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Meteorological Technician

Mr. Tornado

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Hey everyone,

Figured I would start a thread since it's a fairly niche occupation with only ~40 ppl selected across Canada every year and I wasn't able to find any information specific to this occupation. First question is, what does the day-to-day of a Met Tech look like and what can you expect?

Secondly, I applied for the Met Tech Full Time Regular forces for army and currently in the "Final Processing" bin. A PLAR is in progress (for two weeks now) and I am in the accelerated processing program (everything is moving pretty fast). I'm wondering if anyone knows how long it can take to move from final processing to getting on the competition list (like I said it's been a few weeks since PLAR was submitted). And, once I'm on the competition list, how long does it take to get selected & get an offer?

I know it varies, but considering my application is being accelerated, are we talking a matter of weeks or months to go from the "Final Processing" bin to the "Selected" bin? Anyone have any ideas?

Thanks!
 
Figured I would start a thread since it's a fairly niche occupation with only ~40 ppl selected across Canada every year and I wasn't able to find any information specific to this occupation. First question is, what does the day-to-day of a Met Tech look like and what can you expect?
I've been a Met Tech for the last 23 years, so I can hopefully give you some idea about what the occupation is like.

As things currently stand, the job you will most likely have after completing training is weather observer at one of the Wings. Essentially the job is observing, recording, and transmitting the current weather condition on the airfield. In good weather it's slow and boring, during bad weather it's hectic and can be very interesting. There is essentially zero middle ground with the job though, it's busy or dull. Typically you work in 8 hour shifts, but staffing shortages occasionally mean you'll end up working 12 hour shifts.

If you don't go to a wing, you'll likely end up in Gagetown at the Join Meteorological Centre. Shifts at the JMC vary between observing for helicopter flights at 403 Sqn, and working one of the regional weather briefing desks. At JMC there are generally 3 or more people per shift, not counting the ECCC forecasters working in the same space.

There are some opportunities for working in a METOC (Meteorology and Oceanography) center or an artillery Met section, but the tendency is for people with a few years of experience to go to those sections rather than fresh new members.

After a few years as an observer/briefer you will be selected to be loaded on the forecasting course. Right now it's a 5.5 month long course in Winnipeg. After completing forecasting your options open up, and you can request to go to CANSOFCOM or ships. I highly recommend pursuing either of those options when given the opportunity, as they both offer the most interesting and rewarding jobs in the occupation.

One question, you mentioned a PLAR. What is your background that you are requesting be PLAR'd?
 
Thank you for your reply. The PLAR was requested after my interview as I have a Bachelor's degree related to meteorology. I also have years of related work experience in meteorology/forecasting and research in atmospheric sciences. I was told they may skip the 20wks of training in Winnipeg altogether or at least half of it, but I'm not counting on it. I am hoping, with my experience (especially in the field), that I will be able to participate in military exercises and conduct a lot of field work as a Met Tech. I applied for the army, I'm not interested in being aboard a vessel or issuing forecasts for the air force, but I understand it's likely part of it.

I'm thinking the PLAR will determine I can skip the weather observing and go straight into briefing and/or forecasting, but I'm also hoping to be put into the field as a Met Tech (working on equipment or assisting in military exercises) in any way possible. I guess we'll see!
 
Thank you for your reply. The PLAR was requested after my interview as I have a Bachelor's degree related to meteorology. I also have years of related work experience in meteorology/forecasting and research in atmospheric sciences. I was told they may skip the 20wks of training in Winnipeg altogether or at least half of it, but I'm not counting on it. I am hoping, with my experience (especially in the field), that I will be able to participate in military exercises and conduct a lot of field work as a Met Tech. I applied for the army, I'm not interested in being aboard a vessel or issuing forecasts for the air force, but I understand it's likely part of it.

I'm thinking the PLAR will determine I can skip the weather observing and go straight into briefing and/or forecasting, but I'm also hoping to be put into the field as a Met Tech (working on equipment or assisting in military exercises) in any way possible. I guess we'll see!
Please don't take this news in a discouraging way, but the opportunities for field work are pretty limited at this time. With advances in computer models making them better than ever, Met Techs rarely go to the field with the guns to launch balloons for ballistic Met. The future of the occupation is more in the briefing/forecasting world, than in the data collection world. That said, as a forecaster with CANSOFCOM you may have opportunities to spend time in the field doing data collection, and briefing/forecasting support. You may find that helping shape the plan as a forecaster/briefer is more rewarding that you expect, I know I did.

Also, as a "purple" occupation your choice of DEU doesn't have a whole lot of impact on where you end up working. We have lots of CA, and RCN DEU people working on air bases, and RCAF DEU people working with the CA and RCN. I spent five years sailing as an air force DEU Sgt, and prior to that I working with the artillery as an air force Cpl.

I'm not saying this to discourage you from continuing with your application, my goal is to help you get an idea of the reality of the job rather than what the glossy brochure says. If you have an interest in meteorology, and want to be in the CAF, Met Tech is definitely the right choice.
 
I appreciate that since information is difficult to find and recruiters don't have that experience so can't really help. I am hoping Met Tech with CAF is a middle ground between an Operational Meteorologist and a Meteorological Technologist with ECCC (where as an Op Met has 0 field work and Met Tech has 80% field work, so CAF Met Tech would be more like an Op Met but with field work opportunities here and there), but having worked neither, it's just an assumption. Apologize, I am not familiar with the abbreviations, but I think I get the gist of what you are saying. I'm hoping that the perhaps lack of field work as a Met Tech specifically, will be compensated by the overall nature of the CAF environment, which involves a lot of work in-the-field. But again, these are all assumptions.
 
My bad, I shouldn't have used abbreviations and acronyms.

Please don't take this news in a discouraging way, but the opportunities for field work are pretty limited at this time. With advances in computer models making them better than ever, Met Techs rarely go to the field with the guns to launch balloons for ballistic Met. The future of the occupation is more in the briefing/forecasting world, than in the data collection world. That said, as a forecaster with Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) you may have opportunities to spend time in the field doing data collection, and briefing/forecasting support. You may find that helping shape the plan as a forecaster/briefer is more rewarding that you expect, I know I did.

Also, as a "purple" occupation your choice of Distinctive Environmental Uniform (DEU) doesn't have a whole lot of impact on where you end up working. We have lots of Canadian Army (CA), and Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) DEU people working on air bases, and Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) DEU people working with the CA and RCN. I spent five years sailing as an air force DEU Sergeant (Sgt), and prior to that I working with the artillery as an air force Corporal (Cpl).

I'm not saying this to discourage you from continuing with your application, my goal is to help you get an idea of the reality of the job rather than what the glossy brochure says. If you have an interest in meteorology, and want to be in the CAF, Met Tech is definitely the right choice.

Met Tech is the CAF is definitely a mix of the two jobs you mentioned, though in the beginning of your career it will mostly be more technologist type work, weather observing and basic maintenance of kit. If you go to Gagetown for a first posting you'd likely also get qualified to launch balloons to support the artillery and UAVs.

There are opportunities to do fun or interesting courses int he CAF. I was trained to drive a tracked light armoured vehicle for my deployment to Kandahar, and have done firefighting and flood control training a few times as part of the requirements to sail on ship. Like all jobs there are down times, and it can become dull, but with a new positing you can end up in an entirely new environment with a new job to learn.
 
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