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Meteorologist / Weather Forecaster


How to Become a Meteorologist / Weather Forecaster
Meteorologist Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of a Meteorologist
Meteorologist Salary
Influential Professional Meteorologists / Weather Forecasters
Leading Organizations in this Field
Top Cities for MeteorologyJobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Meteorologist / Weather Forecaster

Those who want to become a meteorologist, or an atmospheric scientist, have a substantial amount of training ahead of them. There are a limited number of meteorological jobs available, so it is important to pay close attention to the path being followed in order to make sure that it is aligned with the requirements needed to become a meteorologist.

To get most entry level jobs as a meteorologist, you will need to have at least a bachelor's degree in meteorology or a related field. Some entry level jobs may even require a master's degree. Along with the degree, you will need a specified amount of credit hours pertaining to meteorology and related disciplines, such as thermodynamics, climatology, and even statistics or chemistry.

Since the meteorology field is so small, many colleges and universities do not offer the required coursework you will need. It will be extremely important for a prospective meteorologist to plan ahead and find a suitable school that will accommodate their objectives. It is also a good idea to think ahead as to where one might seek employment after obtaining a degree. Check to see what type of requirements must be fulfilled to ensure the correct path is followed. For example, to become a broadcast meteorologist, additional courses in speech will be essential for nailing down a job. It should be noted that jobs as broadcast meteorologists are quite limited and highly competitive.

Certification for meteorologists is available through the American Meteorological Society. In order to be eligible, a minimum number of requirements must be met and include education, work experience, and references of support. A separate certification is available for broadcast meteorologists as well.

What does a Meteorologist do?

A meteorologist will study atmospheric conditions that he or she will then use as a way to help forecast the weather. Some meteorologists will study both past and present atmospheric conditions to better understand the environment or why environmental events, such as global warming, occur.

A meteorologist will also use a variety of different tools, such as Doppler radar, satellites, and even special aircraft designed to fly in extreme weather, to analyze weather conditions.

You can find a meteorologist, sharing the predicted week's weather forecast on the nightly news or in a newspaper. NASA employs meteorologists that help to determine the weather conditions on the day of the shuttle launch as well as on its return to Earth. If the meteorologist predicts thunderstorms in the area, the shuttle may have to scrub their launch attempt until conditions improve or change their return destination.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Meteorologist?

To become a successful meteorologist, most people will need to have a genuinely enthusiastic appreciation of meteorology. It is not always an easy career path so staying focused and remaining passionate about meteorological events can be helpful. A strong mathematical background is also extremely important for a prospective meteorologist. Strength in physics is also beneficial. Excellent problem-solving skills will really help a meteorologist discover success along their career path. Solid analytical problem-solving skills are needed to help a meteorologist understand how atmospheric conditions are affecting the climate.

Interpersonal communication skills are necessary since most meteorologists work as part of a meteorological group. In order to contribute to the group, good communication will be essential and will result in increased success.

How much does a Meteorologist make?

During 2006, the median income for a meteorologist was $77,150. The middle half of incomes ranged between $55,530 and $96,490. The highest paid ten percent of all meteorologist earned more than $119,700. The lowest paid ten percent of meteorologist made less than $39,090.

In 2007, the federal government paid its meteorologists an average of $84,882. Starting meteorological positions with the federal government typically earned a salary of $35,752. Depending on the various credentials a meteorologist obtains, the salary will change to reflect this.


Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Meteorologist Bob Ryan is a former president of the American Meteorological Society. He can be seen forecasting the weather in Washington, D.C. on WRC-TV where he has been since 1980. Previously, Ryan was the first meteorologist to forecast weather for the Today Show. For 25 years, Ryan created an almanac of the meteorological events that had happened in the past for a specific day as well as average temperatures that one could expect to see.

NOAA Administrator Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr. helped to organize the first Earth Observation Summit in which several nations throughout the world participated. During the summit, the decision was made to create a Global Earth Observation System of Systems, or GEOSS, that would help to spread information regarding the climate on a global scale instead of being restricted to one particular country.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The Byrd Polar Research Center is recognized worldwide as being a top institute for polar research. Their main focus is on how the polar region affects the overall climate of the planet. The center is named after Admiral Richard E. Byrd who is a famed polar explorer.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, is a government agency that is part of the United States Department of Commerce. NOAA constantly monitors environmental conditions to help provide critical data to citizens, city planners, and members of emergency teams. NOAA releases daily weather forecasts as well.

The World Meteorological Organization, or WMO, monitors the planets atmospheric conditions and the effect it has on the climate. The WMO is part of the United Nations, and it established the Global Atmosphere Watch, which monitors atmospheric conditions.

What are the top cities for Meteorology jobs?

One of the best places to find meteorologist jobs is Houston, Texas. The area is frequently subjected to unusual weather patterns, which can present more job opportunities for prospective meteorologists. Portland, Oregon and Lawrence, Kansas also provide a range of job opportunities for meteorologists.

Meteorologist might also try looking for jobs in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus is home to the Byrd Polar Research Center and can be a valuable source of potential jobs.

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