Meteorology

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Area

Weather Forecasting (non-media)

  • Atmospheric pollution
  • Aviation weather
  • Marine weather
  • Fire weather

  • Surface transportation
  • Agriculture

  • Renewable energy
  • Combat weather

Employers

  • Government:
    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Weather Service (NWS)
    • Military Services:
      • Navy and Air Force
    • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA):
      • Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)
      • Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
    • Department of Energy
    • Department of Agriculture
    • Department of Defense
    • Department of Homeland Security

  • Utility and power companies
  • Renewable energy companies (wind and solar)
  • Large shipping companies
  • Private consulting firms that support:
    • Agriculture (e.g., farmers, ranchers)
    • Ocean shipping agencies
    • Cruise lines
    • Highway departments
    • Ground shipping companies (truck and rail)
    • Commodities traders
    • Recreational areas and resorts
    • Airlines
    • Energy related companies
    • Insurance companies

  • Airlines
  • Insurance industry
  • NGOs (Red Cross, World Food Bank, etc.)

Strategies

  • Build a strong theoretical background in meteorology and practical experience in forecasting.
  • Take classes in computer programing and obtain programing experience through internships and summer jobs.
  • Be aware that weather forecasting is a 24/7 activity and some jobs will require shift work or unpredictable hours.
  • Consider developing a portfolio by writing papers about local weather events, attending conferences and training, and completing additional college course work.
  • Be prepared to serve as a liaison and voice to the community
  • Plan to take classes in communication, technical writing, speaking and listening.
  • Seek internships and summer opportunities to develop skills in real-world applications and to make connections.
  • Participate in as many on-campus forecasting activities as possible (e.g., forecasting game, forecasting for the local community).

Area

Media Weather Forecasting

  • Television broadcasting
  • Radio broadcasting

  • Internet broadcasting
  • Forecasts for digital media

Employers

  • Networks and cable channels
  • Small market television stations

  • Private weather firms that supply weather forecasts to newspapers, radio, television, cable companies, and supply forecasts and forecasting/graphic systems to broadcasters and digital media companies

Strategies

  • Build a strong theoretical background in meteorology and practical experience in forecasting.
  • Take classes in computer programming and obtain programming experience through internships and summer jobs.
  • Develop strong public speaking and presentation skills.
  • Be prepared to serve as a liaison and voice to the community.
  • Take classes in journalism and broadcasting to supplement your skills for this career path.
  • Become familiar with computer software for forecasting and web design.
  • Consider applying for The American Meteorological Society Certified Broadcast Meteorologist program.
  • Actively seek internships and summer opportunities to develop skills in real-world applications and to make connections.
  • Participate in as many on-campus forecasting activities as possible (e.g., forecasting game, forecasting for the local community).

Area

Consulting/Information Services

  • Weather information systems
  • Forensic meteorology

  • Weather forecasting
  • Climatology

  • Risk assessment
  • Decision support

Employers

  • Private weather firms that provide services to:
    • Military (all branches)
    • Disaster relief organizations
    • Law enforcement
    • Utility and power companies
    • Construction companies

  • Continued:
    • Financial and insurance institutions
    • Fisheries
    • Urban and regional planners
    • Landscape companies
    • Professional sports teams

  • Continued:
    • Event organizers
    • Film production companies
    • Vacation resorts
    • Retail outlets
    • Manufacturing companies

Strategies

  • Build a strong theoretical background in meteorology and practical experience in forecasting.
  • Take classes in computer programming and obtain programming experience through internships and summer jobs.
  • Acquire additional skills in office applications such as Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and GIS applications.
  • Seek knowledge of environmental regulations, laws and applications which may be needed for this specialization.
  • Develop strong communication skills for presenting reports and meteorological analyses to clients.
  • Investigate earning an MBA which may be beneficial when assisting firms with business decisions in private industry .
  • Consider applying for The American Meteorological Society Certified Consulting Meteorologist program.
  • Actively seek internships and summer opportunities to develop skills in real-world applications and to make connections.
  • Participate in as many on-campus forecasting activities as possible (e.g., forecasting game, forecasting for the local community).

