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Careers in Meteorology. What is a Meteorologist?. AMS: A person with specialized education, using scientific principles to explain, understand, observe or forecast the Earth’s atmospheric phenomena and/or how the atmosphere affects the Earth and life on the planet.

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what is a meteorologist
What is a Meteorologist?
  • AMS: A person with specialized education, using scientific principles to explain, understand, observe or forecast the Earth’s atmospheric phenomena and/or how the atmosphere affects the Earth and life on the planet
is being a meteorologist a good job
Is being a Meteorologist a good job?

The 2002 “Jobs Rated Almanac” ranks the meteorologist 7th out of 250 jobs evaluated by six criteria:

  • environment
  • income
  • employment outlook
  • physical demands
  • security
  • stress
job requirements and background
Job Requirements and Background
  • At least a 4 year degree (Bachelors)
    • For more advanced positions, a Masters or Doctoral degree
  • Interdisciplinary:
    • Mathematics – Computer Science
    • Physics – Geography
    • Chemistry
is meteorology right for me
Is Meteorology Right for Me?
  • Do you like weather?
  • Do you enjoy and excel in math, physics, chemistry and computer science courses?
  • For those interested in forecasting/broadcasting: Are you willing to work shifts and move multiple times to get the position you want?
    • If yes, then it might be the field for you
who employs meteorologists
Who Employs Meteorologists?
  • Federal Government
    • National Weather Service
  • Military
  • Universities
  • Broadcast Media
  • Private forecast firms
  • Consulting companies
how many jobs are there
How Many Jobs are There?
  • In the United States alone over 35,000 jobs involve the study of the Atmosphere
    • Operational Forecaster
    • Air Quality Modeler
    • Severe Storm Forecaster
    • Commodities Trader
    • Hurricane Researcher
      • And many, many more
big name employers
Big Name Employers
  • The National Weather Service employs approximately 5,000 Meteorologists
  • Another 1,000 work in the media
  • Even more though work in the private sector
private sector activities
Private Sector Activities
  • Most common jobs are in:
    • Weather Forecasting
    • Broadcast Meteorology
    • General Consulting
    • Air Quality
    • Computer Programming
salary scales in meteorology
Salary Scales in Meteorology
  • Private Sector:
    • About 80% of entry level jobs pay from $15,000 - $30,000 annually
    • This increases to $25,000 - $50,000 annually by years 3 to 5 of employment
  • Government Employees:
    • Set by civil service pay scales
salary scales in meteorology11
Salary Scales in Meteorology
  • Television and Media:
    • Dependent on many factors, such as:
      • Market Size
      • Viewership (Ratings)
      • Experience
      • Longevity in the position
meteorology jobs in media
Meteorology Jobs in Media
  • To get a radio or TV spot you have to be willing to start low and work your way up
  • An engaging personality and computer skills are a must
  • The first job is often weekends, mornings, or a fill-in position and is not going to be in a big city
ams certified broadcast met
AMS Certified Broadcast Met.
  • Replaced the old Seal of Approval program
  • Helps to identify those broadcast Meteorologists who have the training, experience and skills to perform well on the air
  • Requires maintenance of skills through professional development
professional organizations
Professional Organizations
  • The American Meteorological Society (AMS) is the primary scientific body for the field in the U.S.
  • Others include:
    • National Weather Association (NWA)
    • American Geophysical Union (AGU)
common specialties
Common Specialties
  • Aviation forecasting
  • Marine forecasting
  • Transportation forecasting
  • Fire weather forecasting
  • Agricultural forecasting
  • Wind engineering
  • Forensic meteorology
common specialties16
Common Specialties
  • Emergency Response Planning
  • Atmospheric Chemistry
  • Atmospheric Physics
  • Weather Observers
  • State Climatologists
  • University Research
detailed job descriptions
Detailed job descriptions


  • Atmospheric Scientists

Involved in air-pollution control, agriculture, forestry, transportation by sea and air, and climate trends.

  • Paleoclimatologists

Study tree rings, lake and ocean sediment and ice boreholes in an effort to understand climate variations.

  • Atmospheric chemists

Deal with the make-up of the atmosphere and the myriad of chemicals that are being released into it, man-made as well as natural emissions from microorganisms, trees and geological processes.

  • Atmospheric physicists

Studythe mathematics and theory of issues related to radar, radio wave and optical propagation, spectroscopy, etc.

detailed job descriptions18
Detailed job descriptions


  • Aviation forecasters

Continuously strive to improve accuracy of forecasts in order to limit flight delays and aviation accidents due to wind and ice.

