There are about 9,900 atmospheric scientists, including space meteorologists, working in the U.S. Almost one-third work for federal government agencies. They may be employed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Some work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service stations across the country. Space meteorologists also work in research and development, such as for NOAA laboratories or the National Center for Atmospheric Research, which is funded by the National Science Foundation. Some are employed by the Department of Defense and military branches. Space meteorologists are also employed as teachers in colleges and universities. Space meteorologists may work for broadcast networks, private consulting firms, and companies that design and manufacture space meteorological instruments.
Many space meteorologists get started in their careers through an an internship program with a meteorological company or federal government agency. Upon graduation they may receive an offer for permanent employment. School career services offices can help with finding internship opportunities. Other ways to get started include formal training programs through the National Weather Service. Those who have served in the armed forces in meteorology positions may get meteorology jobs when they return to civilian life. Space meteorologists with a doctorate degree may start out as assistant professors or research associates. Space meteorologists also search for employment postings on the Web sites of companies that interest them as well as on sites such as Indeed and LinkedIn.
Space meteorologists who work for government organizations such as NASA and the National Weather Service advance according to a job classification system. They must meet specific requirements, such as number of years in their current position, to advance to positions of greater responsibility and higher pay. Space meteorologists also enhance their knowledge and skills by getting advanced degrees and certifications. They may move up in large companies to become senior space meteorologists and department heads. They may leave government and corporate jobs to become independent consultants or to teach and research in colleges and universities.
Tips for Entry
Learn more about educational programs and careers in meteorology and atmospheric sciences by visiting the careers section of the National Weather Service's Web site, https://www.weather.gov/careers.
Get an internship or part-time job at a space meteorology organization. Ask your school's career services office for help with finding opportunities for students.
Join the Technology Student Association, https://tsaweb.org, to meet others who are interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and to participate in science competitions.
Learn more about space weather and the different planets by visiting NASA's Web site, https://www.nasa.gov/spaceweather.