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What Is Involved in Meteorologist Training?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
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  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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Meteorologists study the Earth's atmosphere and create weather forecasts for travel companies, government agencies, television networks and other entities. Typically, meteorologist training begins when a high school graduate enrolls in a meteorology related undergraduate degree program and in some instances, this course is followed by enrollment in an advanced degree program. After college, on-the-job meteorologist training involves new recruits learning how to use certain types of software and how to interpret satellite data.

Many employers require applicants for meteorologist positions to have studied the science in college although some firms accept applicants who studied mathematics or physics, as long as these people took some meteorology classes while in college. The exact job responsibilities of people employed in this field varies as do the academic requirements for each role. Government agencies are often concerned with tracking climate change in which case an applicant for one of these roles may have to complete an advanced degree in climatology. Shipping firms are mostly concerned with weather conditions at sea in which case meteorologists applying for these firms may need to have studied marine meteorology. In some instances, employers prefer to promote from within which means that an existing employee may be required to take a master's degree that focuses on one aspect of the science prior to moving into a more specialized role.

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Beyond college, meteorologist training normally begins when a new recruit shadows an experienced forecaster. He or she is shown how to use computer programs that gather and process atmospheric data. These individuals are also taught various techniques for interpreting charts that detail weather patterns and atmospheric disturbances. As with many branches of science, meteorologists attempt to predict future events, and are typically concerned with creating theories rather than producing tangible facts. Therefore, those new in the position may be asked to review data pertaining to past weather forecasts and patterns to see how weather systems typically develop in certain areas.

In many instances, meteorologists are required to make presentations either on television, the radio or in front of committees who make decisions about changing travel routes or evacuating coastal areas during storms. Aside from science, meteorologist training often includes classes during which new recruits are taught how to efficiently gather and disseminate information. Forecasters are trained to use interactive devices that project weather maps onto screens and television networks usually require meteorologists to undergo some broadcast training during which they are taught how to stand and to address the audience, making forecasts easy to understand.

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