What is a Meteorologist? A Professional Guideline

The following statement(s) have expired and are here for historical purposes and do not represent statements of the AMS that are “in force” at this time.


A question that has been raised for a long period of time is, "What is a meteorologist?" This question has been quite common in recent years with regard to individuals referring to themselves as a "meteorologist" on television and radio. After extended discussions, the Council of the American Meteorological Society adopted on 28 September 1990, the following guideline:

A meteorologist is an individual 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 specialized education would be a bachelor's or higher degree in meteorology, or atmospheric science, consistent with the requirements set forth in "The Bachelor's Degree in Meteorology or Atmospheric Science," Bulletin American Meteorological Society, 1987, Vol. 68, No. 12, p. 1570.

There are some cases where an individual has not obtained a B.S. or higher degree in meteorology, but has met the educational requirements set forth in the American Meteorological Society's Interpretive Memorandum effective June 1990, Article III, Section 4 (C), and has at least three years professional experience in meteorology. Such an individual also can be referred to as a meteorologist.

Activities of a meteorologist often are classified into a number of specialized areas. A few examples are: air pollution meteorology, global climate modeling, hydrometeorology, and numerical analysis and forecasting. These activities often require additional specialized education in related subjects.

The designation meteorologist applies to individuals who have attained the professional knowledge outlined above. Individuals who have little formal education in the atmospheric sciences, or who have taken only industry survey courses, and who disseminate weather information and forecasts prepared by others, are properly designated "weathercasters."