Meteorology is the study of weather and weather patterns. Information is gathered from sources like the atmosphere, land and the sea. Computer programs along with mathematical modeling is used to predict short and long term weather patterns. This information is extremely important to industries like transport, agriculture, hipping and the health care industry to name a few.
Meteorologists are people who have specialized education and use their knowledge to understand, observe, explain and forecast weather and related phenomena. Besides forecasting weather, they also study the impact of weather and patterns on the environment. Research is also a part of their job – they look at weather patterns, how climate change impacts life around the globe and also make weather prediction models.
Some of the daily tasks that a meteorologist has to do are:
Meteorologists can also pursue careers in teaching, research, broadcasting and supporting multiple clients by working in the private sector.
Those interested in pursuing a career in this field can start in high school – the sciences and mathematics are essential. Earth science course are also useful. Universities do offer Bachelors, Masters and PhD level degrees in Meteorology and/or Atmospheric Sciences. Another option is to get a Bachelor’s degree in Math, Physics and Chemistry or even engineering and then pursue higher education in Meteorology.
Graduate level degrees are usually geared towards specialization and research. Students can explore them and choose to work in areas like oceanography, biology, ecology etc. Aspiring meteorologists have to be computer savvy as well to be able to use modeling software to do their work. Majoring in the field of Meteorology will require completing courses in naval engineering, meteorology application, mathematics, physics, environmental dynamics and chemistry to name a few.
A degree in this field opens up a lot of opportunities. Meteorologists can work all over the world, depending on their field of choice. They can work with the National Weather Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US government, the Navy, the Meteorological Society, Radio and TV stations, Airline companies etc. As scientists, they can also work in the field if they choose to, or do research.
Meteorologists require a number of skills to succeed at their jobs. They should be able to do mathematical and statistical calculations quickly, think fast and have a good work ethic. They should be very mobile as they will have to go to places where bad weather or a disaster hits. Analytical thinking and being technology savvy is important as well.
Meteorology jobs in the US are mostly with the federal government. Many are hired to work for NOAA, the National Weather Service, the Department of Defense, the Air Force or the Navy, NASA, Department of Agriculture and even the Department of Energy. Many can even find jobs with Universities doing teaching or research. In the private sector, one can find jobs with TV or radio stations.
The median salaries in 2012 for meteorologists were $87,000+, depending on experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects are pretty good and expected to grow 10% during the decade of 2012-2022. Entry level jobs can be had with a Bachelor’s degree and one can choose their specialty. Those who want to do research will need a Doctoral degree to do so. Employers do offer on the job training to bring new hires up to speed.