What is a Meteorologist?
A meteorologist also known as a weatherman or weathercaster is a specialized scientist that has the main duty of observing, understanding and being able to explain through scientific principles how the Earth’s atmosphere affects and impacts the Earth and everyone that lives on it. Issuing forecast is just one of the things that these meteorologists are prepared to do, since they are many types of meteorologists and plenty of job opportunities.
For instance, a broadcast meteorologist is responsible and is the one who reports weather for the television that hired him or her. This career field is really popular and since it’s an entry-level career you only need a Bachelor’s degree or depending on the requirements of the state in which you are working none at all.
Another type of meteorologists are the research meteorologists that mainly dedicate their jobs to chasing storms and hurricanes. These professionals are the ones who usually work for the NWS or else known as the National Weather Service or for the NOAA, or with other words the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and not only.
Incident meteorologists are those specialists who usually work with the emergency personnel management as well as with the firefighters. They provide onsite weather support when a wildfire or other natural disaster is taking place and the list continues.
Job description of a Meteorologist
The main responsibilities that meteorologists need to fulfill are based on checking out the numerical and historical data that will allow them to make predictions and be able to observe the weather in a real time frame. According to the job that you are dealing with you might be asked to make presentations for news programs, while in some job positions, these professionals will be asked to travel in various areas and locations where extreme weather conditions will be experienced in order to present better observations.
Meteorologists will often present findings to the audience that is usually not accustomed with the technical terms. This is why meteorologists should break down summaries into words that can be understood. You will be required also to view a full and detailed spectrum of colors since many of the weather tools include and involve observing color modules. You might not be 100% correct all the time, but being accurate and providing the audience with the best predictions from the data offered is really important.
As a meteorologist, you will have to offer training to other employees, not to mention that there are some positions that will inquire these specialists to work on odd hours, while other will ask them to do rotating shifts.
Their daily tasks on a job in this career field will include graphics and visualization to be created that will allow you to explain the weather patterns, along with being able to analyze the weather data and give reports and interpretations. Other main duties will be to describe, predict, and explain the weather patterns to various public audiences, collect and clean data, as well as identify the data sources for the weather.
How to become a Meteorologist?
If your dream is to become a meteorologist and you really want to chase this career field, take a look at the requirements that lay ahead you for better understanding what the education path includes and what this job demands. The first step in every good preparation on the educational path starts right from high school.
If you really want to become one of these specialists, it all starts by taking the proper studies. The best to start with is courses in advanced math such as calculus, physics, Earth science as well as chemistry. There are plenty of schools that want to help, by providing AP courses that can transfer into credit for college. Don’t forget to sharpen your English writing skills since as a meteorologist you’ll be asked to write a lot of lab reports and research papers. If by any chance you choose a career at television then you’ll need to be able to communicate the information that you possess clearly.
As a meteorologist you’ll be plenty of time around technology, so try to get used to various computer programs or models in order to do a proper research. With other words you need to know and understand in a deep manner how computers function and also the required technology that you are using so that you could pursue a career in this field.
Among the first steps of the educational training is to obtain a Bachelor’s degree either in meteorology or atmospheric sciences. The classes that are taught in a college are based upon subjects as math calculus, dynamics, synoptic, and science as well because some computer programming courses are necessary.
Some of the meteorologists degrees are a combination of subjects between meteorology and other scientific fields such as chemistry, geology, statistics, oceanography and a few others. If your dream is to become a TV Meteorologist then the most appropriate classes for this job would be in journalism, speech or other media fields that are related. On the other hand if you want to work for the government right after you’ve obtained your bachelor’s degree, you will be demanded to finish some courses that are under some strict guidelines and also have a number of credit hours – like 24 at least in meteorology or atmospheric science.
Depending on the job that you want to pursue you’ll need a master’s degree or a Ph. D. For the field of meteorology you’ll find 100 undergraduate and graduate programs that will help you in your job choice. For doing research you’ll definitely need a Ph. D., while some other graduates will get two masters in different sciences. What is good to known is that some of the graduate training degree programs will encourage the bachelor’s in math or computer science instead of meteorology.
A good way to gain experience is to get an internship, whether it’s in high school or your bachelor’s, this part will give you a lot of value and it will matter when writing an application or CVs. The second part that you’ll need to adjust is to think about what career in the field of meteorology you’ll want to pursue.
