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Atmospheric Sciences Major

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Atmospheric Sciences

652 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
238 Master's Degrees Annually
#184 in Popularity
$101,890 Median Salary

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
Bachelor’s Degree 652
Master’s Degree 238
Doctor’s Degree 154
Basic Certificate 26
Graduate Certificate 2

What Atmospheric Sciences Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to meteorology were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for Meteorology Majors

Meteorology majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

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  • 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:

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  • 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

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a meteorology student include the following:

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  • 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?

People with a meteorology degree often go into the following careers:

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 Bachelor’s Degree in Atmospheric Sciences?

652 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
41% Percent Women
19% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 652 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric sciences and meteorology in 2019, making it rank #184 in popularity. This major attracts more men than women. About 59% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of meteorology majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Meteorology Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 17
Black or African American 25
Hispanic or Latino 49
White 498
International Students 15
Other Races/Ethnicities 48

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Meteorology, too. About 2.3% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • India
  • Taiwan
  • Kuwait
  • South Korea

How Much Do Atmospheric Sciences Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that atmospheric sciences and meteorology students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree made a median starting salary of $31,650 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $29,775 (25th percentile) and $32,625 (75th percentile).

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Note that some of these people may have jobs that are not directly related to a meteorology degree.

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.

Median Salary for an Atmospheric Sciences Major  ( 95580 to 139680 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with meteorology may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

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.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Some College Courses 1.2%
Bachelor’s Degree 25.4%
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%
Master’s Degree 33.4%
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%
Doctoral Degree 24.8%
Post-Doctoral Training 9.4%

Online Atmospheric Sciences Programs

In 2018-2019, 111 schools offered a meteorology program of some type. 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
Associate’s Degree 6 1
Bachelor’s Degree 3 0
Post-Baccalaureate 15 1
Master’s Degree 46 0
Post-Master’s 1 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!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to meteorology.

Major Number of Grads
Chemistry 22,156
Physics 13,927
Geological & Earth Sciences 9,522
General Physical Sciences 4,527
Astronomy & Astrophysics 1,168
Materials Sciences 681
Other Physical Science 503

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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