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Difference Between Meteorologist & Weatherman

Considering a career in atmospheric science? Learn more about the differences and similarities between the day-to-day job duties of a meteorologist and a weatherman.

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Comparing Meteorologists to Weathermen

If you are considering a career in atmospheric science, it is important to understand the defining characteristics of meteorologists and weathermen. While both career paths can be obtained with the same level of education and training, weathermen report the weather on television, while meteorologists work in an office or in a research setting. Take a complete look at the similarities and differences between meteorologists and weathermen.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2014-2024)**
Meteorologist Bachelor's Degree $51,634 12% (For all atmospheric scientists, including meteorologists)
Weatherman Bachelor's Degree $60,000 (Morning Anchor)
$73,698 (Evening Anchor)
12% (For all atmospheric scientists, including meteorologists)

Source: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Meteorologists and Weathermen

Depending on their individual education and position responsibilities, the day-to-day duties of a meteorologist and a weatherman can look quite similar. The key difference between these roles is the work environment. Meteorologists work in offices and research environments as they collect and analyze weather data. A weatherman, however, reports weather conditions, alerts, and forecasts on live television. Weathermen may have a background as a meteorologist, but it is not always required. Whether working in a television station or an office, both meteorologists and weathermen work to inform and educate the public about the weather.

Meteorologist

Do you have a passion for learning about weather phenomena, collecting data, and predicting future conditions using advanced math and computer modelling? If so, these are just some of the daily tasks performed by meteorologists. Meteorologists are typically required to have a bachelor's degree in meteorology or atmospheric science. Those who perform research must often earn a master's degree or Ph.D. in a related field of study. Successful meteorologists must also have a strong understanding of mathematical and scientific principles, have superior analytical abilities, and be effective communicators.

Job responsibilities of a meteorologist include:

  • Analyzing weather data to be able to report future conditions
  • Monitoring and issuing watches/warnings for severe weather
  • Assisting in the development of new technology for monitoring weather conditions
  • Performing research to help create better methods for predicting future weather events

Weatherman

Individuals who love the weather and being on camera will be an exceptional fit for a position as a weatherman. In some cases, weathermen have the exact same education and abilities as a meteorologist; however, some weathermen do not have a scientific background. Weathermen who have been trained as meteorologists are sometimes responsible for collecting and interpreting local weather data. To best communicate current and future weather conditions with the public while on air, weathermen take complex data and make it easy to understand for the general public. In addition to an extensive understanding of the weather, weathermen need to have outstanding public speaking skills.

Job responsibilities of a weatherman include:

  • Attending to cues from teleprompters and maintaining a calm on-air presence
  • Warning the public of impending severe weather through clear and efficient communication
  • Creating informative weather maps for on-air use
  • Educating the public about weather terms and weather events

Related Careers

Those who enjoy studying and analyzing data related to environmental conditions may also enjoy a career as an environmental scientist. If you instead prefer the idea of reporting important news information on camera, a career as a broadcast journalist may also be fitting.

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