There are various types of meteorologists. The specific tasks that they perform except the forecasting is the way that the atmosphere affects the environment in which we are living. With other words they study the characteristics and the processes of the atmosphere and the impact it has on the Earth surface. Their job also involves the study of climate and the changes that occur in the climate.
To better understand the jobs of these professionals, let’s take a look at the various types of meteorologists. For instance an operational meteorologist is the one responsible with forecasting the weather, while a climatologist is responsible with gathering up information about the seasonal changes that usually take place over months and years.
An environmental meteorologist has among other duties the main task of studying the issues that affect the Earth’s atmosphere such as air pollution. The next step is to figure out where you would like to work since there are plenty of job openings in various places and each of these places might have slightly various background demands. If you would like to work for government agencies, such as the Department of Defense then you could apply to NASA, the National Weather Service or NOAA.
If you’ll want a career in television, you can get into contact with a television station, or a national station such as CNN, The Weather Channel, Fox News and other. Work can also be found in the private sector. There are plenty of companies that pay these professionals to figure out the way that climate and weather patterns will affect their business.
For those who work in the field of radio and television as meteorologists, the American Meteorological Society provides certificates such as certified broadcast meteorologist credentials. In order to be able to obtain this certification you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in meteorology and also submit examples of your work. Then you must be able to pass an exam.
There are some organizations that will require that you have training when employed. For instance the National Weather Service demands their employees to complete 200 hours of training on the job, per year for the time period of 2 years. If your plan is to obtain an entry-level position in a federal government position then you’ll face more training and gain more experience. Usually the federal government will put you to an intern position where you’ll learn about forecasting and weather systems in various offices until your training is completed. Afterwards you’ll be placed to a duty station.
One of the best ways to start looking for a job are the online resources. You can search for job opportunities also in the private sector for consulting positions and apply. If you are looking for jobs at news stations, then the best tip is to go small with a news station and then advance to a larger one. Another way of getting a position is to search for those universities and meteorological societies that will grant students and members the right aid of matching them with job opportunities in the private sector.
Being a meteorologist means a lot of hard work and dedication. To be a good professional you’ll need great communication skills, this is a huge necessity especially if you’ll want to have a job in broadcasting. You’ll need to learn how it is to work in a team, as well as have good computer skills, math and science skills as well.
Make sure that you are able to work in various environment conditions. Since you’ll have to follow the weather there are many weather conditions that are very dangerous such as tornadoes, blizzards, and hurricanes. Your schedule has to be quite flexible and you should be willing to work long hours.
Work Environment and Schedule
The largest employer for meteorologists and atmospheric scientists is the U.S. government, with jobs that can be found at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or short NOAA. They have huge lab research in areas such as Miami, Oklahoma, Florida, Colorado and a few other locations. Plenty of the NOAA meteorologists work at various weather stations that are found all across the country.
Meteorologists can find work also in armed forces, or at NASA, television stations, airlines or consulting firms. In weather stations or laboratories the majority of meteorologists work indoors, while other jobs for meteorologists involve outdoor activities. Those who are government researchers or university researchers will do some work in the field to collect data or just to observe the weather events. Some of the most exposed are the broadcast meteorologists that may need to go in the field to report the weather.
When it comes to the schedule of these professionals many work on a full-time job but they don’t keep the regular time frame from 9 to 5 work day. Most of the entry-level forecasters or other field station forecasters work rotating shifts this including nights, weekends and even holidays to cover the weather on a continuous base.
During those severe weather events, meteorologists work long extended hours for the whole period of these events. The typical schedule hours are mainly held by the Atmospheric Scientists while the researchers might work on several particular projects, having extended hours.
Pros and cons of being a Meteorologist
To better understand this job and what you’ll get into, take a look at the advantages and disadvantages that accompany this job. For instance it is good that you’ll travel across the country, appear on television to broadcast the weather. You are the main link when it comes to weather with the public audience. You will be there to broadcast severe weather conditions such as hurricanes or tornadoes.
The disadvantage when you are doing this job as a meteorologist is the fact that your schedule will include long hours of work, especially when a severe weather condition is taking place. For instance if you are one of the hurricane trackers, especially during summer, you’ll be there chasing it this involving less time spent with your family.
Another pro in this job field is the fact that you can benefit of a good salary that can get up to $90,010 per year or even higher. You will also get national wide opportunities of work, due to your predictions people might be saved and areas evacuated in time.
On the other hand, this career can be filled with a lot of criticism especially if your weather predictions were wrong. You’ll also have to work hard in order to obtain a degree, this involving courses that are not easy to take, and you might need to relocate.
