Meteorology: Academic Requirements, Professional Outlook


Meteorology can be defined most simply as "the study of the atmosphere." Meteorologists interpret satellite images and analyze physical data to come up with a clear picture of the weather. They can use this data to predict what the weather will do in the near future, on both a small scale and larger scales.

Meteorology is important not just for our everyday comfort and well-being (knowing whether to take an umbrella, for instance); it is crucial to predicting the path and severity of storms, such as hurricanes and cyclones. Having advanced warning of storms greatly increases the chance that people can be evacuated in time.

The Academic Requirements

Meteorology students will gain a firm understanding of the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere. They will understand small- and large-scale meteorological events. Geography is important; the introduction of remote sensing has vastly changed the face of Meteorology. Meteorologists must be able to interpret radar maps. Advanced mathematics is also required in order to understand the underlying physics of the atmosphere.

Meteorologists also learn how to predict the weather, based on analysis of atmospheric data. This is called Synoptic Meteorology. Students do this work in a lab, and extensive time in the lab is usually required to be able to be a forecaster after graduation.

Those who want to do scientific research in the field will want to pursue graduate study.

Here are some courses that we've seen:

  • Atmospheric Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Micrometeorology
  • Introduction to Meteorological Observation & Analysis
  • Geospatial Data Systems
  • Weather Data, Analysis and Quantitative Methods
  • Synoptic Meteorology
  • Physical Geography
  • Marine and Tropical Meteorology
  • Climatology
  • Differential Calculus
  • Thermodynamics
  • Cloud Physics
  • Weather Analysis / Forecasting

Professional Outlook

We usually think of Meteorologists as people on TV or the radio, predicting the weather for the viewing or listening audience. Not every Meteorologist works in weather forecasting, however. There are air quality analysts, and there are also specific subsets of Meteorology, including agricultural and environmental. Those with graduate degrees can be researchers or post-secondary teachers.

Some of the biggest employers of Meteorologists are government agencies (such as NOAA); the military; TV and radio stations; education; and consultant businesses.

Here are some jobs that we've seen, including some of the organizations that offer them, all of which included a requirement for experience in Meteorology:


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