How to Become a Climatologist


If you are interested in analyzing weather data and applying your work to the long-term preservation of the world’s ecosystems, a career as a climatologist may be a great fit for you!


Below, we've outlined what you'll need to become a climatologist. We've also included helpful information for a climatologist career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Climatologist

To become a climatologist that works in research or consulting, you need a graduate level education, either a Master of Science (M.Sc.) or a Doctoral degree (PhD) in climatology, environmental science, earth science, meteorology or a closely related field.


Having a Bachelor’s of Science degree (B.Sc.) in any of the aforementioned fields, or fields such as statistics and mathematics, typically enables you to work in climatology research assistant or technician positions.





Climatologist Job Description

Climatologists interpret how changes in climate affect the earth and its inhabitants by studying climate changes over time. They do so by studying weather patterns and the processes that cause them. This profession is similar to meteorology, however it differs in that climatologists are concerned with long-term weather patterns and environmental effects, whereas meteorologists are concerned with weather patterns in the short term.



Typical Job Duties Performed

• Make presentations and speak at seminars, conferences, academic settings and other gatherings

• Apply knowledge of meteorology to solve various problems in areas such as pollution control, agriculture, water management and global warming

• Conduct basic or applied meteorological research into the processes and determinants of atmospheric phenomena, weather, and climate

• Study atmospheric composition by collecting samples from planes and ships

• Use weather balloons to measure wind, temperature and humidity in the upper atmosphere

• Design and develop new methods of measuring meteorological data

• Gain understanding of global or regional weather patterns by conducting numerical simulations of climate conditions

• Develop and use various weather forecasting tools, such as mathematical and computer models





Who Employs Climatologists? Where Do They Work?

There are a number of private and public organizations that employ the skills of climatologists.


• Colleges and universities

• Engineering consulting firms

• Environmental consulting firms

• Federal, provincial/state/territorial, and municipal government departments

• Non-governmental organizations

• Research institutions


Example of a climatologist job: An energy company may hire a climatologist to analyze long-term climate data for an area in order to determine if wind turbines can be built in a certain area.



Additional Training You'll Need

Although professional certification is not typically mandatory, many practitioners choose to obtain certification voluntarily. Earning professional certification can have many benefits, including:


• Demonstrating commitment to the profession of climatology

• May be required to obtain senior level positions

• Employers value certification

• Being a certified professional may entitle you to a higher salary


Please visit the websites of professional groups such as the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS), the American Association of State Climatologists or the American Meteorological Society in order to obtain more information about professional certification in climatology and related professions.



Climatologist Job Postings

Our job board below has "climatologist" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.


How Much Do They Earn?

Climatologist Salary - Canada: According to ECO Canada, the average salary for climatologists in entry-level jobs is $47,000 per year, and those with more experience and a post-graduate education can earn between $58,000 and $72,000 per year.


United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for workers in the Atmospheric Scientists, Including Meteorologists occupational group (which includes climatologists) is $87,780 per year (2010 figures).


Please Note: Salary levels for climatologists can vary greatly depending on many factors, such as where they work, how much experience and education they have, and many other factors.



Similar Occupational Profiles in Our System

Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to that of a climatologist, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.



Environmental Scientist


Global Warming Advocate





Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a climatologist.


Wages & Salaries in Alberta:Meteorologists and Climatologists.” (n.d.). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved November 6, 2019.

Life, Physical & Social Science:Atmospheric Scientists, Including Meteorologists.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved November 6, 2019.

Climate:Climatology as a Profession.” Spencer Weart (February, 2019). American Institute of Physics website. Retrieved November 6, 2019.

Career Profiles:Climatologist.” (n.d.). ECO Canada website. Retrieved November 6, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Climatologist

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a climatologist can be found on our Environmental Science Scholarships and Geology Scholarships pages.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant Academic Fields

Studying one of the university majors listed below can help set an excellent academic foundation for this career. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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