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Environmental Science Education: Degree Programs in Meteorology

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 2/13/2012

This article details what a degree in meteorology entails and it also offers insight on meteorology employment.

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    Overview of a Meterology Degree

    Meteorology is a broad field with many different career opportunities. The first image that may pop into your head is of your local weather man or woman. Their job involves predicting the weather and they would be considered meteorologists. There are many different job opportunities available; students should research their options and tailor their education to the specific area of meteorology they wish to be employed in. Students should also take advantage of internships in meteorology to enhance their skills and give them an idea of what a meteorologist does from day to day.

    How to Prepare in High School

    Most states in the U.S. have schools which offer degree programs in meteorology. Many schools also offer a minor in atmospheric science. Those who are seeking to obtain a degree in meteorology should begin preparing for it in high school. During high school students should be sure to take courses that discuss Earth sciences as well as plenty of physical science classes, chemistry, physics and even biology. Students should also take plenty of mathematics courses and courses that will implement computer skills. Students should also aim to develop good written and spoken English skills.

    What Classes to Take in College

    Once a student has graduated from high school and enters a college meteorology undergraduate program they need to continue to take plenty of courses in the physical sciences and mathematics. They will also need to continue to develop their skills in spoken and written English. Depending on the specific field of meteorology students wish to pursue they will need to choose electives and advanced courses to fit it such as physical geography, chemistry and hydrology.

    Most universities that offer undergraduate degree programs in atmospheric science or meteorology will suggest specific meteorology courses such as hydrometeorology, dynamic meteorology, micrometeorology, physical meteorology, synoptic meteorology, general meteorology and also courses in climatology. Other important science classes that universities may require and/or suggest are advanced mechanics, general physics, optics, mechanics, fluid mechanics, electricity and magnetism.

    Universities will also require or suggest that students take plenty of mathematics courses and these may include statistics, calculus, linear algebra and differential equations. Required or suggested computer classes may include computer systems, computer science, matrix algebra or numerical analysis. Students should also elect to take classes in oceanography, geology, physics, astrophysics and geophysics. Those who are seeking to do weather forecasts on television may also want to take courses in communication and broadcasting.

    Obtaining a Masters Degree

    Those who have finished their undergraduate degree in meteorology may choose to obtain their master's degree in meteorology or join the workforce. Those with a bachelor's degree in meteorology can do many things such as prepare and deliver weather forecasts, work for the military, collect data on the climate, work in climate prediction, read and interpret the information from weather satellites and radars or conduct various types of research.

    There are several Meteorology schools throughout the United States. Some of the more popular ones include:

    University of South Alabama

    Department of Earth Sciences

    Mobile, Alabama 36688

    (251)460-6915

    www.meteorology.southalabama.edu

    This university offers a BS in Meteorology.

    University of California-Los Angeles

    Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

    405 Hilgard Drive

    7127 Math Sciences Bldg.

    Los Angeles, California 90095

    (310)825-1217

    www.atmos.ucla.edu

    This university offers a BS, MS and PhD in Atmospheric Sciences.

    University of Hawaii

    Department of Meteorology

    2525 Correa Road HIG 350

    Honolulu, Hawaii 96822

    (808)956-8775

    http://weather.hawaii.edu/

    This university offers a BS, MS and PhD in Meterology.

    Iowa State University

    3010 Agronomy Hall

    Ames, Iowa 50011

    (515)294-4758

    www.meteor.iastate.edu

    This university offers a BS in Meteorology.

    Plymouth State University

    Natural Science Department, MSC #48

    Plymouth State University

    Plymouth, New Hampshire 03264

    (605)535-2325

    www.vortex.plymouth.edu

    This university offers a BS in Meteorology.

    Ohio State University

    Department of Geography

    1036 Derby Hall

    154 North Oval Mall

    Columbus, Ohio 43210

    www.geography.ohio-state.edu

    This university offers a BS in Geography with Atmospheric and Climate Science Concentration and a MS and PhD in Atmospheric Science.