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Difference Between Meteorologist & Geologist

Nature and science are often very closely connected. Learn more about two careers related to nature that require strong mathematical, scientific, and problem-solving abilities: meteorologists and geologists.

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Comparing Meteorologists to Geologists

For those who have particularly strong skills in mathematics and science, as well as a love for nature, considering a career as a meteorologist or a geologist may be a wise decision. While the day-to-day job duties of both positions are significantly different, the same set of basic skills and knowledge are required. Learn more about what it takes to be a meteorologist and a geologist.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2014-2024)**
Meteorologist Bachelor's Degree $51,604 12% (for all atmospheric scientists, including meteorologists)
Geologist Bachelor's Degree $58,495 10% (for all geoscientists)

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

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  • Astronomy
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  • Oceanography
  • Paleontology
  • Planetary Astronomy
  • Water Resource Sciences

Responsibilities of Meteorologists vs Geologists

Meteorologists spend their days observing and measuring weather conditions, while geologists focus their efforts on measuring various earth elements (such as rocks and minerals). Both positions require a bachelor's degree in their respective fields. A strong understanding of both math and physics, as well as exceptional communication skills, are an absolute must for both positions. Each have opportunities for advancement, and those with graduate degrees who are interested in research positions will find opportunities in both career paths. The main difference between these careers exists in what area of nature meteorologists and geologists spend their time analyzing.

Meteorologists

A meteorologist's primary goal is to analyze and predict weather conditions. Within this career path are a diverse range of work environments, including research and office settings, as well as television broadcasting and field work. Because the core duties can be broad, individuals who work in this area also have the chance to work on projects that interest them the most. Meteorologists are responsible for developing new systems to predict the weather, examining climate change, and analyzing historical weather data. In order to successfully carry out their duties, meteorologists must be able to use their knowledge of chemistry, physics, and math to yield accurate results.

Duties of a meteorologist may include the following:

  • Report current and future weather conditions to the public
  • Monitor and warn the public of severe weather conditions (e.g. floods, tornadoes)
  • Educate the public about weather conditions and terms
  • Collect and interpret weather data

Geologists

Geologists use their understanding of the field, as well as their scientific and mathematical knowledge, to take samples and analyze various items found on earth. This can include basic elements, land, minerals, and rocks. After earning a bachelor's degree in geology, individuals can begin their career as a geologist. After accumulating the necessary experience and possibly a graduate degree, geologists can go on to work as senior geologists, hydrogeologists, and environmental project managers. Due to the nature of their work, they must also be up-to-date on all local and federal laws that are applicable to the field.

Duties of a geologist may include the following:

  • Locate sources of oil, natural gas, and water
  • Create charts and models to help report findings
  • Travel to specific locations to collect samples of various elements
  • Use various tools to analyze the earth's history

Related Careers

Those who enjoy the idea of collecting and analyzing climate data may also be interested in a career as a climatologist. Additionally, those who are passionate about the earth might also consider a career as an ecologist.

How to Become a Climatologist: Education and Career Roadmap

Ecologist: Job & Career Information

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