What does a Meteorologist do?

Median Pay $94,110
Growth Rate 8%
Citation Retrieved from BLS.gov

Meteorologists are scientists that study the atmosphere. Some focus on research while others educate the public on weather patterns and trends. These professionals provide the data necessary for the public, governments, agriculture, and transportation industries to make informed decisions based on weather conditions that make a global impact.

How to Become a Meteorologist

become a meteorologist

According to the World Meteorological Organization, there are various types of meteorologist options depending on your interest. If you would like to focus on research, you could be a researcher in atmospheric sciences. In which case, check out our article, how to become an atmospheric and space scientist. If you are in high school it’s a good idea to excel in math and science as Meteorology requires higher levels of math and science.

Another option is to earn bachelor’s degree in meteorology or atmospheric sciences and become a weather broadcaster. To become a broadcaster, you must have excellent written and verbal communication skills and be comfortable in front of a camera. Taking courses in broadcasting, reporting, or mass communications will help you achieve this and will be vital to compliment your knowledge of the atmosphere.

Job Description of a Meteorologist

Meteorologists must work to update evaluate data based on ever-changing weather patterns. This data can also include environmental factors such as air pollution or solar rays. They collect this data from a variety of sources – such as radars, weather stations, and satellites. Some even have observers throughout their coverage area that provide additional insight.

After collecting this information, they share this information with others who may not be in the field of atmospheric sciences. If the meteorologist is a broadcaster, they will likely work at a tv or radio news station providing information to the public on a weekly forecast, weather trends, and severe weather warnings. They will prepare the visuals used in the broadcast and then present that information, often live. Explaining to lay people what weather effects are occurring in an easy to understand way is vital. If the weather is severe, it would also be vital to remain calm and educate viewers how to stay safe. Meteorologists may need to work holidays, nights, and weekends and be on-call for severe weather events or emergencies.

Teacher Career Resources

You can provide your students additional information about careers in meteorology by accessing the free, A Career in Meteorology electronic booklet created by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) that is offered in English, French, Spanish, and Russian. The WMO also has an interesting electronic booklet on El Nino which is also offered in English, Spanish, and French.

Meteorologist Career Video Transcript

Even before breakfast, and certainly before leaving the house, most people consult the weather forecast. That essential item of news is provided by atmospheric and space scientists, who study the weather and climate, and examine how those conditions affect human activity and the earth. Atmospheric scientists collect data from the field using instruments such as weather balloons, radar systems, and satellite imagery. Many write their own computer programs to model or predict weather developments, and advise the public or their clients on risks caused by weather events and climate change.

There are many types of atmospheric scientists. For example, weather forecasters use computer models to forecast short- and long-term conditions for airports, farmers, utility companies, and others. Climate scientists model climate change to help plan building design and adapt agricultural production to changing conditions. Atmospheric scientists generally work full time and may be called upon to work at odd hours, or overtime—keeping the public informed during severe weather or monitoring conditions around the clock at a field station. They may work in government weather stations, laboratories and offices, or television and radio stations.

Atmospheric scientists need a bachelor’s degree in meteorology or a related earth science field for most positions. To lead research or teach at the college level usually requires a Ph.D. or master’s degree in the field.

Career Article Resources

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Atmospheric Scientists including Meteorologists.

National Center for O*NET Development. 19-2021.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.