive your degree?
As mentioned above, it depends on the job. If you are doing any type of research, or modelling (basically anything above a B.S.) you will probably use it some to a lot. If you are in operations, probably not much at all, if any.
~ How easy it to get a job after graduation?
I'm not exactly sure on the overall state of the job market, but the NWS is not hiring much at all lately, and I think there are budget concerns/cutbacks, but don't take my word as truth. Perhaps someone else can confirm the government job situation. That said, I tried many many times for Intern positions with the NWS, and even with five years of experience in satellite analysis with the Air Force, it was tough for me to crack the Top 10, and I only made the Top 3 (which you need to be to even get an interview/job possibility for the most part) once. I would think you would have to have excellent grades, a multitude of extra-curricular stuff, and job experience for an NWS job now, the competition for a very few amount of jobs is staggering. Even with a master's degree it is rough to get an intern position. Not saying it's impossible with a B.S., but pretty rough.

The private sector is a little better I think, there are a ton of companies out there, all specializing in various areas. I won't go into names since there are dozens. Most of my experience in applying is with the NWS (since I failed so many times :)), but now I work with a private company and am very happy.
~ What is the average salary? (i'd work for nothing, i love weather, but just for income reasons is why im asking)
Starting salaries range from the low 20s to the low 30s, straight out of school with no experience. Entry-level NWS will be at the GS-5 or 7 (in rare cases), so salary there is in the mid 20s or so. Private companies traditionally (i.e. when I was in school 5-7 years ago) paid a bit lower, but I think now are doing a bit better (I don't have any figures though, and would very much depend on the company). That said, benefits are a crucial thing to look at as well. The federal government benefits are hard to beat, though private companies can have some very attractive packages as well, and do better than the government on the medical side, especially dental/vision, and tuition assistance (i.e. they may pay for advanced education).
~ Besides govt jobs and broadcasting, what else is out there?
As I alluded to above, the private sector has been growing rapidly over the past few years, and will likely be the biggest source of jobs for the forseeable future.
~ Any pros / cons ?
Pros: If you truly love weather, it will be difficult to find a weather-related job you will be unhappy in, and as you mentioned, it doesn't get any better to get paid for something you love to do.
Cons: While you definitely will not be making the big bucks of some other professions, salaries in the 40-60k range are very possible after maybe 5-15 years of experience (depending very much so on where you work, what you do, etc.), with only a B.S. degree.
 
~ How much of the math is really used after you receive your degree?
~ How easy it to get a job after graduation?
~ What is the average salary? (i'd work for nothing, i love weather, but just for income reasons is why im asking)
~ Besides govt jobs and broadcasting, what else is out there?
~ Any pros / cons ?

I've been out of college for a year, as unbelievable as that sounds to me, so I'll see what I can help with.

As far as the math, if you're not going into research/modeling or some related sub-field, don't count on using it again. Thankfully!

I had a very easy time getting a job, but I was in the weather service's student employment program, which has unfortunately suffered in recent years due to budget shortfalls.

Going into the government, you're probably going to start at a GS-5, which would average somewhere in the neighborhood of $25K/year give or take a few K depending on locality pay. In the government, though, you advance very quickly, and the benefits and job security are terrific. Private sector jobs are going to be fairly comparable for starting pay, but your benefits, job security, and advancement aren't going to be as good. The potential exists to make more money in broadcasting, but the job security is terrible and you really have to get into a fairly large market to start pulling down the big bucks.

As I've mentioned, besides government and broadcasting there is a healthy private sector. On the whole, you won't advance as quickly, most likely, and your benefits won't be as good, but there are significant opportunities that merit close inspection.

The biggest pro is that you get to wake up every day and go to a job that you love, doing what you've always dreamed of doing. That makes just about any con incredibly easy to deal with...but if I had to pick one, I'd say shift work. I like rotating shifts, since I get bored with one routine, but it can be hard on you, and studies suggest it is hard on your health. I'd venture to say, though, that even harder on one's health would be settling for something less than they want.

College is going to chew you up and spit you out. Don't let it beat you. ;)

Take charge and create your own opportunities. You'll thank yourself in the long run.
 
