Career Development

What Does a Meteorologist Do?

Find out what a meteorologist does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a meteorologist.

Meteorologists use a combination of scientific knowledge, mathematics and observation to study the atmosphere and its phenomena. They analyze this data to predict future weather conditions, as well as interpret current conditions for the public.

Meteorologists may work in many different industries or sectors, including television broadcasting, private consulting firms, government agencies, etc. Regardless of their specific job duties, they all have one thing in common: they are dedicated professionals who spend their days studying the weather and working to improve our understanding of it.

Meteorologist Job Duties

Meteorologists have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Identifying potential hazards such as drought conditions, flood risks, wildfires, or tornadoes in order to protect residents from dangerous weather events
  • Forecasting the weather using computer models and other tools such as radar data, satellite images, and charts of historical weather patterns
  • Analyzing data from weather stations across the country to identify unusual conditions that could indicate an incoming storm
  • Communicating with the public about any potential threats to their safety or well-being through television, radio, or internet broadcasts
  • Reporting on the status of weather conditions around the world, including temperatures, humidity levels, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, rainfall amounts, and other relevant factors
  • Identifying potential risks to public health by monitoring hazardous conditions such as extreme heat or cold or airborne pollutants
  • Developing weather forecasting models based on data gathered from radar, satellite images, and other sources
  • Using computer software to create visualizations of data in order to help viewers understand complex information quickly and easily
  • Initiating emergency procedures in response to severe weather conditions such as tornadoes, hurricanes, or floods

Meteorologist Salary & Outlook

Meteorologists’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the company they work for.

  • Median Annual Salary: $82,500 ($39.66/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of meteorologists is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

Employment growth will be driven by the need to provide weather forecasts and information for a variety of applications, such as aviation, agriculture, and emergency management. In addition, more accurate and reliable forecasts will be needed as scientific and technological advances are incorporated into forecasting models.

Related: In-Depth Meteorologist Salary Guide

Meteorologist Job Requirements

A meteorologist typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Meteorologists need a bachelor’s degree in meteorology or a related field, such as physics or mathematics. Some aspiring meteorologists choose to pursue a degree in atmospheric science or earth science.

Many aspiring meteorologists choose to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree to increase their job opportunities and earning potential. A master’s degree takes two years to complete and includes coursework and a research project. A doctoral degree takes an additional four years to complete and includes coursework, a research project and a dissertation.

Training & Experience: Meteorologists receive most of their training through internships and entry-level positions. Students can complete internships in a variety of fields, including weather forecasting, broadcast meteorology, research and education. Internships allow students to gain practical experience in their desired career.

After earning a bachelor’s degree, aspiring meteorologists can apply for entry-level positions. Entry-level meteorologists can work as weather forecasters, weather reporters or broadcast meteorologists.

Certifications & Licenses: Though not required, meteorologists can acquire several certifications that demonstrate their expertise in different aspects of the field.

Meteorologist Skills

Meteorologists need the following skills in order to be successful:

Technical skills: Meteorologists use technical skills to gather and interpret weather data. They use these skills to create forecasts and analyze weather patterns. They also use technical skills to operate and maintain weather monitoring equipment.

Communication skills: Meteorologists use their communication skills to convey weather information to the public. They write scripts for television segments, record voiceovers for radio programs and write blog posts and social media posts. They also use their communication skills to answer questions from the public and from other meteorologists.

Problem-solving skills: Meteorologists use their problem-solving skills to find solutions to weather-related issues. They may need to find ways to predict the weather accurately or find ways to explain the weather’s behavior. They may also need to find solutions to technical issues that arise during broadcasts.

Observation skills: Meteorologists need to be able to observe weather patterns and changes in the atmosphere. They need to be able to notice changes in the atmosphere, such as changes in cloud formations, wind speed and precipitation. This can help them predict weather patterns and make accurate forecasts.

Mathematical skills: Meteorologists use mathematical skills to interpret data and make calculations. They use these skills to interpret weather data and forecast weather patterns. They also use mathematical skills to interpret data from radar and satellite images.

Meteorologist Work Environment

Meteorologists work in offices, laboratories, or control towers. They may be exposed to bad weather conditions while conducting field research or while working on-site during natural disasters. Many meteorologists work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. Some meteorologists may be required to work overnight or on weekends. They may also be on call 24 hours a day to provide updates about severe weather conditions.

Meteorologist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how meteorologists work. Meteorologists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for Better Weather Forecasting

As the world becomes more dependent on technology, the need for better weather forecasting becomes increasingly important. This is because poor weather can have a significant impact on the operation of satellites, power grids, and other critical infrastructure.

Meteorologists can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in weather forecasting. They can then use their knowledge to help businesses and governments make better decisions about how to prepare for bad weather.

The Increasing Use of Data Science in Meteorology

The field of meteorology is evolving as data science becomes more prevalent. This means that meteorologists will need to be well-versed in data science in order to remain competitive.

By understanding how to use data science to analyze weather patterns, meteorologists can provide more accurate forecasts and warnings. Additionally, they can use data science to develop new products and services that are in demand from customers.

More Collaboration Between Meteorologists and Other Disciplines

As meteorologists collaborate with other disciplines, they will become more valuable members of teams. This is because they will be able to bring a unique perspective to problems that others may not be able to see.

In order to take advantage of this trend, meteorologists should look for opportunities to work with other professionals in different fields. This could include collaborating with engineers, architects, or designers on projects.

How to Become a Meteorologist

A meteorologist career path can be rewarding and exciting. It’s important to start by getting a degree in meteorology or atmospheric science. After graduation, you can work as a meteorologist for the government, private industry, or academia. You can also pursue other opportunities in related fields, such as weather forecasting, broadcasting, or teaching.

Related: How to Write a Meteorologist Resume

Advancement Prospects

The best way to advance in this field is to get more education. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for most entry-level positions in meteorology, but many meteorologists have a master’s degree or higher. The most advanced positions in meteorology, such as research positions or positions in the private sector, usually require a Ph.D.

In addition to more education, meteorologists can also advance by taking on more responsibility. For example, a meteorologist who starts out as a weathercaster might eventually become a news director or a weathercaster for a larger market. A meteorologist who works in research might eventually become a project manager or lead scientist.

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