How To Become A Meteorologist and How Long Does It Take?

Humans are susceptible to dangers caused by various weather conditions. Before technology came into existence, humans made weather predictions by merely looking up in the sky. Since they cannot see much by merely looking at the atmosphere, they make wrong predictions most times. Natural disasters occur, causing terrible damage to Earth. Let’s know more about How To Become A Meteorologist and How Long Does It Take?

How To Become A Meteorologist and How Long Does It Take?

With the advancement in technologies, and experts trained to predict weather conditions, predictions can now be made to avert some situations.

Certain categories of people have a deep interest in weather and admire weather forecasters, wishing to be like them. In this article, you will get answers to how you can become a meteorologist. 

  First and foremost, it is important to understand who a meteorologist is and the work they do.

Who Is A Meteorologist?

  A meteorologist is a person who studies meteorology. A meteorologist is someone who has undergone the necessary skills on how to use scientific principles to observe, explain, and understand the Earth’s atmosphere. 

  Simply put, a meteorologist is a weather scientist. A person in this field has professional experience, with specialized education and skill which could either be acquired through a bachelor’s degree or a doctorate. It must be studied in line with the requirements set by the American Meteorology Association.

What Does a Meteorologist Do? 

  A meteorologist studies and observes the weather using various scientific instruments. They are also researchers and observers. To carry out these functions effectively, meteorologists are required to have some skills. Anyone who does not have some of the preliminary skills expected in this field will have difficulty with his work.

  Meteorologists study various satellite data and radar information. Radar, according to Oxford advanced learners dictionary is a system that uses radio waves to find the positions or movements of an object.

  Meteorologists predict Weather and climates. They analyze various climatic conditions and how it affects living things like Man, Animals, and Plants. They make predictions on how such weather affects various environmental processes. Most of their predictions turn out correct.

  Anything a meteorologist gathers, he compiles in an easily understandable manner and presents it to the people. Meteorologists must learn how to communicate effectively, as the ability to communicate is one of the most important skills of a meteorologist.

Where Does A Meteorologist Come In?

 There are various changes in weather conditions. It could be harsh, mild, or dangerous. These conditions, when they become extreme, may cause an inability to see clearly which can be caused by excess wind. In such situations, safe travel is not even guaranteed. It can cause accidents in situations where the winds are excessive. Imagine a situation where you have arranged a long-distance road trip vacation for your family. On the way, dangerous weather pops up, suddenly making it difficult to continue the journey. Although you will be frustrated because you and your families have already hit the road, you will have to pause your journey till the conditions subside. This scenario above can be avoided with a weather forecast as you get to know beforehand what the weather will look like, so all inconvenience and danger will be avoided.

A meteorologist forecast also comes in as a determining factor on the type of outfit to be worn. In a situation where you are all dressed up for a cold-weather only to go out and later, you find out the weather is hot, you will feel very frustrated. 

Instruments Used By a Meteorologist

Accurate weather predictions are not easily made without the use of some instruments. This instrument has improved accuracy in the weather. This accuracy cannot be compared to how it was before. The instruments which are used by meteorologists check the atmosphere to know-how, and what it is doing. Most of these instruments are not used in a laboratory, but they are placed outdoors to get a clear picture of the weather conditions.

1BarometerThis is used in measuring air pressure. There are two basic types: the Aneroid, and the Liquid barometers.
2ThermometerThese are used in measuring ambient air pressure. It is the most widely used instrument. There are two basic types: The mechanical, and the electrical thermometer.
3AnemometersThis is used in measuring the wind direction or speed.
4Rain Gauge This is one of the earliest meteorology instruments. It is used in measuring the amount of precipitation. It measures rainfall.
5HygrometerThis is used in measuring the moisture content in the air or humidity.
6Weather Satellites This is used in gathering data about the Earth’s climate and weather from above. With these instruments, meteorologists can see the clouds, wildfires, and oceans.
7Weather BalloonThis is used in carrying various instruments into the upper air. This instrument records weather variables and then sends back the data.
8Weather RadarThis is used in calculating and locating precipitations. It can also be used to estimate the type of weather conditions to know if it’s snowy or rainy. It also measures the intensity of various weather to know if it’s going to be light, or heavy.
9RadiosondesThese are used in collecting atmosphere measurements. It is also used in transmitting t data to weather stations on Earth. They are also called radio transmitters and work together with the weather balloons.

