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What Are the Different Types of Meteorology Degree Programs?

Andrew Kirmayer
Andrew Kirmayer

Meteorology, or the study of weather, is a field that can include various career opportunities for those wishing to work for a regional, local, or private agency. One can pursue a career as a scientist or a broadcaster. There are many meteorology degree programs offered at the bachelor’s or master’s level, while some of them include an online component. An entirely Web-based program in meteorology is rare because experience with specialized equipment is often necessary. Certificate programs may be available depending on the requirements of the career one is pursuing.

Bachelor of Science degrees in meteorology are offered by some schools, and are typically general in their content coverage. Students usually study the basics of weather forecasting, the techniques and equipment used in the process, as well as the vocabulary that is common in the field. Topics such as the ocean and radiation are typically covered in these meteorology degree programs as well.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

In some schools, meteorology degree programs may include a liberal arts education, along with a core curriculum. One university offers a bachelor’s program that can focus on either science or broadcasting. An education on the Earth’s atmosphere, including specialized topics like global warming, can be included, while broadcast subjects generally prepare one for work in television or radio. The degree also prepares one for the work involved in a graduate program.

Meteorology education is often more focused on a particular area when completing a master’s degree. One can study Geographic Information Systems (GIS), broadcast meteorology, hydrology, or air pollution. Seminars, internships, and volunteer work may also be a part of the learning experience. Graduate certificate programs are sometimes offered as an alternative to a meteorology degree; both typically take about two years to complete.

Although not usually exclusively based on the Internet, meteorology online degree programs are sometimes available for people who require training in addition to previous education. Some master’s meteorology degree programs are available online, but many Internet courses are tailored to weather enthusiasts who want to learn more, but don’t work directly in the field. A meteorology certificate can often be earned after one or two semesters. General weather or tropical forecasting, as well as the tracking of small-scale storm systems, are often covered.

Many schools offer meteorology degree programs at the master’s level, but a bachelor’s degree in science is usually required for one to be considered for acceptance. These programs generally require a physics and math background. Undergraduates typically benefit with a major in sciences related to meteorology, including geology and atmospheric sciences.

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