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Dec 29

Picking a Meteorology School

Posted by Brian Barnes under Learning 56 Comments

I receive a lot of email from prospective students asking for advice on picking a meteorology school and/or program.  I have compiled some information that people can use for a starting point in their search for a school or program that best suits their wants and needs.

While you’re searching for the best program that fits with your personal goal, let me invite you to look at our storm chasing tours which is a great way to get field experience. We even offer lecture tours where clients learn forecasting techniques, structure identification and even interception strategy. It’s a great way to jumpstart the learning experience you’re about to start!

Most of us almost never graduate with the exact goals in-mind that we had when we started.  And, within meteorology there are many different possibilities for possible employment across many related fields.  If “storm chasing” is the goal that a person has in-mind when starting a meteorology program, then perhaps they should rethink their goals – there are not any “full time” jobs within storm chasing.  And, the jobs that do exist are related to research which generally require a PhD.


Here are a few career paths that are common with meteorology undergrads:

U.S. Government Employment – National Weather Service, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Armed Services.

Broadcasting – These jobs are extremely hard to obtain due to the job retention rate and number of undergrads competing for the same position when a job does become available.

Private Sector – Companies such as WeatherNews hires forecasters for marine weather and transportation, UPS has a team of staff meteorologist, wind engineering companies are becoming extremely popular, other options may be Forensic Meteorology at insurance companies and even some municipalities hire meteorologist (although many contract private companies as well).

Having a good plan in-mind of the goal you want to achieve will help you pick the right school and even minor.  For example, if you’re goal is to work in broadcasting, then you may want to earn a minor in communications or if you’re planning to work in operational meteorology at The National Weather Service then you should plan to earn a minor in mathematics.

Here is a list of meteorology schools in the United States:

University of Alabama in Huntsville – Huntsville, AL
University of South Alabama – Mobile, AL

University of Alaska Fairbanks – Fairbanks, AK

University of Arizona – Tucson, AZ

San Jose State University – San Jose, CA
University of California-Davis – Davis, CA
University of California-Los Angeles – Los Angeles, CA

Colorado State University – Fort Collins, CO
Metropolitan State College of Denver – Denver, CO
United States Air Force Academy – USAFA

Western Connecticut State University – Danbury, CT

University of Delaware – Newark, DE

District of Columbia
Howard University – Washington D.C.

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona Beach – Daytona Beach, FL
Florida State University – Tallahassee, FL
University of Miami – Coral Gables, FL

University of Hawaii at Manoa – Honolulu, HI

Northern Illinois University – Dekalb, IL
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Champaign, IL
College of DuPage – Glen Ellyn, IL

Valparaiso University – Valparaiso, IN

Iowa State University – Ames, IA

University of Kansas – Lawrence, KS

University of Louisiana at Monroe – Monroe, LA

Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Cambridge, MA
University of Massachusetts-Lowell – Lowell, MA

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor – Ann Arbor, MI

Saint Cloud State University – Saint Cloud, MN

Jackson State University – Jackson, MS
Mississippi State University -Starkville, MS *Online Programs

Saint Louis University (Main Campus) – Saint Louis, MO
University of Missouri-Columbia – Columbia, MO

Creighton University – Omaha, NE
University of Nebraska-Lincoln – Lincoln, NE

University of Nevada-Reno – Reno, NV

New Hampshire
Plymouth State University – Plymouth, NH

New Jersey
Princeton University – Princeton, NJ
Rutgers University-New Brunswick – New Brunswick, NJ

New York
SUNY at Albany – Albany, NY
SUNY College at Brockport – Brockport, NY
SUNY College at Oneonta – Oneonta, NY
SUNY College at Oswego – Oswego, NY
SUNY Maritime College – Bronx, NY

North Carolina
North Carolina State University at Raleigh – Raleigh, NC
University of North Carolina at Asheville – Asheville, NC

North Dakota
University of North Dakota – Grand Forks, ND

Ohio State University (Main Campus) – Columbus, OH
Ohio University (Main Campus) – Athens, OH