Area

Air and Environmental Quality

  • Environmental assessments and permitting
  • Climatology
  • Air pollution

  • Risk assessment
  • Ambient monitoring

  • Specialized studies (e.g., photochemical modeling, acid rain, global warming)
  • Wildfire mitigation
  • Facilities management and sustainability

Employers

  • Government:
    • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state environmental agencies
    • Military Services:
      • Navy and Air Force
    • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
      • Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)
      • Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
    • Department of Energy
    • Department of Agriculture
    • Department of Defense
    • Department of Homeland Security

  • Research laboratories
  • Universities and colleges
  • Private-sector consulting firms
  • Non-profit environmental organization

Strategies

  • Build a strong theoretical background in meteorology and practical experience in forecasting.
  • Take classes in computer programming and obtain programming experience through internships and summer jobs. Develop additional skills in office applications such as Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and GIS applications.
  • Conduct research with professors or scientists in the field.
  • Stay abreast of current technologies, regulations and statutes related to air quality.
  • Join community groups or service organizations that focus on environmental awareness; attend public meetings.
  • Actively seek internships and summer opportunities to develop skills in real-world applications and to make connections.
  • Take air-pollution related electives to help build knowledge of the industry, issues, and technologies.

Area

Atmospheric Instrumentation

  • Meteorological software
  • Monitoring parameters (e.g., temperature, wind velocity, humidity)
  • Atmospheric chemistry sampling (e.g., carbon dioxide, oxides of nitrogen)

  • Remote-sensing operations
  • Radar and lidar
  • Satellite imagery

  • Equipment repair
  • Mobile technologies

Employers

  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA):
    • Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)
    • Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Manufacturers of meteorological instruments
  • Engineering firms

  • Satellite and radar manufacturers
  • Renewable energy companies

Strategies

  • Build a strong theoretical background in meteorology and practical experience in forecasting.
  • Take classes in computer programming and obtain programming experience through internships and summer jobs.
  • Seek knowledge in areas such as computer science electronics, optics, or radiative transfer.
  • Develop strong technical skills required for operating electronic instrumentation and meteorological observational sensors.
  • Take classes in engineering and design.

Area

Research

  • Climate science
  • Weather systems
  • Air-sea interactions

  • Atmospheric chemistry and aerosol transport
  • Polar meteorology
  • Geophysical fluids dynamics
  • Boundary layer meteorology

  • Heliophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Hydrology
  • Oceanography

Employers

  • Universities and colleges
  • University affiliated research laboratories:
    • University of Wisconsin Space Science Engineering Center (SSEC)
    • MIT-Lincoln Labs
    • Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorology (CIMMS)
    • Cooperative Institute for Environmental Studies (CIRES)

  • Atmospheric research centers
  • Satellite research centers
  • Research laboratories
  • National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

  • Government:
    • National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), including the National Weather Service (NWS)
    • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA):
      • Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)
      • Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
      • Langley Research Center
      • Marshall Space Flight Center
    • Military Services:
      • Navy and Air Force
  • Professional and technical journal publishers
  • Private weather research companies

Strategies

  • Build a strong theoretical background in meteorology and practical experience in forecasting.
  • Take classes in computer programming and obtain programming experience through internships and summer jobs.
  • Participate in a research team under the guidance of a professor.
  • Plan to pursue a master’s degree at minimum to enter the field of research.
  • Obtain Ph.D. to direct research projects and lead research teams.
  • Develop good technical writing skills for publications.
  • Take a course in grant writing, as research is often funded in this manner.
  • Maintain a high grade point average and secure strong faculty recommendations to gain admittance into graduate school.

Area

Education

  • Teaching
  • Research

Employers

  • Universities and colleges
  • Pre-K-12 schools

  • Planetariums
  • Museums
  • Professional and technical journal publishers

Strategies

  • Build a strong theoretical background in meteorology and practical experience in forecasting.
  • Take classes in computer programing and obtain programing experience through internships and summer jobs.
  • Consider obtaining a higher degree which will help you advance in this field.
  • Research funding options such as assistantships or fellowships to help with tuition during graduate study.
  • Meteorology is rarely taught as a stand-alone subject in schools Pre-K-12. If you plan on teaching this subject at this academic level, prepare to become a physics, earth, or
  • general sciences teacher.
  • Gain experience working for students of your target population.
  • Get certification/license to teach in the state in which you will live and work.
  • Complete a master’s degree for community college teaching and a Ph.D. for university level teaching.

General Information

  • Foster an inquisitive mind and imagination.
  • Develop analytical skills and computer skills.  An aptitude for math and science is critical.
  • Consider majors such as meteorology, physics, engineering, or a science related disciplines to enter this field.
  • Get experience in computer languages such as FORTRAN, C/C++, Python, and/or IDL within a UNIX environment.
  • Take part in an internship, co-op or development program with the National Weather Service (NWS).
  • Look into gaining an assistantship or fellowship to help with tuition during graduate study.
  • The NWS provides opportunities to pursue graduate studies through certain programs and also work for a full salary.
  • Be prepared to work around the clock on evening, weekends and even holidays.
  • Expect to work independently, as many meteorologists work in isolation for long amounts of time.