What it takes to become a Meteorologist

The weather is an important part of our daily lives – we talk about it, we prepare for in advance. For others, like Justinas Kilpys, PhD student at Vilnius university’s Institute of Geosciences, weather characterizes his professional life. What is meteorologist? Meteorologist is someone who observes, reports and forecasts weather conditions to make people safe from dangerous weather conditions. Usually he works in operational forecasting centre, where he is running and interpreting complex weather models. Other meteorologists work as weather presenters on television. Meteorologists work very closely together worldwide, because the weather and climate do not know any borders. It makes meteorology a very international profession


Meteorologists can work in the public or private sectors. Typically, National meteorological and hydrological services gather observations, make national and local forecasts, and provide the warnings to be delivered to the public when storms or other dangerous events are expected. In the private sector meteorologists provide customized forecasts and information to particular customers and sectors



  • the ability to analyze data accurately and quickly;
  • the ability to take sound operational decisions;
  • excellent written and verbal communication skills;
  • the ability to communicate specialist information to non-specialists.


meteorologists may be required to work nights and/or weekends if they are involved in any area of weather forecasting. There may also be pressure to meet deadlines during times of weather emergencies.


Which subjects´ knowledge is essential for a career?

Meteorology is a tough subject. It requires knowledge in higher mathematics, advanced physics and chemistry, as well as proficiency in programming. The basis requirement for becoming a Meteorologist is a Bachelor degree in Meteorology or Atmospheric Sciences. Another option is to first get a Bachelor degree in Mathematics, Physical Sciences, or Engineering and then follow a Master degree Course in Meteorology. Teaching, research or management positions usually require a Master degree or a Ph.D.


A good knowledge of atmospheric physics, chemistry and mathematics is necessary. All mathematical equations, which are used in computer models, they are from these disciplines (especially from atmospheric physics). If student is well performing in these areas and likes programming, he/she is well prepared to become a meteorologist. If they want to be a TV weather person, communication skills and ability to present difficult information would be an asset.


The demand for weather and climate information is growing rapidly. For example, customs services and police agencies collaborate with meteorologists, as criminals and smugglers can become more active when a rainstorm or dust cloud makes them less visible. Health and emergency services need meteorologists to inform them when weather conditions will lead to a rise in respiratory illnesses or accidents. The air force, navy and army rely on meteorologists to plan maneuvers and to keep their people and equipment safe.

Such growth of weather information demand requires meteorologists to be able to explain complex information, put it to practical use and contribute to people’s well-being as never before. It makes a career in meteorology very appealing. There might be various paths for those who want to work in this field, they might specialize and work as: weather forecasters, climatologists, researchers in atmospheric sciences, consulting meteorologists, lecturers, weather broadcasters[1].

Employment of atmospheric scientists, including meteorologists is projected to grow 12 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.[2]

Q: What skills are required in your position on a day-to-day basis?
A: I chose to study geography with specialization in meteorology and after the first two months I was very fascinated. I really felt in my place.

Justinas Kilpys, PhD student at Vilnius University’s Institute of Geosciences


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Sources of information:

[1] https://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/dra/etrp/become_meteorologist.php; https://library.wmo.int/doc_num.php?explnum_id=3531

[2] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/atmospheric-scientists-including-meteorologists.htm?view_full#tab-6

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