How to Become a Meteorologist

How to Become a Meteorologist: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a meteorologist, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a meteorologist:


Those who become meteorologists have a natural interest in mathematics, science, working with computers, as well as weather and climate-related issues.


Those who become meteorologists typically enjoy the challenge of applying basic scientific principles to better understanding the behaviour of the atmosphere. They also typically enjoy using specialized computer programs, satellites and other sophisticated research tools to discover how natural processes and human activities affect our atmosphere.


If you want to become a meteorologist, you should have these qualities, and you should enjoy working with others, as meteorologists often work with professionals from a variety of fields, such as journalism, science, politics or commerce. You must also be comfortable sharing your opinions and findings with others.


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



Education Needed to Become a Meteorologist

To become a meteorologist, you need to earn an undergraduate degree in meteorology or atmospheric sciences, or a degree in mathematics, physical sciences or engineering supplemented by courses in meteorology. If you want to become a meteorologist who works in research, teaching or management, you will need a master’s or doctoral degree in meteorology or atmospheric science.


If you want to become a meteorological technician, who are responsible for collecting data and reporting weather observations, you can do so either by pursing an undergraduate degree in a field related to atmospheric science, or by earning a diploma or associate’s degree from a program related to meteorological studies and applications.  


If you would like to become a television weather presenter, you will need journalism and communications skills in addition to knowledge of atmospheric physics and chemistry. Pursuing a communications or journalism degree, supplemented with coursework in atmospheric science or chemistry, or vice versa, is a great way to acquire the necessary skill set and knowledge base needed for a career as a television weather presenter. 




What is a Meteorologist?

A common misconception is that a meteorologist is someone who reports a weather forecast. That person may be a professional meteorologist, or they may be a reporter who is passing on information provided by the National Weather Service, Environment Canada, or private weather forecasters.


The American Meteorological Society defines a meteorologist as a person with specialized education "who uses scientific principles to explain, understand, observe, or forecast the earth's atmospheric phenomena and/or how the atmosphere affects the earth and life on the planet." 



Meteorologist Job Description

Meteorologists study the physics, chemistry and dynamics of the atmosphere and how it interacts with land, water, weather, climate and climate change. Meteorologists may also work teaching, management, or in applied meteorology in fields such as weather broadcasting, climatology and instrumentation specialization. Meteorologists may also be involved in other forms of applied meteorology, such as helping planners and contractors locate and design airports, factories and many other kinds of construction projects.



Meteorologist Job Duties

• Forecast short and long-term weather conditions using sophisticated computer and mathematical models, satellite and radar data

• Report current weather conditions

• Measure temperature, air pressure, and other properties of the atmosphere

• Produce weather maps and graphics

• Provide consulting services to organizations, businesses and government agencies regarding weather, air quality and climate

• Develop research models and conduct research

• Work with mathematicians and computer scientists design computer models of atmospheric processes

• Work with biologists to try to understand how plants and animals interact with the atmosphere

• Issue warnings to protect life and property during severe weather, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and flash floods

• Apply meteorological knowledge to problems in agriculture, air pollution, water management, energy, forestry and transportation

• Study severe storms to help develop new technologies, or improving existing technologies, for better predicting such storms



Who Creates Jobs for Meteorologists?

Meteorologists are hired by organizations involved in researching meteorology, teaching meteorology, or applying meteorological knowledge for a variety of purposes. Organizations that hire Meteorologists include:


• Private meteorology firms

• Environmental consulting firms

• Companies in the transportation and energy sectors

• Environment Canada

• National Weather Service (U.S.)

• Armed forces, such as Air Force and Navy

• Department of Energy

• Department of Agriculture

• Colleges and Universities (teaching and research)

• News broadcasting organizations and television stations 






Meteorologist Salary

The salary level of meteorologists can vary depending on factors such as their level of education, their level of experience, where they work, whether they work in research or applied meteorology, the specific responsibilities of their job, and many others.


Meteorologist Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Meteorologists occupational group earn an average of between $34.66 and $44.22 per hour. The mean wage for this group was $40.32 an hour.


Meteorologist Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of workers in the Meteorologists occupational group is $73,897 per year.


Meteorologist Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage of workers in the Atmospheric Scientists, Including Meteorologists occupational group is $87,780 (2010 figures). The lowest 10% of salaries in this occupational group are below $45,050, and the top 10% are above $132,130 per year.



Skills and Traits Needed to Become a Meteorologist

In order to become effective in a career as a meteorologist, you need to posses the following skills and personality traits, as they will allow you to perform your job with competence, and allow you to survive the challenges of this career, regardless of which area of which area of specialization you choose.


• A natural aptitude and education in mathematics and science

• Take enjoyment from the challenge of applying basic scientific principles to better understanding the behaviour of the atmosphere

• Able to use specialized computer programs, satellites and other sophisticated research tools

• Able to effectively communicate findings with other professionals

• Able to apply theoretical concepts and analyze large volumes of information

• Take enjoyment from organizing and conducting research

• Able to prepare detailed forecast and research reports

• An interest in using your knowledge to warn others when danger is approaching, such as in the form of tornadoes and hurricanes

• May require public speaking skills (such as for broadcast meteorologists)



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Careers Similar to Meteorologist

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Meteorologist, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.



Environmental Education Officer


News Anchor




References: How to Become a Meteorologist

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


Occupations in Alberta:Meteorologist.” (February 1, 2012). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 3, 2020.

Life, Physical, and Social Science:Atmospheric Scientists, Including Meteorologists.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved January 3, 2020.

Explore Careers:Meteorologist.” (n.d.). ECO Canada website. Retrieved January 3, 2020.

Education & Careers:All About Careers in Meteorology.” (n.d.). American Meteorological Society website. Retrieved January 3, 2020.



Scholarships for Becoming a Meteorologist

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Meteorologist can be found on our Environmental Science Scholarships, Mathematics Scholarships and Physics 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!



Becoming a Meteorologist: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a meteorologist. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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