The three primary Seals and Certifications in broadcast weather:
(1) National Weather Association (NWA) seal of approval
(2) American Meteorological Society (AMS) seal of approval
(3) AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM)
Reasons that seals and certifications are important:
1. It is evidence of accomplishment. It shows you have been judged by peers in broadcast meteorology to be a competent and knowledgeable weather broadcaster.
2. They can lead to promotions or the ability to get a job at a larger market.
3. In theory, the display of the seal or certification on air will cause the viewers to respect you more than if you did not have it.
4. Seal or certification holder is made to stay up to date in meteorology knowledge in order to keep the honor. This is done by attending workshops, continuing education in meteorology, conferences, etc.
5. The AMS seal or AMS CBM can be used as a way to distinguish between weathercasters and broadcast meteorologists. The NWA seal can be used to distinguish between general weathercasters and weathercasters that have a working knowledge of meteorology concepts and have been judged as quality weathercasters.
Reasons that seals and certifications are a waste of time and money:
1. In general, the hiring of a weather broadcaster is not contingent on having them. Often TV stations do not want to be dictated to by the organizations awarding these seals and certifications. They feel they have a right to hire whoever they think is best for the job regardless of seals and certifications.
2. They keep changing the standards, notably making the standards harder over time. The standards have changed so much over the last 25 years that for any one person you have no idea how easy or difficult it was for them to obtain their seal or certification.
3. The money and fees give the feeling of a profit ploy.
4. There are elitist and exclusionary attitudes within some ranks of the AMS. The AMS has elevated education standards so high for selected broadcasters as to exclude many from ever having a realistic chance to get the CBM.
5. The weather broadcaster and the organization issuing the seal or certification are often the only people that know what the seal or certification means. Often TV viewers do not know what the weather broadcaster had to do in order to get a particular seal or certification.
6. Numerous others factors determine a weather broadcasters success and contribution to ratings besides having the seal or certification.
7. There is subjectiveness and bias within the process, especially in the tape evaluation.
8. The process can take far too long to complete. It is common to have to wait several months before getting the results. For those that do not pass it means more time and money.