Career Definition for a Meteorologist
Meteorologists study the relationships between atmospheric characteristics and the environment. They predict future weather conditions, study climate trends over time, track ozone levels, study rainfall and monitor global temperature. Meteorologists are needed in both urban and rural regions.
|Job Skills||Analytical skills, communication, critical thinking, mathematics|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$92,070 (for all atmospheric scientists, meteorologists included)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||12% (for all atmospheric scientists, meteorologists included)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Meteorologists need at least a bachelor's degree to find a job, but most research positions require a master's degree or doctorate. Students will need to take courses in physics, statistics, chemistry, weather systems, calculus and physical climatology among others. A bachelor's degree is usually awarded after four years of study, and a master's or doctorate takes between two and four additional years to obtain.
Meteorologists need strong math and science skills and should be knowledgeable about research methods. They also need to be able to understand and analyze large amounts of data. Students looking to use their meteorology background to enter broadcasting will also need basic journalism knowledge.
Career and Economic Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) reports that the median annual salary for atmospheric and space scientists (which include meteorologists) is about $92,070 for May 2017. Employment in this career is expected to increase 12% from 2016-2026.
Alternate Career Options
Those seeking to become meteorologists may consider a variety of related occupations, including environmental engineering and hydrology.
These engineers are required to have a bachelor's degree in environmental engineering or a closely related field before securing employment developing solutions to environmental problems. The BLS projected an average employment growth, from 2016-2026, of 8% for these professionals who earned a median annual wage of $86,800 in 2017.
Most jobs for hydrologists require a master's degree and some states also require licensure. These scientists study water and the water cycle to solve problems concerning water availability and quality. The BLS predicted 10% job growth for this career, for 2016-2026. According to the BLS, an annual median salary of $79,990 was earned by hydrologists in 2017.