* * * This is NOT a job offer * * *|
The purpose of this occupational guide is to provide you with useful information to help you make career decisions.
If you are searching for a job, please go to
More Occupational Guides
THE JOB Meteorology is the study of the earth's atmosphere and the weather which occur in it. METEOROLOGISTS gather and analyze information on atmospheric conditions. They attempt to spot and interpret trends, understand the weather of yesterday, describe the weather of today, and predict the weather of tomorrow. Weather can affect us in numerous ways. For example, drought results in water shortages, increased wildfire potential, and crop damage. The critical impact of weather on human lives led to the best-known application for meteorology--weather forecasting. This essential information is applied in agriculture, air-pollution, air and sea transportation, and in the study of trends in the earth's climate such as global warming or ozone depletion. More accurate instruments for measuring and observing weather conditions, as well as high-speed computers to process and analyze weather data, have revolutionized weather forecasting. Meteorologists are now able to generate large-scale weather analyses and predictions. One of their primary concerns is to improve forecasts, particularly long range forecasts. They use satellite data, climate theory, and sophisticated computer models of the world's atmosphere to help forecast the weather and interpret the results of these models to make local area forecasts. Meteorologists usually specialize in one type of work. The largest group of specialists are Forecasters (Operational Meteorologists) who analyze current and expected weather conditions and predict short and long range weather changes based on data received from satellites and worldwide weather stations. General Forecasters provide weather summaries for limited geographic areas. Specialized Forecasters develop forecasts for use in agriculture, aviation, forestry, and marine operations. Research Meteorologists study atmospheric physics to advance meteorological theory and to improve mathematical models of atmospheric activity. They may study the dispersal of air pollutants over urban areas, severe storm mechanics, weather modification, and new weather prediction techniques. Climatologists study climatic variations spanning hundreds or even millions of years. Environmental problems, such as pollution, and shortage of food, fuel, and water, have widened the scope of the meteorological profession. Environmental Meteorologists study these problems and prepare and evaluate the "Air Quality" sections of Environmental Impact Reports. Meteorologists also teach their subject at universities. Consulting meteorologists provide specialized information to both the private and public sectors. In theoretical Research, they investigate the interactions of atmospheric gases and the dynamics of the earth's environment. Specialists in applied Research take the information of the theoretical Researchers and use it in the design of aircraft, control of air pollution, improved communication, city planning, and safer transportation. Some may also do environmental impact studies, provide expert witness testimony at hearings, and analyze the feasibility of developing a particular site for industrial uses. WORKING CONDITIONS Meteorologists work in government agencies, private consulting and Research services, industrial enterprises, utilities, radio and television stations, and in education. Jobs at most weather stations require night work and rotating shifts. Most stations are located at airports or in large cities, although some are located in isolated areas. Fieldwork and/or travel is common in Research and consulting jobs. The American Meteorological Society and various other scientific organizations provide forums where meteorologists may share findings and explore new directions within their profession. EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK The employment level for meteorologists will increase slightly over the next few years. The National Weather Service, the largest employer of meteorologists, expects to increase employment to improve short-term and local-area weather forecasts. The number of applicants for jobs in California is likely to exceed the number of job openings. Persons with advanced degrees will have an advantage, but experience is required for most employers for employment as a meteorologist. Opportunities in broadcasting are rare and very competitive. The following information is from the California Projections of Employment published by the Labor Market Information Division . These figures represent the broad occupational group Atmospheric and Space Scientists which includes Meteorologists. Estimated number of workers in 1993 300 Estimated number of workers in 2005 350 Projected Growth 1993-2005 17% Estimated openings due to separations by 2005 120 (These figures do not include self-employment or openings due to turnover.) There are about 20,000 meteorologists working today nationwide. About 1,000 degrees in meteorology and atmospheric science are awarded each year from the nation's colleges. Although few receive multiple job offers, most applicants find employment in the field eventually. WAGES, HOURS, AND FRINGE BENEFITS Persons entering federal government service as National Weather Service meteorologists with bachelor's degrees and no experience begin at the GS 5-7 level, with annual salaries starting at $19,520 to $24,178. Graduates with master's degrees start at the GS 7-9 level, ranging from $24,178 to $29,577 per year. Those with doctorates start at the GS 9-11 level, offering annual starting salaries ranging from $29,577 to $35,786. The top level for meteorologists with the NWS is at the GS 13 level, which starts at $51,003 annually. In private industry and consulting firms, salaries begin at about the same level but may range much higher. Some consultants and many broadcast personalities earn annual incomes of $120,000 or more. ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS AND TRAINING A bachelor's degree in mathematics or the physical sciences, including at least 20 semester credits in Meteorology, is the minimum requirement for professional positions. Degrees in Atmospheric Science or Meteorology are offered at the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of California, Davis; San Francisco State and San Jose State Universities. Competition at the entry level has made the master's degree an asset for jobs in private industry. A doctorate is required for university teaching. Meteorologists enter the National Weather Service through its Meteorologist- in-Training Program. Applicants are ranked according to education and experience and must sign a mobility statement. Individual training programs, which take four years to complete, are developed for trainees. Upon completion of training, the journey-level meteorologist bids on permanent position locations. Other federal agencies rarely hire meteorologists at the entry level. The title Certified Consulting Meteorologist is granted by the American Meteorological Society. This certification is generally considered to be recognition that the meteorologist is particularly qualified to carry on the work of a consulting meteorologist. In evaluating the inexperienced graduate, employers place emphasis on fundamental knowledge and abilities. A thorough understanding of mathematics, physics, meteorology, and computer science is essential along with skill in the analysis and communication of technical information. ADVANCEMENT Advancement in the field of meteorology brings managerial responsibilities. Meteorologists with many years of experience may become private consultants. Some meteorologists establish their own consulting firms. FINDING THE JOB Government jobs are filled through regular civil service procedures. Private firms announce positions for experienced meteorologists in the American Meteorological Society's monthly job bulletin or in other professional publications. When seeking recent graduates, they frequently contact university meteorology departments. These firms also rely on networking through the academic and professional community. Job Seekers should apply directly to employers and follow up in person, telephone, or letter. The most important characteristic of the successful job seeker may well be persistence. ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION American Meteorological Society 45 Beacon Street Boston, Massachusetts 02108 (617) 227-2425 www.ametsoc.org/AMS RELATED OCCUPATIONAL GUIDES Chemists No. 22 Physicists No. 62 OCCUPATIONAL CODE REFERENCES DOT (Dictionary of Occupational Titles, 4th Ed., 1991) Meteorologist 025.062-010 OES (Occupational Employment Statistics) System Atmospheric and Space Scientists 241080 Source: State of California, Employment Development Department, Labor Market Information Division, Information Services Group, (916) 262-2162.Note: This is NOT a job opening. The purpose of This California Occupational Guide is to provide you with useful information to help you make career decisions. If you are searching for a job, go to:
California Occupational Guides
California Employment Development Department >> Labor Market Information >> More Occupational Guides