Do you have a fascination for the weather and factors that affect the environment around us? Then maybe you should consider becoming an atmospheric scientist. An atmospheric scientist or meteorologist is a person who is responsible for forecasting weather and identifying climate and weather patterns. This is a very important job as people depend on you to know temperature, cloud formation, rain chance, thunder storms, snow conditions, hurricane and tornado information.
Before you register for classes, you need to determine what kind of meteorologist you would like to be.
- Operational meteorologist – they forecast weather
- Physical meteorologist – they research physical properties of the atmosphere
- Climatologist – they research seasonal changes
- Environmental meteorologist – they study air pollution
- Synoptic meteorologist – they generate software for forecasting
You need to have a high school diploma or equivalent (GED) and college entrance exam (SAT/ACT). Then you can enroll in a bachelor’s program in meteorology. This will get you an entry level position. If you want more than that, then you need to go to the master’s level which will allow you to fill an advanced meteorology position. If you didn’t get a meteorology degree, then you must have 24 credit hours of atmospheric science or meteorology to qualify for a meteorologist position.
You’ll take courses in atmosphere dynamics, weather systems and oceanography. Your other coursework will be determined by the type of meteorologist you want to be. For example, if you want to be in broadcast news, then you need to take speech and journalism.
Before you graduate, you should try to join college and professional meteorology organizations and maintain these relationships throughout your life.
Now that you have graduated, you’ll need to find employment. There are jobs available in the federal government such as the National Weather Service which are found throughout the country in the U.S. and keep in mind that the U.S. Department of Defense hires meteorologist as well.
Private sector jobs are also available such that you can work in a consulting position and local news stations.
Something you might consider is getting a certificate. The American Meteorological Society (AMS) offers such a certificate known as the Certified Broadcast Meteorologist for working in radio and television. This certificate requires that you have a bachelor’s degree in meteorology and have samples of your work. You must also pass a certification exam. If you would like to do research in university, then you need to go for a Ph.D. program in meteorology.