Students generally get a meteorology and/or communications degree and weather broadcasting intern experience before starting a full time career in weather broadcasting. One big difference between applying for a weather broadcasting job as compared to other jobs is that not only is a resume’ needed but also a resume’ tape is needed. Often the resume’ tape is made during an internship, as a favor from a TV station or during a broadcasting practicum course. The resume’ tape is a critical component to a job application thus significant time and energy should be put into making a good one. Every weather broadcaster has their own unique career path. This writing focuses on general tendencies that occur on a typical career path.

The first job in weather broadcasting is typically gained at a small or medium sized market station or part time at a larger market station. Often this first job will combine weather broadcasting and reporting. Thus, it is important to emphasize reporting skills on the resume’. This first job is important for gaining experience. Some weather broadcasters will stay at a smaller market station for many years once a chief meteorologist position is obtained. Typically though, a small or medium sized market is either a stepping stone to a higher paying job in a larger market or ends up with the weather broadcaster deciding they want to go on a different career path. Thus, the small and medium sized stations often have a somewhat higher turnover as compared to large market stations. Often a person will gain a first job at a small or medium size market station and stay in that position for 2 to 5 years. Once the contract is up at this first job then the person will have their sights on moving up to a higher market since valuable experience has been gained in this first job.

The next step for the weather broadcaster is applying for jobs in larger market stations. During the later stages of the first job, the weather broadcaster likely has fulfilled the requirements for the National Weather Association (NWA) seal of approval or the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM). Along with an updated resume’ tape, these are both important credentials for gaining employment in a larger market. A weather broadcaster may stay in this higher market position for several years as the morning or chief meteorologist while some will look to move to an even higher market after gaining another several years of experience.

Weather broadcasting is a rating driven job thus job security relies on gaining a strong following. When working at a local station that is #1 in the market it is important to keep that #1 rating each year. When working at non #1 stations it is important to make some gains on the ranking within the local market. A strong broadcast meteorologist can help increase ratings thus these stations will look for broadcast meteorologists that can increase the ratings.

The next posting will focus on the challenges of having a career as a weather broadcaster.