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For those aspiring meteorolgists out there... What kind of degree do you need and where can you study?
Great question Rachel and we hear this a lot so it's good to post something about this on here to direct our other viewers with the same query. There are tons of different types of meteorologists with different jobs. Usually, we're used to seeing the ones on television but there are hundreds of other types of meteorologists. Some of the other areas that may interest you are forecasting for the National Weather Service (Government) or perhaps working for a private company. Some of these private companies do anything from running websites like weatherunderground.com to ocean forecasting for ships!
Depending on which type of forecasting floats your boat you will have to get a B.S. in Meteorology. There are people who work on tv without this degree who are more like "weather presenters". They've either done some continuing education in meteorology or some of them are merely just that, are just presenters who present the forecast from the NWS. It's what you are passionate about that will determine your path in school and what you ultimately decide to major in. For many meteorologists, we just love clouds and how the atmosphere works and want to learn everything about it so we study it inside and out.
The B.S. in meteorology is a very intense degree. It's heavy in mathematics and physics. If you think of the atmosphere and what's made of, you remember it's all about chemistry and other fluid mechanics really! So if you're reading this and you want to study meteorology someday, take as many math courses as possible early on and if you aren't doing well at it, then ask for some help. As long as you know when you need a tutor for help with difficult subjects you'll be all set.
If you want to be in the wonderful world of television news in addition to the B.S. in meteorology it's wise to take some communications courses. Public speaking, broadcast journalism and other courses in television like learning how to use a camera and how to edit footage together. These are all essential in what we do here. Even though our primary job is forecasting the weather, often times we have to do other assignments that require a lot of written communication (those stories you see us do) and if you start at a small station, where most people go when they first graduate, you'll have to know how to use a camera and edit video.
A link on the right will take you to a list of schools that offer a degree in meteorology. Some of the schools have different strengths and weaknesses depending on which difrection you want to head after you graduate. For example, some schools you don't even start taking meteorology courses until you are a junior or senior, if that doesn't work for you, then look somewhere else. Also, some schools have great broadcast journalism departments complete with their own tv stations, so if you want to wind up in broadcast weather, then a school like that might be a good fit for you.
If you want to study tons of severe weather, then perhaps one in tornado alley would suit you.. Different strokes for different folks, some of the schools are expensive and some are affordable. The University of Utah has an excellent meteorology department right here in Salt Lake!
Also, if you are interested in entering any of the Armed Forces, they also will train meteorologists there.
Answered by KSL Meteorologist Dina Freedman.