Education and Training Required to Become a Meteorologist

Posted in Career Blog

The right combination of meteorologist education and on-the-job training is necessary in order to become a successful weatherperson. Formal training programs help to foster a love of nature and science, both of which are important characteristics for a successful meteorologist to possess.

High School Advanced Courses
Planning for a career as a meteorologist should begin in high school with as many advanced math and science courses as possible. At a minimum, those who are planning to study meteorology in college should take science classes such as chemistry and physics, while important math classes to consider are geometry, calculus and trigonometry. Basic computer classes can also be helpful since meteorologists regularly use computers in the course of their work.

Community or Technical College Training
An Associate’s degree in meteorology can take between 18 to 24 months to complete at a community or technical college. Some of the courses students could be expected to take include atmospheric dynamics, physical meteorology, astronomy and physics. A climatology course could also be mandatory, and would require students to conduct research into past weather trends in certain areas. This is done in an effort to predict future weather patterns and is useful in planning new buildings or the development of land.A typical program will run students between $3,000 and $5,000 per year in tuition, with the cost of books and fees being another $500 to $1,000 annually.

Undergraduate Degree
A more in-depth study of the weather is performed while pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in meteorology. Some of the courses that are included in one of these degree programs include climatology, atmospheric science, geophysics and geochemistry. A great deal of emphasis could also be placed on environmental concerns such as air and water pollution and how these things affect the weather. Future meteorologists will also become familiar with the software used by many in this industry. Students will have the opportunity to concentrate in flight, commercial or media weather. The cost of obtaining a Bachelor’s degree can be between $20,000 and $80,000 spread over a four-year period.

Master’s Degree
Obtaining a Master’s degree will open up possibilities to perform research or teach at the undergraduate level. Some of the courses that are typically taken include global climate change, atmospheric dynamics and research methodology. A great deal of time could also be spent in the field conducting studies and developing hands-on meteorologist training with some advanced equipment. A Master’s degree program can take two years to complete, and typically costs between $28,700 and $35,600 for tuition during that time. Students are responsible for transportation to and from internships and may be charged up to $1,000 each year for laboratory fees.
Changes are constantly being made in the field of meteorology. This means that those who plan to make enter this field should be prepared to refresh their skills constantly in order to keep up with advances in technology. Doing so is completely voluntary, as there are no requirements for ongoing education required for those who work as meteorologists in public or private industries.

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