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Summary of occupation

Meteorologists predict short and long term weather conditions based on the collection and analysis of atmospheric data. They collect information at fixed times from sources such as observation stations, ships and aircraft, satellites and radar stations. They study the physical dynamics of the earth, its oceans and any relevant atmospheric occurences to provide forecasts, warnings and other information and advice to the public, the media, the Australian defence force and to the aviation industry. Meteorologists also study climatic conditions with an aim of identifying climate change, and compiling data for further research into the ways it affects our weather.

ANZSCO description: Studies the physics and dynamics of the atmosphere to increase understanding of weather and climate, and to forecast changes in the weather and long-term climatic trends.
Alternative names: Atmospheric Scientist
Specialisations: Climatologist, Hydrometeorologist, Meteorological Consultant, Meteorological Technical Officer, Research Meteorologist, Weather Forecaster
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A meteorologist needs:

  • an interest in the earth and in weather
  • good oral and written communication skills
  • strong maths skills and knowledge of physics
  • problem-solving skills
  • the ability to undertake precise and methodical work
  • analytical and interpretive skills
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Working conditions

Meteorologists usually work for the Bureau of Meteorology, but may also work for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), for universities, state government bodies concerned with environmental policy, or private companies. In Western Australia meteorologists usually work in the Perth regional forecasting centre of the Bureau of Meteorology, but may also work at airports, RAAF bases or in remote areas such as the Kimberley and Pilbarra regions collecting diverse atmospheric and climatic data. Meteorologists may even work in Antarctica. They usually work regular hours, but may be required to work odd hours if they are working in the field.

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Salary details

On average, meteorologists, classified under other natural and physical science professionals, can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a meteorologist develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Meteorologists work mostly on computers, using specialised computer programs that collect and interpret synoptic, dynamic and physical meteorological information. They may also use other programs that undertake climatology, oceanography, satellite or radar data interpretation, or numerical weather prediction. They use radar technology to obtain weather data, computerised drawing tablets to interpret this data, and weather charts, maps and graphs which they consult and interpret.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a meteorologist you usually need to complete a Bachelor of Science, majoring in mathematics and physics.

​Most Western Australian universities offer degrees in these fields. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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