METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
The two definitions most commonly used for who is a meteorologist are those given by the U.S. federal government
and the American Meteorological Society (AMS).
The educational requirements given by the federal government can be found
on the following webpage:
The math requirements include differential calculus and integral calculus as prerequisites to
differential equations. The remote sensing requirement can be satisfied by a satellite or radar
meteorology course. The critical meteorology courses include Intro to meteorology, thermodynamics,
2 semesters of calculus-based dynamics, 2 semesters of synoptic meteorology, and physical meteorology.
Relevant Geoscience courses include oceanography, water resources, and climatology.
Most students satisfy these requirements by earning a degree in meteorology. Often students combine their
undergraduate studies with their graduate studies to satisfy all the requirements.
Notice on the website it states, "A combination of education and experience-course work shown in A above,
plus appropriate experience or additional education" can substitute for some of the requirements listed.
This can be used by military forecasters and other's working in the field of meteorology that have a large
amount of experience. Exactly how experience substitutes for some of the coursework varies
with the situation.
Mississippi State Geoscience graduates can become eligible for federal employment by integrating into and/or
supplementing the MSU Geoscience degree requirements with differential calculus, integral calculus,
differential equations, 2 calculus based physics courses and 2 courses in atmospheric dynamics.
Mississippi State distance learning offers the two dynamics courses. The two
dynamics courses and calculus courses are available by distance learning through the USDA:
American Meteorological Society:
**NOTE: The AMS will prevent most Mississippi State Broadcast Meteorology Program students in the online
program from getting the CBM (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) because the MSU online program is not
calculus based. The CBM started in January of 2005. The AMS seal program expired in 2008 for new applicants. Additional
coursework in calculus, physics and calculus based meteorology courses will be required in order to be eligible for
the AMS CBM program.
The definition of a meteorologist given by the AMS is more liberal (but now only a calculus based
meterology degree or equivalent can be used to get the CBM). The AMS
policy statement on who is a meteorologist can be found at the website below:
A meteorologist according to the AMS is a person working in the field of meteorology that
has gained a sufficient amount of coursework in meteorology (without a B.S. degree, 3 years full
time experience is required). This coursework does not have to be calculus
based and includes several key meteorology and Geoscience courses.
BMP students: Without a science degree and without a
calculus background, the AMS requires 4 of the following: Synoptic Meteorology 1, Water Resources, Physical Meteorology,
Thermodynamics, and Oceanography.
With a science degree, any 3 of the above courses are needed instead of four. Students have
to take several prerequisite courses to be able to get to the courses the AMS requires. The following AMS
website lists the required courses:
Military personnel, weather broadcasters and other operational meteorologists that have 3 or more years of experience in operational
meteorology and complete the minimum coursework can call themselves a meteorologist
according to the AMS.
Those that fit the federal government definition of a meteorologist are eligible for any type of
meteorology job. Those that fit the AMS definition but not the federal definition usually work
in broadcasting, the military, or consulting / private meteorology jobs but not federal meteorology
jobs such as the National Weather Service. Many consulting / private meteorology companies use the
federal standard when hiring meteorologists, but in some cases experience and sufficient coursework
can substitute for the federal education standard.