University of Oklahoma – Norman, OK

Oregon State University – Corvallis, OR

Millersville University of Pennsylvania – Millersville, PA
Pennsylvania State University (Main Campus) – University Park, PA

South Dakota
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology – Rapid City, SD

Texas A&M University – College Station, TX
Texas Tech University – Lubbock, TX

University of Utah – Salt Lake City, UT

Lyndon State College – Lyndonville, VT

University of Washington (Seattle Campus) – Seattle, WA

Northland College – Ashland, WI
University of Wisconsin (Main Campus) – Madison, WI

University of Wyoming – Larmine, WY

* Mississippi State University offers programs in Broadcast, Operational Meteorology and a Degree in Geo-Sciences.  Their Broadcast Meteorology Program is offered online as well, and may be an excellent choice for those with a career in the broadcast industry in-mind.

While this list is comprehensive, I’m sure that I’ve probably left out a school and/or program somewhere.  If you know of a school/program that you believe should be on this list, feel free to let me know.

Since most people come to this blog with an interest in Storm Chasing, it is assumed they are interested in Convective Meteorology.  Storm Chasing doesn’t require a meteorology degree and the number of storm chasers without a degree outnumber those who have earned a degree (in fact, some probably didn’t make it through high school – but you definitely should!).   If you’re interests are focused on Convective Meteorology, then strongly consider the University of Oklahoma.  Texas A&M, Texas Tech and The College of DuPage are also great choices.


56 Comments - Leave a Comment!

  1. hope
    February 11, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    well…I looked at the schools and tried to click on it and it wouldnt let me why?? I wanna see if this is the right school for me because I really want to go to a collage in Kansas

  2. Brian Barnes (author)
    February 11, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    It’s just a list of the schools, the text isn’t linked to their school’s websites. Just copy and paste the school that you’re looking for into Google and chances are – it’ll be at the top of the list. Thanks Hope.

  3. Riley
    April 14, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Hope, maybe you should give up on your college dreams.

    Other than that, any schools in Canada with a specialization in natural sciences?
    Maybe this is the wrong place to be asking.

  4. Pat
    April 25, 2010 at 7:04 am

    There are Canadian universities that offer Atmospheric science/meteorology programs:

    University of British Columbia
    University of Alberta
    University of Manitoba (they even offer a storm-chasing course!)
    York University
    University of Toronto
    McGill University
    Dalhousie University

  5. Garret
    August 17, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I was want to go to school in Texas any other Texas schools besides Tech and A&M?

  6. Samantha
    November 20, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Which school is the best? I am wanting to get the best education possible, but am not sure where to go!

  7. tyler
    February 01, 2011 at 11:30 am

    ive been looking at a weather career as long as i can remember, but i need some personl tips on what i can do to achieve this, im only in my thrid year of high school, but ned to start planning. is there any adive and tips you can give me? i want to get in the basic career in meteorology, but storm chasing is what ive wanted to do, can that give you any sort of income as you progress through college and perservere in the storm chasing area. and which college would be the best to go to get the education i need, but at reasonable tuition?

  8. cammi
    February 17, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    well im looking for a school that has storm chasing AND a meterology

  9. Brian Barnes (author)
    February 17, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Cammi, look at either Miss. State Univ, or College of DuPage. I believe those are the only two schools that offer storm chasing as a part of the course.

  10. Brian Barnes (author)
    February 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Tyler, are you looking at a career in broadcast meteorology or operational meteorology? The difference is either working in broadcasting or for a research/science based organization like the National Weather Service. It’s the former, look into Mississippi State University and I think you’ll find what you need in their broadcast meteorology program. If it’s the latter, than there are a ton of schools out there, that vary in price. Check into Oklahoma University, Texas A&M, Penn State, etc…

  11. Katie Marie
    April 07, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Im looking to get my Phd eventually in meteorology, the main thing i really want to do is storm chasing, and then something on the side seeing as storm chasing is not a full time job. But i dont want to do broadcasting, but something that actually studies like tornadoes and so on, im looking at going to the University of Oklahoma in Norman, but i have to do 2 years of city college first and i have no clue what prereqs i would need to take, would you possibly have any tips for me? (i graduate High School in 2 months and picking my classes for college next week, im kind of freaking out cause i have no clue what to search.) Thank you :]

  12. Brian Barnes (author)
    April 07, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Math and physics! Sit down with a planner at the school you’re going to attend and have them (or you) contact OU to make sure your acquired credits will transfer. If they don’t you’ll be back at square one when you transfer to Norman.

