The path to becoming a meteorologist


Pursuing meteorology was a simple decision for me. As I think back to so many childhood memories, it’s easy to see the natural fit between my experiences and predicting the weather.

What do you want to know

  • Pursuing a degree in meteorology takes determination and a love for all things meteorological
  • The degree requires a LOT of math and science
  • There are many career paths you can pursue using the degree, and most do NOT involve television.
  • It’s a humbling but rewarding career

One of my earliest memories was rollerblading in my driveway. While outside with my father, a storm was brewing, I was terrified and ran inside. At the time, I didn’t know it, but the fear would spark an interest in thunderstorms and the atmosphere.

I’ve always been a curious kid, asking “why” about just about anything. Earth Science class was a place where I got the answers to many of my questions.

The topics covered in this course, including a weather segment, made it something I looked forward to attending. My teacher also played a big role in this. She encouraged me to pursue a career in atmospheric science because of my interests and ability to talk a lot.

My mother affectionately calls it, ‘the gift of chatter.’ Once I decided that being a meteorologist was the path I wanted to follow, I started looking at colleges that supported that dream.

Living in Western New York is a great place for a meteorologist for obvious reasons. Lake snow is a region-specific phenomenon. I knew I wanted to study what has affected me all my life, so I looked for schools in the area.

I went to Brockport College for 2 reasons – the cost of tuition and the scenic meteorology program they offered. If you’re reading this hoping to learn more about other programs around the country, check out this list here.

Meteorology is a four-year degree that requires a lot of math and science. Each school may have different requirements, but most programs are similar.

The list includes courses ranging from Introduction to Meteorology to Dynamic Meteorology. In between are courses in synoptic meteorology, thermodynamics, radar and satellite meteorology and many more. Apart from specific weather-based lessons, calculus and physics play a huge role in the program.

A wide range of careers

A common misconception about a meteorology degree is that you have to use it to be on TV. Although this is the route I took, there are many other things you can use this degree for.

You can work with the government at any National Weather Service office across the country, or you can serve your country in the Air Force or Navy. Both require capable meteorologists.

You can work in academia or work in the private sector. Some of the private sector options include insurance agencies, energy companies, consulting firms, emergency management services, etc. The list goes on and on.

The National Weather Service has compiled a list of more jobs and expected earnings in some of these roles. You can find that list here.

I can only speak of a career in television, but I can tell you that it is a humbling but rewarding job. Every day offers a different challenge, especially during the different seasons we experience in upstate New York.

Using green screen or the Chroma Key wall presented its own set of challenges early in my career. After nine years, it has now become second nature.


On a day-to-day basis, I am responsible for not only researching weather forecasts, but also creating the weather graphics you see on TV. I also update our Spectrum News weather app, the Spectrum News website, and write blogs like the one you’re reading today.

Updating social media accounts to make sure everyone is up to date is another part of the career, alongside updating what you see on TV every night. It certainly keeps me busy!

If you have specific career questions or want to know more about anything I mentioned above, all you have to do is ask! I’ll be there for you, rain or shine.

For more blogs like this follow Meteorologist Kaylee Wendt on Facebook, instagram and Twitter!

Our team of meteorologists dive deep into the science of weather and break down weather data and information in a timely manner. To see more articles on weather and climate, check out our weather blog section.


Comments are closed.