There's no single career path to becoming a meteorologist. In fact, a variety of educational experiences and courses can prepare you for the job. In most cases, you will need a college degree and some education in meteorology and atmospheric science. Certain schools offer degrees specifically tailored for those who want to become weather forecasters, while at other schools you might have to major in meteorology or atmospheric science and then select courses related to the career you want.
If you are looking to break into the field, a college major related to meteorology can help you get your foot in the door. Relevant degrees include earth and planetary science, meteorology, atmospheric science or broadcast meteorology. If your school does not offer any of these majors, a degree in a related field -- such as physics or astronomy -- can give you the basic scientific background you need and may help you secure an entry-level meteorology position.
As weather forecasting for television is a journalistic pursuit, you'll need to master the basics of communication and broadcast journalism. Classes in broadcast journalism can teach you how to speak clearly, while also familiarizing you with how television programs are produced. Some students may even want to add broadcast journalism as a minor. If you are required to turn in written reports, or hope to work as a meteorologist for newspapers or magazines, classes in print journalism can also help you improve your writing skills.
Math and Science Requirements
Analyzing weather data can require basic mathematical calculations. At the higher levels of meteorology, particularly if you want to work for the National Weather Service, you will need strong skills in math and physics. You will also need to understand the basics of several scientific fields and be able to accurately predict how weather patterns will affect people in particular geographic regions. Courses in geometry, math, weather forecasting, climatology, geography and calculus can help you master the combination of math and science you'll need to become a TV weather forecaster.
A wide variety of classes in meteorology can help you prepare for this career path, particularly if your school does not offer a meteorology degree. If you are interested in a particular aspect of meteorology, such as storms, natural disasters or meteorology in space, focus on relevant courses. Otherwise, aim for classes like radar meteorology, physical meteorology, severe weather, forecasting and similar topics.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.