Career Development

Meteorologist Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More

Meteorologists are scientists who study the atmosphere and its interaction with other parts of the earth. Meteorologists use their knowledge to provide weather forecasts for local news broadcasts, to help farmers plan their planting seasons, and to track storms that could threaten coastal areas.

Meteorologists are scientists who study the atmosphere and its interaction with other parts of the earth. Meteorologists use their knowledge to provide weather forecasts for local news broadcasts, to help farmers plan their planting seasons, and to track storms that could threaten coastal areas.

Meteorologists often work in television, radio, or the government. They study weather patterns to predict what the weather will be like in a particular area on a particular day.

They may specialize in different areas of meteorology, such as climate science or oceanography. Meteorologists must have excellent math skills and knowledge of chemistry and physics. They must also be good at problem solving, since many aspects of weather are unpredictable.

Meteorologist Job Duties

Meteorologists are responsible for a wide range of duties including the following:

  • Observing and recording weather conditions, including temperature, precipitation, wind speed, humidity, barometric pressure, and other meteorological data
  • Equipping weather stations with instruments for collecting data about temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, rainfall levels, and other meteorological measurements vital to making forecasts
  • Forecasting weather conditions using computer models or other tools to predict future weather patterns
  • Interpretation of computer-generated weather forecasts on television or the radio for the public
  • Providing consumers with information about hazardous weather conditions or potential hazards
  • Recommending safety measures during extreme weather events or other emergencies to the public
  • Investigating possible causes of natural disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods

Meteorologist Salary & Outlook

The median annual wage for meteorologists is $58,853. Those earning higher wages tend to work for government agencies, and the top earners are making over $100,000 per year.

The employment of meteorologists is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade. This is due to an increasing need for accurate weather forecasts as the climate continues to change, as well as growing demand for weather-related information from a variety of industries, including travel and energy production.

Meteorologist Job Requirements

The requirements for a meteorologist are as follows:

Education: Meteorologists have a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric sciences or a related field. Many employers prefer candidates who also have a master’s degree, especially if they wish to work in the broadcast news industry. 

Training: The only way to learn how to be a meteorologist is through on-the-job training and hands on experience. Every employer has different training methods, but most will allow professionals time to shadow experienced meteorologists. This training gives them an opportunity to understand how forecasts are prepared before working independently.

Certifications: While not required for this type of role, some employers may prefer meteorologists to hold a certification for their work. The American Meteorological Society (AMS) offers a variety of certifications, including Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM), Certified Consulting Meteorologist (CCM), and Certified AMS Teacher (CAT).

Meteorologist Skills

Meteorologists should have the following skills:

Mathematical skills: Meteorologists must be able to solve mathematical problems in order to develop computer models of weather patterns.

Knowledge of meteorology: Meteorologists must have a working knowledge of weather patterns, conditions, and events.

Technical writing skills: Meteorologists must be able to write technical reports on weather patterns and computer models.

Communication skills: Meteorologists must be able to communicate effectively with other scientists, government officials, and the public.

Observation skills: Meteorologists must be able to observe clouds, precipitation, wind, and other weather phenomena.

Analytical skills: Meteorologists must be able to use computer programs that can display various types of weather data in order to analyze past weather patterns and forecast future weather conditions.

Meteorologist Work Environment

Weather forecasting is a highly competitive field, and meteorologists often work long hours. Meteorologists work in government offices, television stations, and weather stations. They must be familiar with many different kinds of weather patterns that can affect the environment in various locations. 

Meteorologists sometimes need to travel when hurricanes, tornadoes, or other storms are forecasted. Even when not traveling, they may need to collect data during severe weather events. Meteorologists may also spend some time working outdoors doing research for future programs. This job requires experience dealing with scientific equipment, which means there is some risk of injury.

Meteorologist Career Advancement

Meteorologists who want to advance in their profession must attend seminars, workshops, and conferences to stay current on the latest forecasts, weather tracking tools, and other cutting edge technologies. They should also become proficient in the use of the latest computer models, which are used to determine the strength and movement of weather systems.

Meteorologists who excel at their jobs can eventually work their way up to a position as a chief meteorologist. In this position, you’ll not only be responsible for forecasting the weather, but for managing a team of meteorologists, writing scripts for the weather segment, and doing research for the news department.

In addition to promotions, many meteorologists change careers to become TV personalities. If you have a knack for being in front of the camera, you might enjoy being a meteorologist on a local TV station or a meteorologist for a national news network.

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.

Increased Public Interest in Weather Predictions

The increasing number of people who track weather on a daily basis is also leading to increased demand for meteorologists.

In fact, studies have shown that one-third of Americans check the weather on a daily basis and as these numbers continue to rise, so will the need for more trained meteorologists. 

The Role of Technology in Forecasting

Weather forecasting has become a more complex field as the development of technology allows meteorologists to collect and process a greater amount of data. This can lead to a better understanding of local weather patterns, allowing meteorologists to be more accurate in their forecasts.

More Emphasis on Social Media Presence

As audiences continue to demand more access to meteorologists’ lives, both during and outside of broadcasts, the nature of meteorology as a profession is changing.

Meteorologists will need to find ways to maintain privacy while also showing viewers they are approachable and willing to share details about their lives. 

How to Become a Meteorologist

1. Planning Your Career Path

While meteorology is a fascinating field, aspiring meteorologists should consider how they can integrate their passion for weather with other areas of interest. For example, if you’re interested in both journalism and science, consider a career as a weather reporter or TV meteorologist. In this position, you would be responsible for gathering information about storms, tornadoes, and other natural phenomena to share with viewers in a clear and engaging way. If you are introverted, there are positions that require more analysis and less interaction.

2. Writing a Resume

The best resumes for meteorologists demonstrate a person’s passion for the field and their knowledge of weather patterns.

When describing your work history, it’s important to show how you can use past experience in your new role. For example, if you worked as an intern at a local news station or television station, be sure to detail the kind of work you did and how it prepared you for a career in this field. You can also include any additional responsibilities that you handled during previous positions, such as doing interviews with the media or hosting events.

In addition to listing your education, be sure to list any certifications that you have. If you’ve won awards or received accolades in your field, include those as well. 

3. Applying for Jobs

For meteorologists, there are two primary approaches to obtaining a job. The first is networking with local television stations and reporting agencies to try and gain an entry-level position. Meteorologists have had some success finding work by being an intern for a station that fits their style of forecasting, then moving up within the organization. This is also an excellent time to develop your website and blog. Meteorologists use these tools to showcase their work, which is what hiring managers are most interested in.

The second approach is similar to that of other STEM careers: keep your resume updated, participate in conferences, give lectures at universities, present research at relevant conferences, etc. To get started, start with the job listings on CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com, Indeed.com, etc. but also make sure to put yourself out there with some personal networking! A degree is only the beginning of a meteorologist’s journey into the field. 

4. Ace the Interview

To prepare for an interview as a meteorologist, make sure you are well-versed in weather trends. It is also important to demonstrate that you are comfortable with the technology that is used to gather, analyze, and display information about the weather. Be prepared to discuss different types of weather patterns and how they affect local populations.

If you are interviewing for a position as a meteorologist at a television station, consider doing some research on their website and watch weather report footage before your interview so that you become familiar with them. This can help you show off your knowledge of the news station’s brand.

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