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What Does a Meteorologist Do? (2023 Guide)

what does a meteorologist do

Are you passionate about the weather and the way it affects different aspects of daily life? 

If you often have your “head in the clouds,” working as a Meteorologist could be perfect for you. A large part of this role involves analyzing data to predict the weather and upcoming climate conditions. Knowing when a destructive storm is approaching can make a big difference in the world and even save lives. 

This role is all about understanding the atmosphere and how it affects the surface of the Earth. So, let’s find out, ‘what does a Meteorologist do?’.

The Importance Of Meteorology

The Importance Of Meteorology

This field of study has a significant impact on a global scale. On a basic level, people use weather reports to decide what to wear in the morning. All types of human activities are influenced by weather reports in some way.

Meteorologists also help organizations plan for different situations. They contribute to the understanding of climate conditions and help plan for critical situations. Understanding weather patterns can help impact food supplies and help to safeguard them.

Some of the industries that depend on this information include:

  • Sea fishing and shipping
  • Sailing organizations
  • The armed forces
  • Government services
  • Insurance companies
  • Farmers
  • Industry and retail businesses
  • Public services
  • Media
  • Retail businesses

Different Types Of Meteorologists

There are lots of different fields you can specialize in once you have earned a degree. The field you choose will determine the types of jobs that are available to you. Let’s take a look at some of the main fields and what they involve. 

Weather Forecasters

Weather Forecasters

This job could be for you if you are interested in working in media. In addition to predicting the weather in front of the camera, weather forecasters also work behind the scenes. They are often employed by government agencies as well as private corporations.

You will use sophisticated computer models to analyze data that has been collected from around the world. You will then adapt this information to create detailed forecasts for your local area. This includes highlighting climatic conditions that could lead to adverse weather conditions.  

Atmospheric Researchers

This important field mainly focuses on research that helps broaden the understanding of how the atmosphere works and is connected to bodies of water. Researchers in this field often work closely with hydrologists, oceanographers, environmental scientists, mathematicians, and physicists.

Duties include collecting and interpreting data, as well as studying atmospheric phenomena. This can help experts in the field gain a better understanding of climate change and its effects. It is then used by government bodies and organizations to create strategies to combat the effects of climate change.


This is another specialization that focuses mainly on research. Climatologists are often charged with studying global warming and other impactful climate patterns. They often use historical records, such as written accounts, to identify patterns and predict future trends. Another branch of this specialization is paleoclimatology, which is the study of prehistoric climate conditions. 

Forensic Meteorologists

To predict future weather conditions, it is important to understand past weather events. They investigate and collect information on specific past weather events. This helps to provide insight into how the weather had an impact on fires, traffic accidents, and other events.

These specialists are often charged with testifying in court and presenting their findings in formal settings. Another duty may involve developing and improving types of weather technology. This can include computer models, data collection instruments, and informative digital weather displays.

The Work Environment

After graduating, most people begin their careers as weather forecasters to gain additional job training. After gaining a certain amount of experience, it is then possible to specialize in a particular field. The area of specialization you choose will determine the company or agency you work for.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is one of the largest employers in the United States. This center is based in Colorado and employs professionals to analyze data and study climate change. Other major employers include the U.S. Government, NASA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The weather never sleeps…

While you will probably work full-time, you need to be prepared to work irregular hours. This will include rotating shifts so that weather patterns can be constantly monitored. You may also conduct research in the field and work extended hours to complete specialist projects. 

Essential Skills And Attributes

Essential Skills And Attributes

Before you jump into this career, you need to make sure that you have the right skills. While you will learn the necessary hard skills during a training course, you also need to develop the right soft skills. Here are the main skills and attributes you need to have to become a successful Meteorologist

Analytical skills

It is important to take all the information and analyze it effectively to evaluate and construct theories. You need to be comfortable spending hours reviewing dense data and finding connections that other people miss. This often involves using specialist analytical software and inputting data into different systems. 

