How do I become a Meteorologist?

Tropical storm viewed from space.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 14 March 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Someone who wants to become a meteorologist will need a bachelor's degree, at a minimum, and advanced study may be required for many subfields within the meteorology field. People who are interested in working as meteorologists should also consider the fact that the job often has long, unpredictable hours, because meteorologists must be available in an on-call capacity to deal with rapidly developing weather systems. The work can also be quite varied, and another thing to think about is what type of meteorologist one would like to become.

Some meteorologists work for government agencies, forecasting the weather and providing information to the public. Others work as broadcasters, providing weather information on television or the radio. While these two fields are probably the most famous, there are some other kinds of work in the meteorology field to think about for someone who wants to become a meteorologist. For example, some meteorologists specialize in paleoclimatology, which is the study of weather throughout Earth's history. Others may specialize in meteorology as it pertains to crops, shipping, or aerospace projects. Meteorologists can also work for air quality control agencies, environmental groups, and other organizations concerned with various aspects of the weather and its impact on society.

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For high school students who want to become a meteorologist, it's a good idea to focus on math and science courses, and to apply to a school which offers a bachelor of science (BS) degree in meteorology. People who are already in college should consider transferring to a school which offers meteorology courses if their college does not provide this educational option. While in college, in addition to taking meteorology coursework, students may want to take additional classes which pertain to the subfield they are interested in. A paleoclimatologist, for example, should be interested in archeology, while a prospective meteorologist who provides weather forecasting for the agricultural community might want to study crops and agriculture.

Once a BS degree has been obtained, the candidate can start applying for jobs, or consider graduate-level coursework, including research. Graduate work may be required in some cases, and in other instances, it can make someone more employable. Someone who wants to become a meteorologist who is heavily involved in research and theoretical aspects of meteorology will definitely need a graduate degree, while a weather forecaster for a television station may find a BS sufficient.

Internships are another thing to consider. Taking internships early in college can give students access to different kinds of meteorology professions, to see what appeals to them, and internships also provide real-world experience which can be very valuable on a resume. Colleges with well-known meteorology programs are often in a very good position to place a student who wants to become a meteorologist in great internship positions.

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