Atmospheric scientist and meteorologist essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $89,260
- 2010 number of jobs: 9,500
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 11 percent
- Entry-level education requirements: Bachelor’s degree
Atmospheric scientists and meteorologists; what they do:
Atmospheric scientists and meteorologists have the answer to one of the most asked questions in day-to-day life: What’s the weather going to be like tomorrow? What’s more, atmospheric scientists and meteorologists understand why storms and other weather patterns come our way.
An atmospheric scientist career involves studying weather, climate and other aspects of the atmosphere to develop forecasts from their analyses of the data they collect.
Atmospheric scientist careers involve using surface and air stations, weather balloons, sensors, satellites and radar. The information atmospheric scientists collect contributes to the understanding of air pollution, drought, the depletion of the ozone layer and other problems.
Those who choose an atmospheric science career or a meteorology career help solve problems in commerce, energy, transportation, agriculture and the environment.
Atmospheric scientists and meteorologists duties:
- Producing weather maps and graphics
- Measuring temperature, air pressure and other properties of the atmosphere
- Preparing long- and short-term forecasts using high-tech equipment
- Developing and using computer models to analyze data
- Consulting with other agencies and professionals
- Issuing warnings when severe weather is expected
- Analyzing historical climate information, such as precipitation and temperature records, to help predict future weather and climate trends
Atmospheric scientists and meteorologists job titles:
- Broadcast meteorologist
- Chief meteorologist
- Climate scientist
- General forecaster
- Forensic meteorologist
- Weather forecaster
- Warning coordination meteorologist
Atmospheric Scientists and Meteorologists Education, Certification and License Requirements
Most positions as a meteorologist or atmospheric scientist require a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric science or related discipline. Candidates who want to work for the government should make sure their school offers courses required for government jobs in atmospheric science.
Atmospheric scientists who want to perform research need a master’s degree, at minimum, with some employers preferring doctoral degrees. A master’s degree can make it easier to find a job, open the door to better pay, and improve advancement potential for those who choose a meteorologist career or atmospheric scientist career.
Atmospheric scientists and meteorologists programs cover subjects such as:
- Atmospheric science
- Advanced physics
- Advanced mathematics
- Weather systems
- Physical climatology
Career Advancement Opportunities
Atmospheric scientists and meteorologists with doctoral degrees can qualify for work teaching at the college or university level.
Atmospheric Scientists and Meteorologists Job Outlook
Forecast: 11 percent employment growth for atmospheric scientists and meteorologists from 2010 to 2020.
More jobs in private industry should open up for atmospheric scientists and meteorologists in response to improvements in technology that have increased the accuracy of forecasts and enabled scientists to tailor them to specific purposes.
Job competition remains stiff due to the number of people educated for an atmospheric scientist career or a meteorologist career exceeds the number of jobs available.
Atmospheric Scientists and Meteorologists Salary
- 2010 median annual wage: $89,260
- 2012, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $110,220
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $64,870
Atmospheric Scientists and Meteorologists Major Employers
- Federal executive branch
- Scientific research and development services
- Colleges, universities and professional schools
- Professional, scientific and technical Services
- Radio and television broadcasting