How Is Meteorology Changing? Is Meteorology Hard?

There are situations where a meteorologist will make a weather prediction but it will not turn out that way despite all research and technologies used. This can be very hard on them as they try their best in making forecasts reliable. When it ends wrong, people tend to lose trust.

 It is more challenging as some people might postpone their daily activities because they are trying to follow a forecast and avoid harsh conditions. If in the end, the predictions did not occur, they will feel disappointed.

Compared to before, meteorologists are making more accurate weather predictions. Accuracy Is higher in this modern age, compared to the traditional times. Though it might not be 100% accurate at all times, great improvements are being seen.

To answer the question of whether meteorology is hard, it might be a difficult job considering all the skills you need to combine to become a good meteorologist.

Career Opportunities in Meteorology

  There are no job shortages for meteorologists as there are more than enough places where they can work. If you are unable to pursue a Ph.D. degree in meteorology due to factors like finance or others. As long as you have a bachelor’s degree, there is a lot that can be done with it. 

Career Opportunities For Meteorologists

  • A meteorologist can work as a television weathercaster.
  • A meteorologist can work in a business-related industry like aviation, agriculture, energy et cetera.
  • A meteorologist can work as a federal government employee or in a public sector in the military, public services, or the state government.
  • A meteorologist can work in a private sector like commercial companies. They can also work in the academic sector as research personnel or a professor (this will need a higher study than a bachelor’s degree).

Salaries of Meteorologists

According to statistics by the United States Bureau Of Labor, the median annual salary of a meteorologist is about 102,000 dollars. They can be paid higher, or lesser depending on the job titles and the organization. There are so many factors that influence the salary of a meteorologist in the United States. These factors will be considered.

Factors that influence the salaries of a Meteorologist

  • The first factor is your educational background. The level of your education plays a key role in the amount meteorologists are paid. You cannot compare the salary of a bachelor’s degree holder to that of a doctorate holder. The latter always have higher compensations.
  • The second factor is your skills. Skills also play an important factor. There is a popular saying that “a company is never ready to let go of an employee who is of a valuable asset to them”. The company can also decide your salary based on your skills.
  • The third factor is your experience. How many years of experience do you have in that field? A person with 10 years of experience can not be compared with a newbie with 2 years of experience. Most times, the more experience you are, the higher your salary. The experience and your achievement also play a key role to determine the salary of a meteorologist.

Skills Required Of a Meteorologist

Various skills are required of a Meteorologist, some of these skills are:

  • A meteorologist is expected to be computer literate. Must be skilled in the use of computers and other technologies.
  • A meteorologist is expected to have strong mathematical abilities.
  • A meteorologist is expected to be a good communicator. Must be able to write and speak In a way that any layman will understand.
  • A meteorologist is expected to work well with teams.
  • A meteorologist is expected to be a fast and intelligent thinker.
  • A meteorologist is expected to be a lover of weather. He must love what he does.
  • A meteorologist must be able to write scientific reports accurately.

How to Become a Meteorologist?

  There are various ways through which one can become a meteorologist, they are:

  • Start with the right courses:

The foundation of anything is very important in determining the future. You must take foundational courses that are related to the field. Some of these courses can be taken in high schools like mathematics, physics, and chemistry.

  • Attach yourself to internships:

One of the best ways to get knowledge and experience in a field is through an internship. With internships, you get to meet people who think higher than you, with more experience, and people to advise you on the field you have decided to pursue.

  • Get a clear picture of the type of meteorologist you want to become:

There are different branches of meteorology. It is important to discover early the type of meteorologist that you want to focus on so you don’t channel your energy into something you might end up not doing.

  • Get yourself familiarized with technology:

As a meteorologist, you will come in contact with different technologies. You need to start getting yourself familiarized with them. Meteorologists work with all kinds of computer programs and models to aid research and weather prediction. 

  • Aspire to have a graduate degree in meteorology. This is very important.

Schools That Offer Programs On Meteorology

  According to the United States News and World Reports, here is a list of some of the best schools for students who want to study meteorology in the United States.

