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How to become a meteorologist

In general terms, a Meteorologist is someone who observes, reports and forecasts weather conditions. There are several different kinds of Meteorologists, including the following:

  •       Weather forecasters
  •       Climatologists
  •       Researchers in Atmospheric Sciences
  •       Consulting Meteorologists
  •       Lecturers
  •       Weather broadcasters

Meteorology is a tough subject, which requires pre/co-requisite knowledge in higher mathematics, advanced physics and chemistry, as well as a good computer proficiency.  The basis requirement for becoming a Meteorologist is a BSc degree in Meteorology or Atmospheric Sciences. Another option is to first get a BSc in Mathematics, Physical Sciences, or Engineering and then follow an MSc Course in Meteorology. Teaching, research or management positions usually require an MSc degree or a Ph.D. The responsibility of collecting and reporting observational weather data is normally undertaken by Meteorological Technicians, who do not need to possess an academic degree. Their qualification is normally obtained through completion of technical-level courses of a varying duration – from a few months to 1-2 years, depending on the envisaged work. For more formal information on the qualification requirements for Meteorologists and Meteorological Technicians see new WMO-No. 1083, Parts 2 and 3, respectively.

Those wishing to embark on the career of Meteorologist must have a hunger to understand how the physical world and especially the atmosphere and oceans work (A career in Meteorology). Some positions may require complementary knowledge in other Earth Science fields. Be aware that Meteorologists may be required to work nights and/or weekends if they are involved in any area of weather forecasting. There may also be pressure to meet deadlines during times of weather emergencies; the ability to analyze data accurately and quickly, and to take sound operational decisions is essential. Excellent written and verbal communication skills are required to communicate specialist information to non-specialists. Include environmental meteorology (e.g. air pollution, climate change, ozone depletion, harmful solar radiation) classes in your course list, since in the 21st century individuals will be needed to research and interpret data related to that area. Remember that those positions may require a master's degree. If you want to be a TV weather person, journalism and mass-media communication courses will be necessary, besides a good knowledge of atmospheric physics and chemistry. You may also consider private weather consulting firms for employment, including as forensic meteorologist – providing meteorological information and advice for legal cases.




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