Do you ever dream of a situation where you can enjoy the thrill of adventure, boost scientific understanding of how the world works, and make an income all at the same time? If you’ve ever thought of being a storm chaser, then you already have!
Dreaming is one thing. Actually knowing how to become a storm chaser is quite another, but it is very possible if you take the right steps.
Three Ways to Become a Storm Chaser
Being a storm chaser doesn’t just mean you’ll wind up on the Weather Channel. In fact, Job Monkey lists three ways you might become a storm chaser:
- Be a Meteorologist: Meteorologists aren’t just hired by news stations. Many colleges and universities also employ them for purely scientific research.
- Storm Photojournalism or Videography: Scary or dramatic footage and images of tornados and storms is a constant ratings winner for the Weather Channel. Many movies and television programs also need such imagery as well.
- Storm-Chasing Tourism: Lead thrill-seekers on a day they’re sure to remember by chasing down storms with them to give them memories they’ll never forget.
Learning About Storm Chasing
Expect to encounter some resistance to pursuing this career path. Weather Stationary reports that the National Weather Service actively discourages people from trying to get close to active storm cells, especially severe ones. Having said that, the NWS also provides training for spotting thunderstorms and tornadoes.
Prove That You’re Serious
Popular Mechanics suggests finding a mentor who can train you in this. Get to know the storm-chasing community and introduce yourself to as many professionals as you can.
If you actually make it as a storm chaser, remember that your work is only as good as the measurements and photos you take. Having a reputable source of quality equipment is crucial to everything from your data collection to your career success. Even if you’re geared up well now, this can be a rough line of work that causes damage or destruction to things, so it’s useful to know where to turn for replacements and upgrades.
Think Hard About This
Storm chasing isn’t for the faint of heart. Then again, it might not be appropriate for adrenaline seekers either. People in this field do die at times, as tornados are among nature’s most lethal forces.
Making money in this field can also be tough. Professionals working in storm-chasing meteorology can hit $50-$75K in annual income. However, this is a niche field that doesn’t have many openings. The sectors for storm-chasing tourism and photos or videos are also very competitive.
If you want to know how to become a genuine storm chaser, then you should pursue a degree or education in meteorology. Once in the industry, work your way towards the niche of storm chasing up and down the Great Plains to learn more about tornados and storms and predicting both.
If you want to take a non-scientific approach to storm chasing, then look into starting up a tourist firm leading clients around in search of personally witnessing a tornado. Also, consider getting into storm photography or filming to sell your work.