National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Meteorologist-in-Charge Troy Nicolini (left), Eureka, CA WFO
 
Meteorologist Isha Renta, Baltimore/Washington WFO

Careers in Meteorology

What is a Meteorologist?

Meteorology is the science concerned with the Earth's atmosphere and its physical processes. A meteorologist is a physical scientist who observes, studies, or forecasts the weather.

What Does a Meteorologist Do?

The duties of NWS meteorologists and hydrometeorological technicians (HMTs) vary by position and office. General Forecasters and Lead Forecasters are typically responsible for analyzing meteorological data from a variety of sources to prepare and issue forecast products, advisories, and warnings concerning a number of hazardous weather conditions, such as severe weather, high winds, flash floods, marine effects, and winter storms. Meteorologists also collect data; provide weather advice and guidance to other federal, state, and local agencies; conduct research; and develop methods for integrating new science and technology into the forecast process. HMTs work alongside meteorologists to collect and analyze weather data.

  • The position description for a typical General Forecaster job can be found here.
  • The position description for a typical Senior HMT job can be found here.

Work Environment

The NWS employs over 2,000 meteorologists and HMTs to staff more than 150 different offices across the United States. Meteorologists work in Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs), River Forecast Centers (RFCs), national centers, and at regional and national headquarters. The work environment in these offices varies because some meteorologists issue forecasts while others collect data, conduct research, or perform other duties. Travel is occasionally required; some meteorologists travel to wildfires and other events and incidents to provide on-site weather support. Most meteorologists and HMTs who issue forecasts and collect data work rotating shifts that include nights, weekends, and holidays.

Education and Experience Requirements

Federally employed meteorologists must have at least a Bachelor's degree in meteorology, atmospheric science, or other natural science field that included at least 24 semester hours in meteorology and/or atmospheric science. Meteorologists also must complete at least six semester hours of physics and three semester hours of differential equations.

HMTs often enter the NWS with a background in forecasting or observing weather for the military. HMTs are not required to hold a Bachelor’s degree but must have some education or experience in collecting data, making observations, forecasting weather, and verifying data.

  • The full list of education requirements for the federal meteorology job series can be found here.
  • The full list of experience requirements for the federal meteorological technician series can be found here.
     

Faces of the NWS: Meteorology


Dave Barber
Meteorologist
Alaska Aviation Weather Unit

Andrew Devanas
Science and Operations Officer
Key West, FL WFO

Melissa DiSpigna
Meteorologist
New York Center Weather Service Unit

Debra Elliott
Meteorological Technician/Observation
Program Leader 
Detroit, MI WFO

Tanja Fransen
Meteorologist-in-Charge
Glasgow, MT WFO

Bianca Hernandez
Meteorologist
Phoenix, AZ WFO

Lisa Kriederman
Incident Meteorologist
Boulder, CO WFO

Troy Nicolini
Meteorologist-in-Charge
Eureka, CA WFO

Cynthia Palmer
Science and Operations Officer
Shreveport, LA WFO

Bill Parker
Warning Coordination
Meteorologist
Shreveport, LA WFO

Isha Renta
Meteorologist
Baltimore/Washington
WFO

Felecia Bowser
Senior Meteorologist
WFO Shreveport

Freddie Zeigler
Senior Forecaster
WFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge