Have you ever watched a weather forecaster on the news and thought that it looked like a fun and fascinating job? Even if you don’t want to be on television, studying weather science is incredibly cool and there are career paths available. Meteorologists, also known as atmospheric scientists, are responsible for forecasting the weather as well as finding changes in climate and weather patterns.
Types of Meteorology Careers
There are multiple focuses for a career in atmospheric science. Some of these include:
- Operation meteorologist – Forecasting the weather
- Physical meteorologist – Researches the atmosphere and physical properties
- Synoptic meteorologist – Creates models and tools such as software for forecasting weather
- Environmental meteorologist – Studies air pollution and its effects on the atmosphere
- Climatologist – Studies seasonal changes
As we mentioned meteorology is more than just forecasting the weather on television. There are government agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA and the National Weather Service that employee meteorologists. You could also work for the private sector, such as in agriculture, to study weather patterns, pollution and how it affects their business. Finally, there are forensic meteorologists who provide research and data for legal cases.
If you’re still in high school, then get ready to get your math on. You need to take calculus, physics, chemistry and earth science. You’ll also want to focus on english since scientists are required to write research papers and lab reports. If you want to be on television, then take any public speaking courses available.
You’ll also want to be comfortable with computers — more than just booting one up and running Microsoft Office. Atmospheric Science uses computers for research, so you’ll want to have a deep understanding.
In college, you’ll focus on a bachelor’s degree in science in meteorology or atmospheric sciences. Expect lots more math, physics and even computer programming courses. If you want to be on television, also take journalism, speech or other media-related classes.
If you’d like to work for the government, you’ll want to check guidelines and be sure to complete at least 24 credit hours in meteorology or atmospheric science.
Some career paths will require a master’s degree or even a Ph.D. Higher level positions generally require a master’s and research-level positions will require a Ph.D.
At any point during your education, jump on internships as they become available. This is valuable hands-on experience that will look great on your resume. If you can’t find any local internships, ask about job shadowing.
The American Meteorological Society provides various certification programs for certain specilizations, including the Certified Broadcasting Meteorologist credentials you’d need to be an on-air weather forecaster.