So, You Want to be a Meteorologist

Weather Talk

POSTED: Friday, March 7, 2014 - 10:33am

UPDATED: Friday, March 7, 2014 - 10:41am

Kids and adults who love weather are always asking me, “How can I become a meteorologist?

I was telling my story the other day about how I got into the meteorology field. My mom was a big influence because she loves weather and she and my dad would watch almost every TV weather cast they could, everyday. I also grew up in Colorado where the ever changing weather amazed me! Read my complete story in my “Weather Talk”; Why I Became a TV Meteorologist

If you would like to enter into the field of meteorology you need to start studying weather early and really dedicate yourself. Work on your skills in mathematics as well as physics and chemistry as early as you can. This will make it much easier to get into a meteorology program in college.

I received my bachelor’s degree in the field from Metropolitan State University in Denver, Colorado. Which like many institutions offering degrees in meteorology , usually requires three semesters of calculus, two semesters of physics and also two semesters of chemistry. Once these courses are finished students dig into the “core” classes in thermodynamics, synoptic, climatology and tropical meteorology. Then there are classes strictly devoted to storm forecasting and instruction for weather prediction instruments, programs and equipment.

If you are planning to become a media meteorologist you need to take a few communications, speech and acting classes as well.

I would practice every night in front of the television playing recorded weather casts. This practice helped me get over my nervousness. When I had to do live auditions at the TV stations I was applying to the News Directors and other Weather Casters would ask me “Where do you work now?” I Would say,” I give the best weather cast every night in my living room in Pueblo, Colorado!” I had practiced so much that they just could not believe I had no live television experience. Practice is the key.

If the media is not your thing there are plenty of other excellent meteorology jobs. The NOAA ( National Oceanic and Atmospheric Aministration) National Severe Storms Laboratory came up with a nice list;

Career Options for Meteorologists
Meteorology is the study of the atmosphere. Since weather is everywhere, meteorologists can be found all over the world doing many different jobs.
• An operational forecaster analyzes weather conditions and issues forecasts or alerts the public of severe weather for their area.
• A research meteorologist studies more specific areas of weather like severe weather or climate change. They can also develop tools like radar or weather models to help other meteorologists in their jobs.
• A meteorologist in the military makes weather observations and forecasts for missions around the world.
• Airlines use meteorologists to help pilots know what the weather will be like when they take-off, land and in between.
• Electric companies ask meteorologists if a heat wave is coming so they have enough power ready to run lots of air conditioners.
• Road crews ask meteorologists how much snow might be coming so they can make sure they have enough trucks ready.
• Meteorologists tell fruit and vegetable farmers to turn their sprinklers on when a cold snap is coming because it can help protect crops.
• Meteorologists work with city managers when their town is in the path of a hurricane, if nearby rivers or streams could flood, or if a tornado is coming.
• What if there is a thunderstorm headed for a football stadium full of people? Meteorologists help people in charge of stadiums, arenas, shopping malls and hospitals make critical safety decisions.
• Radio and television stations use meteorologists, both behind the scenes and on the air, to analyze weather data and present it to their audience.
• And, of course we need meteorologists to teach weather in the classroom and train new meteorologists! At colleges, sometimes these teachers can do research too.

If you are interested in meteorology and you love all kinds of weather; you should dive into the field. The math, physics and chemistry is a challenge and does discourage a few. Find some great tutors and stay persistent and you shall find success. Persistence, Practice and Enthusiasm are my keys to success. All three helped me obtain my degrees and my career that I love in  TV meteorology.

Chuck DeBroder, Chief Meteorologist
KTSM, NewsChannel 9, NBC, El Paso, TX Chuck DeBroder NC9 @wxchuckNC9

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