Ready for Ramen? The Starting Salary of a Broadcast Meteorologist

It looks like such a glamorous career with the bright studio lights and television cameras, broadcasting live to homes every morning and evening. Many students are drawn to the profession because they think they’ll find fame and fortune. Well you might get some fame, but the fortune part is a little bit harder.

Your starting salary as a broadcast meteorologist will likely be between $19,000 and $24,000. I’ve seem some mets start out with more, and others offered even less, but in my best guess, this is what you should plan on for the first two years out of college.

It all revolves around the perception of local news. The public, in general, is under the impression that we make more, which makes more students coming out of high school want to join the field. After graduation you’ll find that there are likely more mets than jobs to place them all, which creates a glut of talent at the bottom. With dozens of eager mets all competing for the same open spot, News Directors have the power to offer very little for the position. If you won’t work for $20,000, there are a bunch of others that will. Its not like small market stations are making that much money to begin with anyway.

Once you’ve been in the biz for a few years, and you’ve proven yourself, things can get better, but even that is no guarantee. Many broadcast meteorologists climb the DMA ladder, going from market to bigger market, improving their paycheck as they go. Keep in mind that there are fewer spots at the top, and they are sometimes less secure, so there are certainly trade-offs for chasing the end of the rainbow.

The first few years can be difficult, but if you go in knowing what to expect, it could be a little easier. With college loans coming due and the challenge of possibly having to find a roommate in a town you don’t know very well, it could scare some good mets away before they even get started. Graduate school quickly feels a whole lot safer.

In the end, the broadcast meteorologists that make it and do well, do so because they love what they do (or they are really good looking). Don’t get into the field if you are looking to get rich or be a big star. If you really have a passion for telling people about the weather, the rest usually takes care of itself. Things have a way of working out, most of the time.

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2 thoughts on “Ready for Ramen? The Starting Salary of a Broadcast Meteorologist

  1. I would have never guessed people who work on TV would have such a tough starting salary. But you’re right Dan, almost any income number can be enough if you a) love what you do and b) can reduce your expenses. Ramen is only the beginning of the hundreds of small changes you can make to lower the cost of your lifestyle.

    It seems like far too many people can’t be honest about what they make, what they did make, or what the pay possibilities are for someone looking to get into their field. It’s important information Dan, and I’m glad that you are one of the ones willing to share it.

    Thanks for doing what you do Dan, and for preparing people for the realities that come with pursuing their dreams. That is just as essential as inspiration. Maybe even more so.

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