Meteorological Sciences

Meteorological science professionals use atmospheric data to forecast changes in the weather and climate. Learn about career options and salary info in addition to degree programs and certification requirements.

Are the Meteorological Sciences for Me?

Career Overview

Meteorological sciences focus on the examination and interpretation of weather processes and traits of the atmosphere. Workers in this field are sometimes referred to atmospheric scientists or operational meteorologists. These scientists study and interpret atmospheric data to predict weather patterns, examine climate tendencies and make weather reports. You can work in many specialized areas of meteorology, including environmental meteorology and climatology. You typically need to know how to use a variety of weather-reading tools and have a foundation in geography to work in meteorological sciences.

Salary and Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that atmospheric scientists would experience a job growth rate of 10% from 2012-2022, with the most job opportunities being in the private sector (www.bls.gov). Atmospheric scientists made a median yearly salary of $87,030 in 2013. With enough experience, you can advance to administrative positions or offer consulting services.

How Can I Work in Meteorological Sciences?

Education Programs

You generally need at least a bachelor's degree to work in meteorological sciences. A degree in meteorology is a good choice, but not always necessary. You can take advanced science and math courses at the undergraduate level to prepare for a career in meteorology. You might find it beneficial to obtain a master's degree or a second bachelor's degree, depending on your career goals. If you plan to work in meteorological science research, you will typically need a Ph.D. If you require flexibility in your academic schedule, you may consider pursuing an online meteorological degree at either the undergraduate or graduate level.

Topics of Study

A bachelor's degree in meteorology usually includes concentration options, such as climatology, weather forecasting or air quality. Bachelor's degree programs can offer many different courses, including mesoscale meteorology, atmospheric dynamics and radiation dynamics. Some employers might require that you have taken specific courses, so you should consider your career goals before enrolling in a degree program. A graduate degree program in meteorology might offer courses such as weather radar theory or cloud physics. A few meteorology master's degree programs require you to have obtained a bachelor's degree in meteorology, while others only require a bachelor's degree with a strong background in math and computers.

Certification

You might need to become certified for some meteorological jobs. The American Meteorological Society offers the Certified Consulting Meteorologist (CCM) designation if you plan to do meteorology consulting work. You will need at least five years of experience or have a combination of experience plus an advanced degree to earn the CCM designation. If you want to work in television, the Certified Broadcast Meteorologist certification can be a good option. You will need to pass the exam, have a degree in meteorology and have your work reviewed to get this certification.

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