Major Overview

Are you fascinated by storms and weather? Do you want to learn how to predict climate changes? Consider a degree in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology.

A degree in this field will allow you to study the climate, the gases that make up the atmosphere, and weather. You will take classes in physics, chemistry, meteorology, climatology, computer science, calculus, and other science courses to help you not only predict the weather, but also learn how to improve air quality, reduce pollution, and help find new sources of energy.

Along with the option to major in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, students also have the choice to major in areas of specialization including Atmospheric Chemistry and Climatology, Atmospheric Physics and Dynamics, and Meteorology.

Required Skills

Since you will be required to perform advanced calculations, a strong background in mathematics is necessary for this field. You should be prepared to employ formulas to collect data on the atmosphere, air pressure, and temperature. Critical thinking skills will help you analyze this data and make climate and weather predictions while strong communication skills will allow you to explain your findings and predictions.

Atmospheric Scientists and Meteorologists often work fulltime jobs. However, these jobs don't always have typical work hours. Scientists must be watching the weather 24 hours a day even on weekends and holidays. Professionals often work on a rotating schedule to ensure conditions are constantly monitored. Longer and more irregular hours may occur during times of severe weather.

While a bachelor's degree will allow students to work in the Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology field, those who wish to perform research need a master's degree at minimum. An advanced degree will also allow student to find better employment opportunities with better pay and the potential for advancement.

Careers

Most Atmospheric and Meteorology graduates work at the many weather stations throughout the country monitoring weather and predicting storms. Other graduates work for the government as part of the National Weather Service or the U.S. Department of Defense. Broadcast Meteorology is another career option. Atmospheric and Meteorology graduates not only predict weather, but are helping protect the environment by finding jobs in private industries interested in improving air quality, reducing pollution, or other environment protection services.

With the field growing at an average pace, graduates should be able to find jobs after graduation, specifically in private industry. Those willing to relocate may have a better chance of landing a well-paying job.

Graduates with a degree in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology earn an average starting salary of $41,667 and mid-career salary of $80,217.

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Major at a Glance

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Yearly Graduations
 740
Average Starting Salary
$41,667
Average Mid-Career Salary
$80,217

Example Careers

Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology might open up.

Atmospheric and Space Scientists
Atmospheric, Earth, Marine, and Space Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary
Natural Sciences Managers
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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