Attention to detail

You need to be able to review and interpret large amounts of data quickly and efficiently. Missing even the tiniest of details could mean that you draw false conclusions. Therefore, you need to be able to focus for long periods and deliver accurate information. 

Communication skills

You will often be charged with presenting the findings of your research in presentations and lectures. This entails speaking confidently in front of government officials and large groups of people. You need to be able to express your ideas and findings clearly so that they can be understood easily. 

It is also important to have strong written communication skills. Writing reports on your findings and writing emails to your peers. You need to be able to present dense information concisely and interestingly. 

Technical skills

You will often work with specialist technological equipment when analyzing samples. You need to know how to operate this equipment properly and how to fix it when it malefactions. Having technical knowledge will help to make sure that your projects run more smoothly. 


It is essential to be able to collaborate well with other experts in different fields. You must be comfortable sharing information and taking the lead on projects when necessary. Part of this role involves reviewing the research of your peers and providing insightful feedback. For example, giving constructive criticism and providing honest options without offending your colleagues. 

What Does a Meteorologist Do? – How To Secure A Job

What Does a Meteorologist Do? - How To Secure A Job

There are lots of different paths to securing a job as a Meteorologist. The one you choose will depend on your skills and the field you want to specialize in. Let’s take a look at some of the different routes you can take to secure your dream job.


If you are still in college, focus on getting the best grades possible. Subjects to focus on include mathematics, physics, environmental science, English, and geography. These subjects will serve as the foundation for a bachelor’s degree.

It is best to choose a university that offers a bachelor’s degree in meteorology. Related courses that are worth taking include environmental science, geography, and computer science. If you want to work at a university in the future, it is best to join a Ph.D. program after graduating.


Joining a summer placement program at the Air Force Weather Agency is a great way to gain hands-on experience. Also known as the 557th Weather Wing, this meteorology center is led by the United States Air Force. You can apply for a summer internship while you are still in college. This is the perfect way to make some important connections and learn more about potential jobs.


Once you have obtained a degree, you can take part in a special training program. The Met Office in the United Kingdom offers trainees a dedicated forecasting and observations course. A number of other organizations also provide training opportunities that can lead to paid work. 

Professional Organizations

Joining a professional organization is a good way to advance your career. This is a great way to make connections and gain access to exclusive research materials. Here are a couple of the main organizations in this field that are open to membership.

The American Meteorological Society 

This is the main professional association for meteorologists in the United States, and membership comes with numerous benefits. You will gain access to the latest information in your field and can join annual conferences. The American Meteorological Society also offers professional certification and is a good place to find career advice. 

The American Geosciences Institute 

The American Geosciences Institute 

This is another good place to network and make connections. The American Geosciences Institute allows you to meet professionals from other fields, such as oceanography and earth science. The institute provides members with the latest news, career trends, and regular publications.

Optimize Your Resume To Ensure That Interview!

A career in Meteorology is an exciting adventure, so let’s help you create the best resume for your application! We’ll begin with the Best Resume Format Guide, followed by Does A Resume Need An Objective and my Best Opening Statement Examples For Resumes.

Next, we take a look at how to list Job Titles On Resume, the Most Important Skills To Put On A Resume, as well as How To List Education On A ResumeHow To List References On A Resume, and Achievements To List On Your Resume to help you stand out!

Lastly, you’ll also want to find out more about How To Address A Cover Letter, including How To Write A Letter of Interest, our insightful Motivation Letter Writing Guide, and finally, the Best Times Of Year To Apply For Jobs in 2023.

What Does A Meteorologist Do? – Final Thoughts

If thinking and talking about the weather sounds like fun, you will more than likely love being a Meteorologist. There are several different paths you can take to qualify for this type of role. The route you choose will mainly depend on your field of specialization.

The salary for this type of role will largely depend on the sector you work in. If you work for the federal government, you can expect to earn around $107,000 per year. However, research and development roles typically pay slightly more than this.

All the very best in your career as a Meteorologist!

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