How Do I Become a TV Meteorologist?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

A person who wants to become a TV meteorologist or weatherperson will need to have a working knowledge of both meteorology and broadcasting. While formal education is not always required to become a TV meteorologist, it may help to obtain a bachelor's degree in a related subject. Aspiring TV weatherpersons may also want to look for internships and part-time jobs at television stations to learn about broadcast TV and start making contacts within the industry. Finally, meteorologists need to prepare a strong video reel that shows off their reporting skills and personal style.

Many people depend on meteorologists to predict dangerous weather.
Many people depend on meteorologists to predict dangerous weather.

Though not all TV meteorologists have a degree in meteorology, there may be more job opportunities for those with some formal training in the subject. Many universities offer degrees in meteorology or atmospheric science, both of which can be used to launch a television career. Students may also want to spend some time in college taking communications or journalism classes, to begin honing their speaking skills and understanding of broadcast news shows. Focusing on meteorology while in school can give students the chance to become familiar with the complex terminology, mathematics, and unique world of weather. A strong understanding of the terms and underlying science may help a meteorologist sound more authoritative and knowledgeable when on the job.

College can also be a wonderful time for a student who wants to become a TV meteorologist to get real experience with television. Some schools operate an on-campus television station that is run and staffed by students, providing an excellent opportunity for learning about how television shows work. Students may want to start volunteering at an on-campus station during their first year, so they can gradually gain seniority and start getting on-air broadcasting jobs. Rising to an on-air position can be extremely helpful for any person looking to become a TV meteorologist, as clips from appearances can later be incorporated into a professional reel.

If a campus does not have any television opportunities, students working toward a degree in communications or meteorology may also be able to find an internship or part-time position at a local television station. Internships provide a wonderful chance to learn while on the job, as well as giving students the opportunity to begin establishing a professional reputation and making contacts in the field. Once a student is ready to graduate to a professional career, he or she may be able to use these contacts to find out about job opportunities.

One of the most important items needed to become a TV meteorologist is a strong video reel. Ideally, a reel should incorporate several different clips of a meteorologist giving weather reports, analyzing meteorological information, and discussing important weather topics. If a person does not have any on-air work to draw from, he or she may need to create a reel from scratch. To ensure that the finished product appears polished, consider hiring a professional filmmaking team to film and edit the reel. For a low-budget option that can still garner quality results, try contacting film students from nearby colleges to help create the reel.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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Discussion Comments


I think all weather people should have degrees and be trained in meteorology. I want to get my weather reports from someone who knows more about the weather than I do; and someone who has more training than I have.


@Drentel - You make a good point about the importance of a good personality for TV weather persons. One of the really popular weathermen in the 1980s was a guy named Willard Scott. He was the weatherman for one of the network morning news shows. He was well known for reading off birthdays of really old people.

Anyway, my point is that he did not go to college to become a weatherman. As I recall, he majored in philosophy and religion. After college he worked as a disc jockey for a radio station. This is how he got his start and he eventually moved on to become one of the most well known weathermen of his time.


There was a time, maybe 30 or 40 years ago or so, when most of the men on TV giving the weather reports on the local TV stations had no training in meteorology. The most popular TV weatherman in the area where I grew up had no formal weather training. The main reason people liked him was because he told a lot of jokes and funny stories, and he gave the other people on the news set a hard time.

Sure the station had professional weather people behind the scenes, or they were just getting reports from the national weather center. Either way, all of the stations gave the same weather reports, so the weatherman's personality was the big selling point and determining factor as to which station's telecast people watched.

However, I guess this doesn't work as well nowadays. There are so many more weather gadgets, and the technology involved in predicting weather has become so fine tuned. Actually, that weather guy I mentioned was eventually replaced by a real meteorologist with a college degree and all of the trimmings.

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