I just attended a friend's graduation at U of H a week ago. He is thrilled to now hold his History degree and is already perusing the local school districts for his dream job...teaching History to high schoolers (his dream, my nightmare, LOL!). He did 23 years in the military and graduated at age 47. It has jump started something in me, why should I hold out? While I would have to drive to College Station to get the schooling I desire (Met school of course), and math is my WEAKEST subject to boot...I am still looking into it. Frankly I am tired of being intimidated by letters and numbers (Math) and not knowing how to read all the data I have at my disposal. I am a bright woman, just haven't had to turn on the "study capabilities" in 2 decades. Just because Algebra kicked my butt in 1982 doesn't mean it will now.
I have 3 (almost 4) kids college age, none has gone on to pursue higher education. So, why shouldn't Mom? I have thought along the lines as you about age at graduation and also, how to keep afloat financially and still go to school. But it all boils down to what is most important to you. I am almost 39.
Go for it, I just might! :wink:

Carrie, if math is not your strong point, you may want to look into getting a degree from Mississippi State. From what I've heard, it is not a math-based program and teaches more pattern recognition type stuff. Of course, your job choices may be slightly limited, but it might be a more obtainable degree. This is coming from someone that is fairly sufficient at math and struggled somewhat at OU. However, if you really put the time and your mind into it, you can do it. If I recall, the Mississippi State program may have an online option, which would be a big help also. Good luck with whatever you decide.
 
Strongly recommend you get a degree in meteorology if you wish to have a career in the field.

There are many good jobs in the field of commercial meteorology, something that has not been mentioned in the posts to date.

However, if you want a job in meteorology without getting a degree in meteorology you could get a degree in business and create a weather - related company. You could hire meteorologists.

Think outside the box!

GOOD LUCK!!
Mike
 
~ How much of the math is really used after you receive your degree?

Depends... in the research field, quite a bit. While you can look at it in numbers and equations... I look at it as a way of thinking. You'll get experience in critical thinking. SOmething that should come in handy for any job other than a supermarket bagboy.

~ How easy it to get a job after graduation?

It's very competitive. Build skill sets in the computer/programming field and you will put yourself in front of the pack.

~ What is the average salary?

Depends on the job. I've heard some extremely scary starting numbers from one company, while another offers very decent pay to newcomers.
I myself am not making big bucks (grad assistant stipend), but on the same token I'm not poor either. School pays my tuition (still look at $1-2k in fees each year) and a competitive stipend on top of that. Includes student health insurance which covers the basics... but is far from perfect.


~ Besides govt jobs and broadcasting, what else is out there?

Tons of private sector companies out there... and of course research/teaching positions at universities.

~ Any pros / cons ?

Do it because you love it... not for the money.
 
Originally posted by Pete Johnson+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Pete Johnson)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-Carrie Halliday
I just attended a friend's graduation at U of H a week ago. He is thrilled to now hold his History degree and is already perusing the local school districts for his dream job...teaching History to high schoolers (his dream, my nightmare, LOL!). He did 23 years in the military and graduated at age 47. It has jump started something in me, why should I hold out? While I would have to drive to College Station to get the schooling I desire (Met school of course), and math is my WEAKEST subject to boot...I am still looking into it. Frankly I am tired of being intimidated by letters and numbers (Math) and not knowing how to read all the data I have at my disposal. I am a bright woman, just haven't had to turn on the \"study capabilities\" in 2 decades. Just because Algebra kicked my butt in 1982 doesn't mean it will now.
I have 3 (almost 4) kids college age, none has gone on to pursue higher education. So, why shouldn't Mom? I have thought along the lines as you about age at graduation and also, how to keep afloat financially and still go to school. But it all boils down to what is most important to you. I am almost 39.
Go for it, I just might! :wink:

Carrie, if math is not your strong point, you may want to look into getting a degree from Mississippi State. From what I've heard, it is not a math-based program and teaches more pattern recognition type stuff. Of course, your job choices may be slightly limited, but it might be a more obtainable degree. This is coming from someone that is fairly sufficient at math and struggled somewhat at OU. However, if you really put the time and your mind into it, you can do it. If I recall, the Mississippi State program may have an online option, which would be a big help also. Good luck with whatever you decide.[/b]

I have heard of the MS State program, but was under the impression that was for Broadcast Meteorology only. I will check into it. Thanks Pete!
 
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