Those who are interested in studying the weather might find that earning a degree in meteorology is a good fit. Meteorology students learn how to use various types of technology to monitor and predict weather patterns. Students will also learn about climate change and what causes various types of weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes. Those who are interested in a career in broadcast meteorology can also take courses that will prepare them for that career specifically, such as classes in broadcast journalism. Other careers open to meteorologists include working for the National Weather Service, as a consultant, or in research and education.
Bachelor's degrees in meteorology can be found at colleges and universities and typically consist of 120 credit hours of work, which can be completed over four years. Students enrolled in a meteorology program will take an in-depth look at the weather and the atmospheric forces that affect it. They will learn how to use different technologies such as radar and satellite to observe and predict weather patterns. Classes that a meteorology student might take include Global Geography, Weather Analysis, Applied Climatology, Numerical Weather Prediction, and Climate Dynamics.
Upon completing a bachelor's degree students may be able to enter the field in a variety of positions. Many will go on to work for the government in the National Weather Service or other roles, as a consultant for farmers, retail companies, and other organizations that have a need for someone who can advise them on weather patterns, or as broadcast meteorologists. Those who want to have a career as a broadcast meteorologist will want to seek out programs that offer classes in broadcast journalism and similar courses that will prepare them for this particular career. A bachelor's degree will also prepare an individual to move on to graduate studies in the field. Tuition for this level of program will vary depending on the school, and may come to over $20,000 a year in some instances.
Graduate programs in meteorology are also widely available at universities. Individuals who want to work in research or education will typically need a graduate degree.
Master's programs consist of around 30 credits and students can finish in one and a half to two years on average. In order to be admitted to a program at this level a student will need to have a bachelor's degree, but it does not necessarily have to be in meteorology or even in a related field. However, a solid background in math and physics will be very beneficial. Other admission requirements typically include GRE test scores, letters of recommendation, an essay stating the student's goals for earning a master's degree, and a resume. During their studies, students will take classes such as Tropical Weather and Climate, Micrometeorology, Mesoscale Meteorology, Computer Applications in Meteorology, and Transportation Meteorology. Research and a thesis will also need to be completed. Graduates of a master's program will be able to find work in similar jobs that are available to bachelor's holders, as well as jobs in research and education.
While a master's degree can be sufficient to gain some positions in education or research, a job-seeker will be more competitive for these types of jobs if they earn a doctoral degree. Coursework that an individual completes during their PhD studies will be similar to that of a master's student, but during a PhD, students will take part in more in-depth research and they will also be required to complete and defend a dissertation. Those who wish to complete a PhD can usually apply to one after completing a bachelor's degree, without having to complete a master's first, and admission requirements are about the same as those for a master's program.
Tuition for a graduate degree can range anywhere from under $10,000 a year to close to $20,000 a year.
Since many meteorologists and atmospheric scientists work for the government, prospective students should make sure that their program meets the educational requirements outlined by the US Office of Personnel Management. The government has particular requirements for the number of thermodynamics, weather prediction, physical meteorology, instrumentation, physics, and math classes students are required to take.
The American Meteorological Society offers certification programs to professional meteorologists. Two types of certifications are available: the Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) credential and the Certified Consulting Meteorologist (CCM) credential. The CBM is meant for meteorologists who work in television or radio and have proven themselves to be dedicated to the profession and to having a strong understanding of the science of meteorology and issues that affect the environment. The CCM is for meteorologists who work as consultants in a variety of settings; those that have earned this credential are marked as experts in their field. Earning the CCM shows that a professional has the utmost dedication to the field and to providing accurate consulting services to their clients. This certificate can help individuals to seek out more job opportunities and higher pay because employers know that when they hire a CCM they are going to be provided with great service.
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