How much do meteorologists earn?
You should never pick a career solely based on its earning potential. Pick something you love, and then go from there. That being said, meteorologists make very good wages indeed. As of 2009, average salaries ranged from $70,000 to $108,000 annually. On the low end, the salary for a degree-holding meteorologist was about $53,000; at the upper end, a meteorologist in a specialized field with a Ph.D. can easily make $125,000 a year.
Who hires meteorologists?
Meteorologists can either work for the government or in the private sector. If they work for the government, they may be hired by a federal government agency or department, such as the National Weather Service, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Energy, a national laboratory, or the military; or, they could be hired by state, county, or city governments. Local governments hire meteorologists to monitor such things as air pollution and other environmental and resource management concerns.
In the private sector, meteorologists can find employment at television stations (including the popular The Weather Channel), airlines, universities, utility compa-
What is forensic meteorology?
With the popularity of the CSI television series there has been a meteoric rise in students enrolling in forensic science courses. Forensics draws on a wide variety of sciences in order to solve criminal cases. For instance, there was one episode of CSI in which a character used his knowledge of astronomy to locate a murder scene. Meteorological principles can also be used in forensics, which is frequently applied to criminal or insurance investigations. Meteorologists have been called to testify in court, serve as consultants, or perform research for government agencies, law firms, and private businesses. Using data from satellites, radar, and other sources, a meteorologist could, for example, testify as to the possibility of a building fire being caused by lightning, or whether or not wind conditions could be responsible for an airplane crashing shortly after takeoff, or whether hazy conditions leading to a car accident were the result of nature or a nearby factory. Qualification as a Certified Consulting Meteorologist is typically required to work as a forensic meteorologist.
nies, climate research laboratories, meteorological equipment manufacturers, private research contractors and forecasting services, weather modification companies, private environmental organizations and companies, and even litigation support companies.
A good place to start a job search is the Job Board postings on the American Meteorological Society's website at careercenter.ametsoc.org. If at all possible, start building career connections as early as you can—preferably while you are still in school, through work internships and contacts through your professors or other people you meet.
How hard is it to become a meteorologist who is a radio or television broadcaster?
If your goal is to specifically become a television weatherman or weatherwoman, then, ideally, you need to combine training in meteorology with education in communications and/or the broadcast arts. You should be comfortable appearing on camera, and it helps if you have completed an internship in broadcasting while in school. As with anyone who wishes to pursue a television or radio career, you will have to sell yourself as an appealing on-air personality. Prepare professional demo tapes of yourself doing a broadcast and send these to news directors at the stations for which you wish to work. You should prepare yourself to start at the bottom of the career ladder, which means working shifts in the very early morning or very late evening hours, as well as working for low pay in a town or city that has a small market. Don't expect to work right away for a big network in New York City or Los Angeles. It could be years before you manage to get a job in a big market, and in the meantime you will likely move frequently while you search for better and better opportunities. Today's media world is especially challenging, as stations and newspapers across the United States are cutting their budgets and centralizing operations. Weather broadcasting is probably the hardest specialty to get into these days, and many other fields within meteorology offer better opportunities.