WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

I am a sophomore in high school, and very interested in becoming a meteorologist. DO you recommend any colleges in this area? How do you go about getting a job at the National Weather Service or Hurricane Center? Any advice?

Posted October 29, 2008 7:56 a.m. EDT

MIKE MOSS SAYS:        Chasity,     There are degree programs in atmospheric science or meteorology in our state at N.C. State University (my Alma Mater), UNC-Asheville and UNC-Charlotte. For more information on areas of teaching and research emphasis, faculty, facilities, course requirements and prerequisites, you might like to visit these web addresses: www.meas.ncsu.edu, www.geoearth.uncc.edu, and www.atms.unca.edu.

As for getting a job with the Weather Service or its Hurricane Center component, most of the positions there require at least a B.S. in meteorology or atmospheric science, with some jobs requiring graduate degrees as well. There is a standard application process for U.S. government positions, and you can read more about it and keep track of current openings in the NWS at www.usajobs.opm.gov/ - just type "meteorologist" in the search form. There is also some good information on working as a meteorologist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics web site, at www.bls.gov/oco/ocos051.htm.

Since you are interested in the NWS, you might like to see about arranging a visit to the Raleigh office, where you could speak to some current employees about their backgrounds, the work they do, and the path they followed to become employees there. They have an online tour request form at www.erh.noaa.gov/rah/tours/, and there is also a "Virtual Tour" that you can take online. See the link under "Office Information" near the bottom left hand corner of the page.

Finally, it is worth keeping in mind that as you prepare for a career, you should keep an open mind to additional employment opportunities in the field or in related areas. A recent article in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society noted a growing disparity in the number of students earning Bachelor's degrees in the field and the anticipated number of positions available for that education level. You can read the abstract of the article at ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F2008BAMS2375.1, and there is a "PDF" link at the top of that page with the entire article.

Good luck!