Today's Edition About us Local Opinion Obits Sports Things to do Classifieds Newsletters Podcasts Contact us

RIGHT AS RAIN: Interest in weather can lead to career

by Maddie Est | September 17, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Maddie Est

For many aspiring meteorologists, a career post-college graduation can mean one of four things: television, the National Weather Service, the private sector or academia.

Many meteorology students know exactly what avenue they want to pursue before they ever step foot on a college campus. Maybe they grew up watching the local television meteorologist and idolized the individual on the screen, or maybe the thought of determining what areas are at the greatest risk for severe weather encourages the student to become the best at forecasting, driving them to the National Weather Service.

Other students and early career professionals have no idea what they want to do. Often, these individuals saw their passion for weather sparked by a particular weather event rather than a specific career choice within the scope of meteorology.

For me, the Joplin tornado of 2011 and subsequent media coverage solidified my passion for the weather. While I grew up watching local television meteorologists, it was not until high school that I began to learn what being a meteorologist could mean.

Students interested in pursuing a career in meteorology often will reach out to local meteorologists either through a television station or National Weather Service office to shadow working meteorologists. While shadowing staff can provide insight in the day-to-day life of a meteorologist, it will often take more than one day to understand how different each work day can be based on the weather. Some television stations will provide short-term internships for students interested in pursuing a career in broadcast television.

While these internships can be very competitive to secure, they can serve as a wonderful stepping stone into a broadcast meteorology career. For students interested in the National Weather Service, joining their Student Volunteer Service allows greater insight into the inner workings of the agency. Either option will help interested parties form relationships within the field.

Gaining experience in the private sector or in academia can be more difficult for some. It is not uncommon for undergraduate students to find their niche early in their studies and pursue research opportunities for that topic. If the passion for research is present, academia may be a viable option for that student. As for the private sector, any related experience can set a candidate apart from others during an interview. While these two areas do not necessarily always offer a form of internship, many professors and private sector companies allow job shadows of their daily work.

For aspiring meteorologists, the most important thing to focus on is your education. Make sure to ask questions about the topics being studied, and take time to learn from practiced meteorologists. While choosing a career path will happen, it does not need to be the main focus for students. Sometimes, forming professional relationships can lead to more opportunities for new graduates entering the workforce.

Maddie Est has worked as a broadcast meteorologist and marine meteorologist since graduating from the University of Missouri in 2021. She has worked with the Missouri Climate Center and conducted research on atmospheric blocking while at MU.

Print Headline: Interestin weather can leadto career


Sponsor Content