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Stephanie Abrams 06-07-2011 06:53 PM

David wants to be a meteorologist.
I got the following email from David who has me confused with Stephanie Abrams the meteorologist. We talk about hurricanes, tornadoes, and other weather conditions that have impact on the traveler but we're all about travel and only partly about weather! But I promised David when I got this email that I would get a good answer for him. So watch for the expert answer which I hope we'll have for David pronto!
Here's his question:

Hi Stephanie,

I have a question about being a meteorologist. I have always dreamed of being [on TV], telling the forecast to the great number of people watching. Just like what you do. I am only 13 years old but I am very curious if this would be a good job for me and because we are doing an assignment on what we want to be when we grow up.

First of all, I have heard a meteorologist does not get paid much until they get into somewhere like The Weather Channel. Is that true?
Second, I was wondering what I would have to take in college to be able to give the forecast to people, like what you do.

Third, I was wondering how you got on TV doing the weather. Where did you graduate, what you studied in college, (journalism, etc) and how long you went to college, and where you went after college. Also what are the requirements to be a meteorologist on [TV]?

Lastly, I was wondering if you think it is very possible for me to be on The Weather Channel [or other TV weather show] someday. Do you think being a meteorologist would be a good choice? I hope so much to be on The Weather Channel after college! I would appreciate it so much if you answered this.



BillEvans 06-08-2011 05:11 AM

Dr. Bill Evans, Senior Meteorologist WABC-TV, NYC

I'm not Stephanie Abrams, but I can give you a little information.

Meteorologists like Stephanie Abrams and my self attended a 4-year college program in Meteorology. There are many great Meteorology schools across the country. You will want to get a degree in Meteorology. As you go to your senior year in college you can intern at a telelvision station and get valuable experience on-camera and you can also get broadcast experience at your college campus as many colleges have television studios that offer Broadcast Meteorology as a major.

Once you are out of school you can pursue getting a job and your career is off and running. The pay in any television career is equall with the size TV market or size town that you work in. Small towns offer smaller pay as larger towns or large markets offer larger pay. I personally never worried about the pay because I love Meteorology and always wanted to be a Meteorologist, so money was not the overriding factor in my career choice. I love doing the weather on television and radio. I get to help people everyday. I have never truly worked a day in my life because I love my job so much. I can't wait to get to work every day and I wake up at 2am to go to work! If you really love weather, you'll never work a day in your life either!

If you are ever in NYC and would love to come by WABC-TV for a tour of the weather office, please let me know.

Dr. Bill Evans
Senior Meteorologist
New York, NY

Stephanie Abrams 06-10-2011 04:51 PM

Thank you, Bill Evans, for giving your reply to David. It's a joy to have an expert of your caliber provide not only the information but also the offer for a behind-the-scenes tour of ABC-TV/NYC to David, our aspiring meteorologist!

I received an email from Wayne Presnell, Meteorologist at the national Weather Service who asked me to post his answers to the questions from David, our aspiring meteorologist:

Here's what Wayne Presnell had to say:
TV meteorologists in large markets such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc. can have a well above average salary. The smaller, the market, the less the salary generally. Another significant employer of meteorologists is the National Weather Service, a part of the U.S. Federal Government. Meteorologists for the National Weather Service make above average salaries as well.
Some universities offer an atmospheric sciences program. Within that program, some schools focus on operational meteorology (weather forecasting) and some focus on applied meteorology (research etc.). You will have to research the universities. There is quite a bit of math, other sciences such as chemistry and physics that you'll have to study along with the meteorology courses.

Some TV stations, networks require a degree in meteorology while some look more for a degree in journalism.

Meteorology is a great career if you have a passion for weather. A word of caution, most meteorologists work a rotating shift schedule. Weather is constant and someone has to be on duty 24/7 365 days per year. This means that if you go into weather forecasting (including TV), you'll likely have to work midnight to 8 am, or 6 am to 2 pm, or 4 pm to midnight and so on. You'll also have to work weekends and holidays and may be called in to work at inconvenient times. The shifts usually change from week to week so, you will not be on the same schedule. This is very difficult for the body to adjust to. Your body patterns; especially sleeping and eating, can get very weird. Many who work rotating shifts develop health problems as a result. It is something to consider before jumping into weather forecasting. aspiring meteorologist.

Wayne Presnell
National Weather Service
Marine & Coastal Services Branch
Spring, Maryland

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