  13. Melissa
    April 19, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Hi Brian! Thanks for all the wonderful info on this site. I see you already talked about some colleges for operational meteorology…can you name some more? I’m interested in pursing a career in forecast meteorology but not the broadcast part:) Thanks again!

  14. Jason
    April 21, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    What’s everyone’s opinion on NC State’s program? I’m in Virginia (NO METEOROLOGY!!) and have been accepted into Mississippi State, Penn State, and NC State. For some reason, I’m leaning towards NC State, mostly for location. Is the program ok? I mean, I’ve heard that undergrduate programs are pretty much the same, it’s the graduate programs that differ, but… any opinions?

  15. J flick
    May 24, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Hello Brain. I have a communications (media studies) degree from San Diego State. Although its not a broadcasting degree that is offered with in Communication studies i did take broadcasting courses to receive the media degree. Could this possibly enable me to land a broadcasting job? I am currently have 2 years into a 4 year tour with the coast guard. Unfortunately, the coast guard has no career paths with in meteorology. Do you have any idea on how difficult it would be to get accepted back into a university already having a BA. Would they take high school and college transcripts? I took little math and physics as prereqs. I feel like i would almost be starting entirely over. I am aware my questions are broad but any little insight could help. Thanks Jonathn

  16. Tim
    May 31, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I just wanted to let everyone know that Central Michigan University also offers an excellent meteorology undergrad degree (not listed under Michigan in the list). They focus on what you will encounter in a job atmosphere forecasting and also research. The faculty members are outstanding! I am a recent graduate and have been hired by the National Weather Service, I know of four others that have also been placed in the NWS in just the past three years and numerous others that have been placed in broadcasting meteorology across the United States. Good luck to all!

  17. melissa
    June 16, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Thanks for the info Brian!

    I have a BA in Broadcast Journalism but want to focus on getting into broadcast meteorology. I currently live in Los Angeles and I know UCLA has atmospheric science programs. Should I be looking into a major in this or a 2nd bachelors degree? I’m not sure I have enough of the undergrad requirements to succeed in a majors program, especially the math classes.

    I’m also from Chicago and I’m familiar with COD which could also be an option for me if Cali is not the place I should be for classes.


  18. Brian Barnes (author)
    June 17, 2011 at 3:15 am

    I would recommend looking into Mississippi State Univ’s Broadcast Meteorology (Certificate) program. You’ve already got the journalism degree in-hand, so all you really need is to get your AMS stamp of approval, and MSU would do that for you. Good luck.

  19. melissa
    June 17, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Thanks so much! Talked to them today looking into their online courses. Think it may work out, I’m very excited : )

  20. Lisa
    July 12, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    What happened to Purdue and Ball STate?

  21. Megan
    August 19, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    hello brian,

    my name is megan and i am wanting pursue a career in meteorology, but i want to become a hurricane chaser. yes i know there are only a handful of those in the u.s. but i am having trouble on finding a school! i could really use the help! also what part of meteorology should i focus on the most? or would it be better if i majored in atmospheric science?

    thanks so much!

  22. Bryan
    August 25, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Hey I live in North Carolina, my question is I’m more interested in becoming a Hurricane Specialist. So which school would offer more learning for this and what minor would help go along to get a Job?

  23. Rochelle
    September 30, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Also, the University of Northern Colorado offers a bachelors. It’s technically an earth sciences degree, but on my transcript, it says that my major is meteorology. I would highly recommend coming to UNC!

  24. Justin Girardin
    October 17, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I’ve been looking into meteorology/etc as a career. I was wondering if anyone could tell me what it is exactly that I need to do as far as requirements. I’m in texas at college currently, and I’d like to work with severe weather.