  • Marine forecasters

Provide information with which commercial and recreational mariners can make decisions about routes or even whether to

stay in port on a given day. They also monitor the seas for signs of tsunamis.

  • Transportation forecasters

Monitor highway and railway weather conditions. Municipalities can make more informed decisions regarding staffing for snow removal and railways can take measures to guard against wind and snow drift problems.

detailed job descriptions19
Detailed job descriptions
  • Agricultural forecasters

Give forecasts which are helpful to farmers trying to determine: the best days to plant, fertilize or harvest; whether or not to take measures to protect their crops from freezes; efficient irrigation schedules.

  • Industrial forecasters

Provide businesses options to protect their goods and services from disruptions or to plan in advance to fill needs of customers. For example retailers may decide to order extra product or hire more staff or electric companies might need to be ready to generate at a higher capacity.

  • Commodities forecasters

Supply weather forecasts which can increase a trader's odds of predicting the profitability of consumer goods. An observant trader can predict investment windfalls or circumvent catastrophic losses.

detailed job descriptions20
Detailed job descriptions
  • Wind Engineers

Work with structural engineers to develop buildings and bridges that will withstand the forces of wind. But that’s not all. There is also work to be done in determination of pollution dispersion and efficient building ventilation.

  • Forensic meteorologists

Collect and analyze data that can be used in investigations for insurance claims and criminal trials.

detailed job descriptions21
Detailed job descriptions


  • Fire weather forecasters

Integrate meteorological data with fire hazard predictions and warnings and also management of existing fires.

  • Warning coordination meteorologists

Are an integral part of the emergency response planning that communities worldwide depend on when It comes to making decisions on whether to leave or stay when severe weather threatens. An important part of this program is the establishment of a communication system that is effective and reliable so that people will trust enough to leave when that recommendation is made. Federal, state and local agencies work together to notify communities of possible dangers and to organize timely evacuations.

coursework for a meteorologist
Coursework for a Meteorologist
  • Though there is not a Meteorology degree at USF, many of the courses that may help you in the field are offered.
    • Department of Geography
    • Department of Mathematics
    • Department of Physics
    • Department of Chemistry
    • Please note that if you are considering taking these courses, you should check with schools that offer meteorology programs if these courses will transfer. Not all of them will (but at the same time I would recommend taking them to provide you with a good background).
usf dept of geography courses
USF Dept. of Geography Courses
  • MET 4012C – Meteorology
  • MET 4002 – Climatology
  • GEO 2200 – Intro to Physical Geography
  • GEA 2000 – World Regional Geography
  • Possible other useful electives include coursework in GIS, Natural Hazards, Urban Planning
usf dept of mathematics courses
USF Dept. of Mathematics Courses
  • MAC 2311 — Calculus I
  • MAC 2312 — Calculus II
  • MAC 2313 — Calculus III
  • MAS 3105 — Linear Algebra
  • MAS 4156 — Vector Calculus
  • MAP 2302 — Differential Equations
  • MAP 5345 — Applied Partial Differential Equations
usf dept of physics courses
USF Dept. of Physics Courses
  • PHY 2048 – General Physics I (+ Lab)
  • PHY 2049 – General Physics II
    • Both of these are Calculus based
  • PHY 3101 – Modern Physics
  • If you are doing a degree at USF in Geography (and if you are interested in Meteorology) it is recommended that you complete a minor in physics and consider these courses .
usf dept of chemistry courses
USF Dept. of Chemistry Courses
  • CHM 2045 – General Chemistry I (+ Lab)
  • CHM 2046 – General Chemistry II
make sure your department advisor knows of your plans
Make sure your department advisor knows of your plans

You should seek formal and up-to-date advice on what courses to take from your official departmental advisor

other suggestions
Other suggestions
  • Show that you are involved in Meteorology outside of your regular classes. E.g. consider
    • A weather related Research Experience for Undergraduate Program (REU)
    • Being involved with the local chapter of the West Central Florida Chapter of the American Meteorological Society. e.g.
    • Look for directed research opportunities.
    • Consider internship opportunities, e.g.
      • FOX 13 with Andy Johnson.
      • National Weather Service (Ruskin) with Daniel Noah and Charlie Paxton.
      • Channel 10. with Bobby Deskins
      • Channel 8 with Steve Jerve and Megan Hatton.
  • Meteorology is a multi-disciplinary field, drawing on many difference sciences
  • There are many varied jobs in Meteorology available for those with the right training
  • With motivation and education, Meteorology can be a challenging and rewarding occupation