Types of Degrees Atmospheric Sciences Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many atmospheric sciences and meteorology graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What Atmospheric Sciences Majors Need to Know
O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to meteorology and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.
Knowledge Areas for Meteorology Majors
According to O*NET survey takers, a major in meteorology should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- 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.
- 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.
Skills for Meteorology Majors
The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to meteorology:
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Abilities for Meteorology Majors
Meteorology majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
What Can You Do With a Atmospheric Sciences Major?
Below is a list of occupations associated with meteorology:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|Atmospheric and Space Scientists||12.5%||$94,110|
|Atmospheric, Earth, Marine, and Space Sciences Professors||9.9%||$90,860|
|Natural Sciences Managers||9.9%||$123,860|
Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Atmospheric Sciences?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of meteorology majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||2|
|Hispanic or Latino||8|
Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Meteorology. About 18.5% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:
- South Korea
How Much Do Atmospheric Sciences Majors Make?
Salaries According to BLS
Meteorology majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $95,580 to $139,680 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.
To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to Atmospheric Sciences
Some careers associated with meteorology require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.
How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to meteorology have obtained the following education levels.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|Some College Courses||1.2%|
|Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master.||4.7%|
|Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level.||1.5%|
Online Atmospheric Sciences Programs
In the 2018-2019 academic year, 111 schools offered some type of atmospheric sciences and meteorology program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.
|Degree Level||Colleges Offering Programs||Colleges Offering Online Classes|
|Certificate (Less Than 1 Year)||15||1|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||0||0|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||42||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||0||0|
Is a Degree in Atmospheric Sciences Worth It?
The median salary for a meteorology grad is $101,890 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 155% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,239,800 after 20 years!
Majors Related to Atmospheric Sciences
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to meteorology.
|Major||Number of Grads|
|Geological & Earth Sciences||9,522|
|General Physical Sciences||4,527|
|Astronomy & Astrophysics||1,168|
|Other Physical Science||503|
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
More about our data sources and methodologies.