In 2012, in the US, the average median income for meteorologists was $89,262 per year, with an hourly rate that was $42.92 per hour, while in 2015 the income was $89,822 per year. According to the type of industry the federal government workers were in the top payed salaries with incomes that reached at $97,712 per year. Researchers at universities and colleges gained around $86,092 per year, while those working in the field or radio and television broadcasting made around $82,362 per year.
The earnings varied as well according to each state. The main factors affecting locations and regions in the country were and still are the costs of living and the living expenses in those particular areas. For instance in Alabama the median payment for these professionals reached at $84,862 per year, while in California the earnings were rated at $92,742 per year. In Georgia the median income was $89,390 per year, while in Mississippi the earnings were estimated at $70,805 per year.
The incomes were also affected by several other factors such as the educational level, years of experience in the field, type of employment, and a few others. The increase and the decrease points in the economic flux within these jobs are due to the position that one individual has, the tasks that he or she must fulfill, the location and the job that he or she chose to follow.
Salary of a Meteorologist in 2016
The median average income that a meteorologist could gain in 2016, in the United States, is estimated at $51,010 per year, according to the salary data information surveys provided by PayScale. The starting point in the earnings of these professionals is estimated at $32,514 per year and up to $100,933 per year. The bonus granted can reach up to $10,123 while the profit sharing is comprised from $0.51 and up to $42,663. The total estimated payment has figures that start from $31,343 per year and up to $102,654 per year.
The most determined factors to a meteorologist salary are the career length accompanied by the geographical location and the specific type of employment. The vast majority of individuals who work as meteorologists are men rather than female. However the compensation of these professionals is mainly influenced by the years of experience in this field.
For instance an entry-level meteorologist with less than five years in the field can expect to take home around $45,010 per year, while those who are up to 10 years of work activity and experience will gain around $53,010 per year. Those who are considered as experienced with 10 and up to 20 years take home somewhere around $71,010 per year while the veterans in this field with more than 20 years of work and plenty of activity and knowledge can expect to earn around $91,010 per year.
According to Indeed.com, the salary of a meteorologist, for the year 2016, is estimated to have an average that reaches around $48,010 per year. On the other hand a Meteorologist G, that is a related job earns an average that is estimated somewhere around $87,010 per year.
Meteorologist Salary in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom
The median income of a meteorologist in Canada, reaches up to C$49,439 per year, with a starting point in the salary that starts from C$34,605 per year and up to C$80,823 per year. The bonus that is granted in this career field can reach up to C$75.02, this leading at a total payment that is comprised from C$34,948 per year and up to C$88,771 per year.
An entry-level position as a meteorologist will take you to an income that gets somewhere around C$47,010 per year. The factors that impact the salary are the years of experience and the educational background that will lead a Meteorologist to have earnings that can be comprised between C$58,010 per year and up to C$72,010 per year.
In Australia, the earnings of meteorologists are influenced by the geographical location. For instance, in New South Wales, the average salary is estimated at AU$ 95,010 per year, while in Victoria, the incomes for these professionals can reach somewhere around AU$ 87,510 per year. Meteorologists with 1 and up to 4 years of experience in the field can expect to take home a salary that reaches at AU$70,010 per year.
According to the type of employment, those who are hired by the state or local government can expect to gain around AU$61,010 per year, while those who are working for the private sector, can earn more. The private sector companies grant meteorologists salaries that can have an estimated average of AU$97,510 per year.
In the UK, the incomes vary also according to the company for which they are working for. The Met Office starting incomes for those who work on forecasting and scientists positions are getting somewhere around £20,010 per year.
Those who already have experience in this field as meteorologists can expect to earn incomes that are comprised between £25,010 per year and up to £35,010 per year. Those professionals who already have management responsibilities can get earnings that reach up to £50,010 or even over. Some positions will also grant shift allowances.
Conclusion on Meteorologist Salary
Meteorologists’ jobs can be very demanding with a lot of educational background. The incomes in this profession vary greatly according to various factors that influence and affect the economic flux. The duties and tasks of meteorologists vary according to the chosen job title and the job positions.
For some of these professionals, working as a meteorologist includes dangerous times especially when you have to be outdoor and in the middle of severe weather conditions. Still if you like to deal with weather forecasting and be in the middle of weather changes then this job is the perfect one for you. The pros and cons will give the perfect idea of what this job is like and how much can you gain.