Career Path Forecast
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of atmospheric
scientists is projected to grow 15 percent over the 2008-18 decade, faster
than the average for all occupations. Most new jobs are expected to arise
in private industry. As research leads to continuing improvements in
weather forecasting, demand should grow for private weather consulting
firms to provide more detailed information than has formerly been
available, especially to climate-sensitive industries.
Farmers, commodity investors, insurance companies,
utilities, and transportation and construction firms can greatly benefit
from additional weather information more closely targeted to their needs
than the general information provided by the National Weather Service.
Additionally, research on seasonal and other long-range forecasting is
yielding positive results, which should spur demand for more atmospheric
scientists to interpret these forecasts and advise climate-sensitive
industries. However, because many customers for private weather services
are in industries sensitive to fluctuations in the economy, the sales and
growth of private weather services depend on the health of the economy.
There will continue to be demand for atmospheric scientists
to analyze and monitor the dispersion of pollutants into the air to ensure
compliance with Federal environmental regulations, but related employment
increases are expected to be small. Efforts toward making and improving
global weather observations also could have a positive impact on
Atmospheric scientists will face keen competition, as the
number of graduates from college and university atmospheric sciences
programs is expected to exceed the number of openings in the field.
Although overall opportunities will be limited, the best prospects will be
in private industry. Few opportunities are expected in government as
atmospheric scientists will only need to be hired to replace workers who
retire or leave the field. Openings for academic researchers will be
limited due to the small number of positions. Workers with graduate degrees
should enjoy better prospects than those with only a bachelorís degree.
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.