Skip to content
Logo Careeronestop
careeronestop logo text print
your source for career exploration, training & jobs
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor.
A proud partner of the american job center network.

Occupation Profile

Learn details about any occupation including what you might do on the job, how much you might earn, and how much education or training you might need.

Get started by entering a keyword for a career, a job title, or a type of work in the box below. Then enter your location and click "Search". Or, click "List of Occupations" to select from a list of careers.

Atmospheric and Space Scientists
Show More

Select items to add to your view

Overview


Employment


Wages

Education





Job Details






More Info


= not available for this occupation
Description: what do they do?
Investigate atmospheric phenomena and interpret meteorological data, gathered by surface and air stations, satellites, and radar to prepare reports and forecasts for public and other uses. Includes weather analysts and forecasters whose functions require the detailed knowledge of meteorology.
Also known as:
Weather Forecaster, Chief Meteorologist, Hydrometeorological Technician, Forecaster, Meteorologist, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, Broadcast Meteorologist, General Forecaster, Science and Operations Officer (SOO), Meteorologist-in-Charge

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
00:00
00:00

    Transcript: Even before breakfast, and certainly before leaving the house, most people consult the weather forecast. That essential item of news is provided by atmospheric and space scientists, who study the weather and climate, and examine how those conditions affect human activity and the earth. Atmospheric scientists collect data from the field using instruments such as weather balloons, radar systems, and satellite imagery. Many write their own computer programs to model or predict weather developments, and advise the public or their clients on risks caused by weather events and climate change. There are many types of atmospheric scientists… For example, weather forecasters use computer models to forecast short- and long-term conditions for airports, farmers, utility companies, and others. Climate scientists model climate change to help plan building design and adapt agricultural production to changing conditions. Atmospheric scientists generally work full time and may be called upon to work at odd hours, or overtime—keeping the public informed during severe weather or monitoring conditions around the clock at a field station. They may work in government weather stations, laboratories and offices, or television and radio stations. Atmospheric scientists need a bachelor’s degree in meteorology or a related earth science field for most positions. To lead research or teach at the college level usually requires a Ph.D. or master’s degree in the field.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.

This occupation is:
  • Expected to grow much faster than average


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
United States
10,400
2016 Employment
11,700
2026 Employment
12%
Percent change
900
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016, the number expected to be employed in 2026, and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2016-26.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Atmospheric and Space Scientists in United States
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationUnited States
10%$50,040
25%$69,380
Median$94,110
75%$116,090
90%$142,500


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2018 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • Bachelor's degree
  • No work experience
  • No on-the-job training

Programs that can prepare you:

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Provide technical information or assistance to public.
  • Interpret research or operational data.
  • Develop theories or models of physical phenomena.
  • Collect environmental data or samples.
  • Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
  • Measure environmental characteristics.
  • Develop mathematical models of environmental conditions.
  • Direct technical activities or operations.
  • Prepare research or technical reports on environmental issues.
  • Conduct climatological research.
  • Collaborate on research activities with scientists or technical specialists.
  • Develop environmental research methods.
  • Instruct college students in physical or life sciences.
  • Apply knowledge or research findings to address environmental problems.
  • Research environmental impact of industrial or development activities.
  • Create images or other visual displays.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Geography - Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Science - Using scientific rules and strategies to solve problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Active Learning - Figuring out how to use new ideas or things.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
  • Writing - Writing things for co-workers or customers.
  • Monitoring - Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.
  • Instructing - Teaching people how to do something.
  • Systems Analysis - Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Broadcast weather conditions, forecasts, or severe weather warnings to the public via television, radio, or the Internet or provide this information to the news media.
  • Prepare weather reports or maps for analysis, distribution, or use in weather broadcasts, using computer graphics.
  • Interpret data, reports, maps, photographs, or charts to predict long- or short-range weather conditions, using computer models and knowledge of climate theory, physics, and mathematics.
  • Develop or use mathematical or computer models for weather forecasting.
  • Gather data from sources such as surface or upper air stations, satellites, weather bureaus, or radar for use in meteorological reports or forecasts.
  • Prepare forecasts or briefings to meet the needs of industry, business, government, or other groups.
  • Measure wind, temperature, and humidity in the upper atmosphere, using weather balloons.
  • Conduct numerical simulations of climate conditions to understand and predict global or regional weather patterns.
  • Direct forecasting services at weather stations or at radio or television broadcasting facilities.
  • Prepare scientific atmospheric or climate reports, articles, or texts.
  • Conduct meteorological research into the processes or determinants of atmospheric phenomena, weather, or climate.
  • Consult with other offices, agencies, professionals, or researchers regarding the use and interpretation of climatological information for weather predictions and warnings.
  • Analyze historical climate information, such as precipitation or temperature records, to help predict future weather or climate trends.
  • Analyze climate data sets, using techniques such as geophysical fluid dynamics, data assimilation, or numerical modeling.
  • Design or develop new equipment or methods for meteorological data collection, remote sensing, or related applications.
  • Teach college-level courses on topics such as atmospheric and space science, meteorology, or global climate change.
  • Apply meteorological knowledge to issues such as global warming, pollution control, or ozone depletion.
  • Research the impact of industrial projects or pollution on climate, air quality, or weather phenomena.
  • Create visualizations to illustrate historical or future changes in the Earth's climate, using paleoclimate or climate geographic information systems (GIS) databases.
  • Conduct wind assessment, integration, or validation studies.
  • Collect air samples from planes or ships over land or sea to study atmospheric composition.
  • Estimate or predict the effects of global warming over time for specific geographic regions.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

Other resources

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.