  1. Florida State University, Tallahassee.
  2. The Millersville University of Pennsylvania.
  3. New York University.
  4. The University of California.
  5. The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
  6. The University of Tennessee.
  7. Western Illinois University.
  8. Cornell University, Ithaca.
  9. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  10. Stanford University.
  11. Ohio State University, Columbus.
  12. University of Maryland, College Park.
  13. California Institute of Technology.
  14. The University of Chicago.
  15. University of Wisconsin, Madison.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Meteorologist?

  To become a meteorologist you need to acquire a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric science or methodology. To obtain a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric science or meteorology takes four(4) years in most universities. It is important to do careful research before choosing a school.

Are Meteorologists in High Demand?

  Yes, they are. A meteorologist can be found all over the world as the weather is a global issue. Since the weather is a global issue, humans need weather experts to explain various atmospheric conditions. 

Highest Paid Meteorologist Jobs in the United States

  Here is a table showing some of the highest-paid meteorologist jobs with their average salaries.

1Chief MeteorologistThey are paid between 51,000 dollars to 130,000 dollars yearly.
2Meteorology EngineerThey are paid between 62,500 dollars to 92,000 dollars yearly.
3ForecasterThey are paid between 46,500 dollars to 88,000 dollars yearly.
4Weather AnalystsThey are paid between 50,000 dollars to 85,000 dollars yearly.
5Weather ForecasterThey are paid between 49,500 dollars to 80,000 dollars yearly.

What Kind Of School Do Meteorologists Go To?

  Meteorologists do not have a special school. They just need to pursue a meteorology degree in a very good school. You can pursue a bachelor’s degree, or higher degree depending on the positions you are applying for and in the future.

Requirements Needed To Be a Meteorologist

  For Students, physics, math, calculus, chemistry, and other related science subjects are very important requirements.

  For Job positions, a bachelor’s degree is required, and a doctorate is preferable for higher positions.

Schools That Offers Meteorology Certificate Online 

  To gain ideas beforehand, students can register for meteorology-related courses, and check out schools that give online certificates online. Examples of such schools are:

  • The Pennsylvania State University:

Pennsylvania State University offers students an online certificate in weather forecasting-related programs.

  • Mississippi State University:

Mississippi State University offers students an online certificate in broadcast meteorology programs.

Schools That Offer Meteorology Graduate Certificates Online

  • John Hopkins:

John Hopkins offers graduate meteorology certificates through Environmental Engineering and Science departments.

  • Oregon State University:

Oregon State University offers a graduate meteorology certificate In geographic information science.

Advice For Upcoming Meteorologists

  1. Learn to Communicate:

Communication is an important skill in every sphere of life. As an upcoming meteorologist, you must learn how to communicate with layman understanding. Learn how to break words down in simple ways that anyone would understand.

  1. Be Focused and persistent:

It can be very frustrating when your weather forecast does not come out to be as you predicted, but you must remain persistent. Do not give up easily, cultivate a focused and humble spirit.

  1. Be Flexible:

You must be ready to change and adapt to new conditions and situations. Do not be static and never stop learning.

  1. Take up Challenges:

Whatever challenge that you face, be ready to face it squarely. Do not run away from challenges as it is unavoidable, but brace yourself up for whatever challenge that you might face.

  1. Focus on what you love:

Do not allow yourself to be forced or cajoled to go into those fields, but go into them because you have a passion for them. Focus on what you love doing.

  1. Improve your writing skills:

It is very important to improve your writing skills, as you will be giving reports regularly. Work on your handwriting such that it can be seen and area by anyone.


  Meteorology is a Career that requires a lot of potentials. You must first discover that the career is what you want before going into it. There are so many ups and downs in the profession, especially if you decide to go into the forecasting field, but you need to be patient. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Is it possible to be a Meteorologist without going to school?

Answer: To be a certified meteorologist, you need to go to a certified college. The minimum requirement to be, as little as a low ranked meteorologist is a Bachelor’s degree.

  1. Can Anybody Become a Meteorologist?

Answer: Not everyone can become a meteorologist. Every human has a specific field that is best for them. Meteorology is only for those who have a special interest and love for the career.

  1. What are some key skills required of a Meteorologist?

Answer: A meteorologist has a deep love for, and interest in the world. He is interested in keeping the world safe and because of this, he is passionate about learning what is going on in the atmosphere.

How To Become A Meteorologist and How Long Does It Take?

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