Career outlook for meteorologist

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

£48,880

Currently employed in Scotland

6,000

Five year job forecast

+5.21%

"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures.

What's it like?

You would collect and analyse data to predict the weather. Your reports would be vital for people who work outdoors, like farmers. They would also be crucial for aircraft pilots and the crews of ships at sea.

You would study the earth's atmosphere, climate and weather.

You could specialise in one of two main areas – forecasting or research.

In forecasting, you could:

  • Collect data from satellite images, radar, remote sensors and weather stations all over the world
  • Measure air pressure, wind, temperature and humidity
  • Apply computer models and scientific principles to make short-range and long-range weather forecasts
  • Supply weather data, bulletins and reports to customers.

Your weather forecasts could be for the general public or could be specialist reports for agriculture, aviation or the armed forces

In research, you could:

  • Investigate weather patterns and climate change
  • Develop and improve computer forecasting models
  • Apply research to practical problems, such as predicting floods or how the weather affects the spread of pollution or disease

At the start of your career in either area, you might observe and record the weather, produce charts and help senior staff.

With experience, you would take on more complex work and present your findings at meetings and conferences.

Working conditions

Hours

As a forecaster or observer, you would often work shifts to provide 24-hour cover. In research, you would work standard office hours Monday to Friday.

Environment

The work is mainly office-based and involves using technical equipment and computers. You could be posted to some isolated or remote areas, which may mean working in more basic conditions.

Travel

You may sometimes travel to attend conferences in the UK and overseas. Depending on your employer, you may be sent abroad to work.

UK employment status

Full-time

60%

Part-time

27%

Self employed

13%

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Developing a plan
  • Understanding
  • Working with technology
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Cooperating
  • Researching
  • Observation
  • Working with numbers
  • Problem solving

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

You would need an honours degree in meteorology (SCQF level 10) accredited by the Royal Meteorological Society or a degree in a relevant subject such as physics, geophysics, climate or environmental sciences, and a postgraduate qualification in meteorology (SCQF level 11).

To enter a meteorology degree requires National 5 qualifications and at least four Highers, typically AAAA, to study in Scotland (University of Edinburgh). Most courses are in England and often require Highers and up to three Advanced Highers.  

Entry to a postgraduate qualification usually requires an honours degree in a relevant subject.

Useful subjects

  • Maths (required by most courses)
  • Physics (required by most courses)
  • Science subjects
  • Geography
  • ICT
  • English

You will also need

 Once in work you will need to complete Forecaster training with the Met Office.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show a strong interest in science and the climate such as Skills for Work Laboratory Science (SCQF level 5) or Energy (SCQF level 5).