What are the Different Meteorologist Jobs?

K T Solis

Some people may believe that meteorologists only report the weather on television. Closer inspection of this career field reveals that meteorologists perform a variety of jobs. People who pursue meteorologist jobs investigate the earth's atmosphere. They study the way the atmosphere affects various aspects of the environment.

A meteorologist may specialize in specific types of weather formations, such as tornadoes.
A meteorologist may specialize in specific types of weather formations, such as tornadoes.

Meteorologist jobs involve using sensitive computer equipment to forecast the weather. Computers, satellites, radar, and aircraft equipment with instruments that monitor the atmosphere are all used by meteorologists to make weather predictions. This arsenal of equipment measures air pressure, temperature, and water vapor so meteorologists can create their forecasts.

The U.S. Military hires meteorologists.
The U.S. Military hires meteorologists.

Not all meteorologist jobs involve forecasting the weather. Synoptic meteorologist jobs entail inventing new instruments that measure atmospheric conditions. Climatologists, another form of meteorologist, examine historical data relating to rainfall, sunshine, wind, and temperature in specific geographic locations. This data is employed to assist in the planning of buildings and heating and cooling systems. It is also used to help with the agriculture industry.

Meteorologists help to predict winter storms.
Meteorologists help to predict winter storms.

Physical meteorologist is another type of meteorologist who does not report weather on the local news. These meteorologists study how sound, radio waves, and light are transmitted in the earth's atmosphere. They also study how the atmosphere is linked to the specific way that different types of weather, including tornadoes and hurricanes, form.

Some meteorologists appear on TV.
Some meteorologists appear on TV.

People who wish to pursue a career in meteorology must first earn a bachelor's degree in meteorology or another major that relates to this field. Courses in a meteorology program include classes in prediction of weather systems. Other required courses include classes in advanced mathematics such as calculus. Future meteorologists also must successfully complete classes in physics, chemistry, computer science, and statistics. Earning a master's degree provides the future meteorologist with better career opportunities. Candidates who have earned a doctorate degree can land jobs in meteorological research.

The U.S. government employs the majority of meteorologists in the U.S. The majority of these government workers are employed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NOAA is associated with the National Weather Service. Other U.S. government meteorologists work in the military, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Meteorologist jobs require that meteorologists work days, nights, weekends, and holidays. Weather monitoring stations are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During severe storms or other forms of inclement weather, meteorologists work long hours. Those who work for radio and television stations are examples of meteorologists who work large amounts of overtime during times of weather crises.

Some meteorologists do research work that benefits the agriculture industry.
Some meteorologists do research work that benefits the agriculture industry.

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Discussion Comments


I am impressed by the meteorologist who chase the tornadoes. The natural thing for any sane person to do when he knows a tornado is headed his way is to run in the other direction or take cover.

What makes a person want to follow the storms? As I said, I am impressed by what these storm chasers do, but I would not want this type of meteorologist job. I would much rather have a TV meteorologist job.


@Feryll - You are probably correct about the chances of graduating college with a degree in meteorology and immediately landing a job as a weather newscaster at a TV station. I guess this is a long shot at best. However, as the saying goes, it is often who you know and not what you know.

A classmate of mine, dropped out of college and began working for a radio station. He worked as a producer for some of the shows on the radio. One of the personalities from the radio station where he worked got a weekend job hosting a music program on a local TV station.

My former classmate would go to the station with the radio personality and hangout while the TV show was being filmed. He got to know some of the weather people at the station, and he eventually decided to go to meteorology school. Once he started school, he was hired at the station as an emergency fill-in weather man.

This is how he got his start in meteorology. When he finished school the TV station had a meteorologist job opening and he was given a full-time job as a weatherman at the TV station.


The competition for TV meteorologist job has to be some of the most intense competition around. After all, there are only so many of these types of jobs at a TV station and there are only a few TV stations per city. You take the limited number of potential jobs and then think about all of the college graduates trying to land the jobs, and you don't have to do the math to know that the odds are not in favor of the average meteorologist graduate landing a position at a TV station.

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