Meteorologists study the atmosphere and the way it affects the rest of the environment. The most widely recognized application of meteorology is weather forecasting. Meteorologists work in weather stations, for private consulting firms, at universities and for television and radio stations.
Operational meteorologists forecast the weather, and they comprise the largest category of meteorologists. Physical meteorologists research atmospheric phenomena, while environmental meteorologists study problems such as air pollution.
Meteorologists must have a minimum of a bachelor of science degree in meteorology, atmospheric science or a related science field. A bachelor of science degree typically takes four years to complete.
Because most colleges do not offer meteorology majors, aspiring meteorologists might major in physics or geoscience. Meteorology students complete courses in atmospheric science, weather prediction, thermodynamics, calculus and meteorology instrumentation.
Meteorology students also might earn a minor or a second major in their preferred area of specialization. Students planning to become broadcast meteorologists, for instance, take courses in journalism and broadcast communication. The extra coursework may add another year to the degree.
A master's degree in meteorology increases employment opportunities and income potential. This degree usually takes two years to complete. Meteorologists choosing to teach and conduct research at the university level must obtain a Ph.D., which may require another three to five years of study.
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