So you are considering a degree in meteorology or you are not sure what career path to pursue but you have a strong interest in sciences. The following career guide will give you a broad overview of the exciting field of atmospheric and related sciences.
Meteorology is the science of the atmosphere. It takes its name from the Greek word meteoron - something that happens high in the sky. The ancient Greeks observed clouds, winds, and rain and tried to understand how they are connected to one another. The weather was important in their relatively simple society because it affected the farmers who raised their food and their seamen who sailed the oceans. Today, our complex society and our environment are affected even more seriously by events and changes in the atmosphere. We must address many complicated issues and answer many difficult questions about the behavior of the atmosphere and its effects on the people of our planet.
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." This education usually includes a bachelor's or higher degree from a college or university. Many meteorologists have degrees in physics, chemistry, mathematics, and other fields. The broader term "atmospheric science" often is used to describe the combination of meteorology and other branches of physical science that are involved in studying the atmosphere.
Basically, meteorologists study and predict the weather and climate and its relationship on other environmental processes and the impact on our lives and economy. Specifically meteorologists can have many different jobs including daily weather forecasting, atmospheric research, teaching, broadcasting and supporting clients through private sector meteorological companies.
Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself if you are considering a career in meteorology:
There are no right or wrong answers, but all of these questions are closely related to the nature of modern meteorology and the challenges of our changing atmosphere.
In the past, not many women or members of ethnic minority groups have gone into careers in meteorology or other branches of the physical sciences. Today, many rewarding career opportunities are open to anyone who has a good knowledge of meteorology and the ability to use it in atmospheric research or applied meteorology. In meteorology, as in many other professions, employers are actively recruiting women and minorities.
Whether you are about to graduate from high school or are an adult who is interested in a career change, our Career Guides and Tools offer you valuable resources including a list of colleges that offer degrees in meteorology and distance learning courses.
At AMS, we work to strengthen the dynamic community of those working in the atmospheric, oceanic, and hydrologic sciences. Whether you are catching up with old friends, or meeting new ones, collaborating with others with the same interests is a rewarding experience.
Remember, learning doesn't stop once you have landed a job. In order to stay abreast of the science, advance your career, and establish expertise in your field, you must continue to grow professionally.