  25. Arin
    November 17, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I’m currectly at Ivy Tech community college due to the misscommunication at another school with my degree. I don’t know what to really do with that. I was going to try and get math, physics, and communication majors or minors, is that a good idea? Valpo is VERY hard to get into. I’ve heard Ball State, and Purdue have degrees for that. And what is the difference between Meteorology and Atmospheric Science?

  26. Dan
    December 13, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Brian, is anything mentioned anywhere about Western Conn’s program? It would be a perfect geographic location for me, but I can’t find any feedback regarding the quality of the program. Do you have any insight?

  27. Aaron
    January 09, 2012 at 2:26 am

    Hi I would just like to say that Ohio University (Athens) has an excellent meteorology program. I am currently a Geography-Meteorology major and recommend Ohio U as an option for any person looking for a BS in Meteorology. We do not however have a MS in Meteorology but in the next few years if not sooner will as one is underway already.

  28. Sandi
    January 26, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    my daughter who is 13 has wanted to be a meteorolgist since she was8 yrs old. she has already started looking into the best schools to go to for atmospheric science. She wants to work for NWS or NSSL. What is the best course of action? Operational Meteorology?

  29. Katie
    February 24, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    I’ve heard Central Michigan University has one of the best meteorology programs.

  30. Sara
    April 24, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    I attend Colorado State University in Fort Collins and they actually do not offer anything for studying meteorology. I was hoping they would, but I just talked to an advisor and the closest major they have is watershed science. They have a couple climate change classes but unfortunately nothing at CSU is completely dedicated to meteorology.

  31. Mariah
    May 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Can you please help me in which are some good schools for online classes for meteorology? i would like to get a degree in this but cant find any schools online.

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  33. lydie
    May 25, 2012 at 3:14 am

    I have a bachalor’s degree in geography but want to do meteorology can I do it or is it only for scientist

  34. DEVO
    June 25, 2012 at 9:58 am

    What would be a great choice for graduate school, I want to focus on forecasting and I am having difficulty finding a graduate school that would benefit me the most with my goal in forecasting

  35. Julia
    July 06, 2012 at 3:19 am

    okay, well…to sum it up i am itching more then anything to be a storm chaser. I am going to school for my geography degree as of now because i thought that was just appropriate as meteorology and gives me many more options in the future. I am from the east coast so i dont have many references to ask questions to about such things. I have kind of just been guessing my way through. I orignially didnt even want to go to school for it and instead just hop in the car drive and take photos. could you help me out and give me more insight to what your opinions on what I should do to achieve those goals Im longing to reach?

  36. Auleen
    July 12, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Wondering if you received a response to your question, Jason? What decision have you made? Penn State or NC State?

  37. Jason Troutman
    July 20, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    i wanna do online courses if i can…i am a big tornado lover and i wanna be a storm chaser…if i can get info sent to my email, i will be happy :D

  38. Diem
    August 06, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Hey Brain,
    I’m going to be a junior in high-school this following 2012-2013 school year, and i am interested in astronomy, meteorology, and storm chasing… basically (almost) anything that has to do with the universe and weather. So, would you tell me some university/college that has all of those majors/programs. and i am undecided on those 3 majors. If you can please help me, thank you :)

  39. Jerry
    August 06, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Interesting information here, however what about one who is considering a 2nd career, but is not exactly college age? I’ve always found weather to be a fascinating subject and would like to pursue, at the least, an Associate to be able to work to retirement in a different field. Suggestions?

  40. Seth
    August 07, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Yes, I am graduating from High School this year. Now UNC Asheville is ok, but I hail from an extremely small town in Southwest Virginia, Wise County to be exact. If there are no colleges in Virginia, is there one in Tennessee, like ETSU or Morristown that offers a meteorology program? I wanna stay close to my family, but if not, then UNC Asheville is fine. Thanks.

  41. Christina Hale
    August 09, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Hi. I graduate high school in 4 years, and I’m wanting to persue a career in Meterology/Storm Chasing. I live in Alabama and wondering if any colleges do a storm chasing course?

