Last updated December 31, 2014

We see them in action every evening as they forecast the future -- or at least tell us how likely it is to rain. They’re meteorologists.

But most people in this profession do not work in front of a camera. The biggest employer of meteorologists is, in fact, a government agency, the National Weather Service. And there are also plenty of businesses that hire meteorologists to help them make decisions based on the weather. Those who don’t forecast the weather conduct research, studying the atmosphere, climatic changes, or environmental problems.

Meteorologists are scientists who study the atmosphere. They examine its effects on the environment, predict the weather, or investigate climate trends.

Did You Know?

If you want to study long-term trends like global warming, you can specialize in climatology.

Are You Ready To...?

  • Use data from satellites, radar, and sensors as well as computer models to make forecasts
  • Work some nights, weekends, and holidays if you’re posted to a weather station
  • Work alone if you’re in a small weather office
  • Do fieldwork or travel if you’re working for a consulting firm or private company

It Helps To Be...

Into computers and math. You’ll use computers as well as complex math to interpret weather information, such as the temperature, wind speed, and humidity.

Make High School Count

  • Challenge yourself in advanced math and science courses, including calculus, physics, chemistry, and earth science.
  • Take computer courses and get familiar with technology. Much of meteorology involves computers.
  • Focus on your writing skills in English class. Though this is a science, you’ll still need to write research papers and lab reports that make sense and communicate your ideas clearly.
  • Explore the website of the American Meteorological Society.

Did You Know?

You don't need to major in meteorology to study the field in grad school, but you do need to meet strict course requirements if you want to start working for the federal government right after earning your bachelor's.