Atmospheric scientists, including meteorologists held about 11,800 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most atmospheric scientists, including meteorologists were as follows:
Professional, scientific, and technical services
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private
In the federal government, most atmospheric scientists work as weather forecasters with the National Weather Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in weather stations throughout the United States—at airports, in or near cities, and in isolated and remote areas. In smaller stations, they often work alone; in larger ones, they work as part of a team. In addition, hundreds of members of the Armed Forces are involved in atmospheric science.
Atmospheric scientists involved in professional, scientific, and technical services or research often work in offices and laboratories. Some may travel frequently to collect data in the field and to observe weather events, such as tornadoes, up close. They also observe actual weather conditions from the ground or from an aircraft. These scientists may also create small replicas of weather phenomena, in an off-site setting such as a warehouse, for study of the actual phenomena.
Broadcast meteorologists present their reports to the general public from television and radio studios. They also may broadcast from outdoor locations to tell audiences about current weather conditions.
Atmospheric scientists who work in private industry may have to travel to meet with clients or to gather information in the field. For example, forensic meteorologists may need to collect information from the scene of an accident as part of their investigation.
Most atmospheric scientists work full time. Weather conditions can change quickly, so weather forecasters need to continuously monitor conditions. Many, especially entry-level staff at field stations, work rotating shifts to cover all 24 hours in a day. For this reason, they work nights, weekends, and holidays to provide the most current weather information. In addition, they work extended hours during severe weather, such as hurricanes. Other atmospheric scientists have a standard workweek, although researchers may work nights and weekends on particular projects.