  42. Katie
    September 06, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    I have been looking at a weather career for as long as I can remember. Im a junoir is highschool right now and need to start looking into collages. But im not sure which one would be good for me. I have always wanted to have Jim cantores job. I think it would be cool. But im not sure where to go and what I should do.

  43. Dana
    October 12, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    hi, im Dana and i’m currently living in the caribbean, i would love to study meteorology at Florida international College but not sure if its a great idea since its not really a recognized university for such. another dilemma is that im not really sure what field of meteorology i want to go in, im sure its not broadcasting but that’s about it. Please, please please! for your help, it will be really appreciated.

  44. Adam
    October 16, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I know Oklahoma is a great meteorology school but is it a good undergraduate school cause im torn between oklahoma,Miss St, Kansas , texas tech ?

  45. Brian Barnes (author)
    October 16, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Adam, in my opinion it’s a great undergrad met program. The biggest advantage, I think, is that the National Weather Center is on campus. There are a lot of great meteorologist there to learn from.

  46. Adam
    October 17, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Ok Thank you , is the student to teacher ratio good ? cause ill need help and everybody is telling me oklahoma is more of a research school than learning ?

  47. mohamed essam
    November 01, 2012 at 2:45 am

    hi every body greeting from egypt in south africa

    i will be an international student god willing

    i am choosing between two universities

    university of wyoming

    university of south alabama

    i am not sure which univeristy has the better meteorology program

    university of oklahoma state will be my last choice

    i know that it’s the best meteorology program in us
    but it’s expensive on me , i don’t know my limit
    but if it’s okay for me to choose ok un i will choose it naturally

    but now i want ur commentary on these two universities

    university of wyoming
    univerity of south alabama

    sry for that huge comment

    i will appreciate ur comment :(

  48. Jason
    November 07, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I have a bachelor’s degree in physics, and I am interested in operational meteorology. What should my next step be?

  49. Casey
    November 08, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Dear brian, I have wanted to be a storm chaser since forever and i have heard you talk about goin to college in texas. but what if i cant afford it. and what if its not profitable. i have been dreaming of this all my life i just want to make sure its a good career path. what should i do?

  50. Daniel
    December 14, 2012 at 12:25 am

    Adam, as a freshman at Oklahoma (all the way from PA), I can say that this is one of the best, if not the best, undergrad met program in the country. Like Brian said, having the National Weather Center here is a great benefit to us. My teachers so far have been great, and there are quite a few groups to join. We have a forecasting group, a programming group, and our student chapter of the AMS, among other things. And it is a great school for learning as well as research. I know I’m definitely not disappointed about coming here!

  51. Dakota
    March 12, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Gary England, One of the best attended the University of Oklahoma! I would say Oklahoma if your really looking for an education! Oklahoma is a major part of tornado alley! GO SOONERS!

  52. Julian Longoria
    March 19, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Brian, hello my name is Julian Longoria and I live in Galveston Texas. I am looking for a decent meteorology program that fits best for me. I don’t mind going out of state and I would like to focus more on the researching aspect of the career. Based on my research, I am really torn to the University of Michigan’s program. I have had a passion and a deep respect for the weather ever since Hurricane Ike hit in 2008 and I think this career will suit me quite nicely. If you can, e-mail me at [email protected] because I wont be checking this blog anytime soon! Thanks.

  53. Nick
    May 29, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Hello, I live in Wichita, KS and travelling is kind of an issue for a person like myself. Is there no technical college or Community college that offers courses like this?

  54. Allison
    July 01, 2013 at 9:59 am

    I definitely want to pursue meteorology!! I am more interested in the broadcasting aspect of it though. Two questions:
    1) does the broadcaster still need to know the science of it all and have a degree in meteorology?
    2) what kinds of internships do these universities offer?

  55. Angela
    July 05, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    University of North Carolina at Charlotte

  56. Nakoma
    September 26, 2013 at 8:53 am

    does Texas A&M really offer meteorology?

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