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Meteorological Technician


Description

Busily monitoring weather systems, meterological technicians are fascinated by the weather. They are responsible for performing tests to monitor the weather and releasing this information to the public. Meteorological technicians work alongside meteorologists, assisting these scientists who study information on air pressure, pollution, temperature, humidity, and wind velocity.

Meteorological technicians monitor weather systems, and collect, evaluate, and release their findings to public and private facilities, which include the National Weather Service, airport personnel, the Federal Aviation Administration, air traffic controllers, private and public companies, industries, environmental watchdog groups, and television and radio stations.

Obviously, the weather affects much more than how many layers you'll need to pack in that beach bag. Meteorological technicians know this; they work in a number of areas to try to understand the unpredictable and uncontrollable weather here on Earth.

That is why they specialize in one of several areas. Weather surface observers use instruments to measure pressure, temperature, humidity, wind, precipitation, and clouds, while aerological technicians use gas-filled balloons, electronic equipment, radio receivers and computers to measure atmospheric conditions up to a height of 75 miles. Meteorological inspectors travel to different observation sites to service or repair weather-reading equipment.

As observant technicians, they are required to maintain a continuous weather watch from wherever they are stationed. They monitor and evaluate the wind, sky condition, present weather, temperature/dew point, altimeter, snow depth, and precipitation, and then pass along their findings to scientists working in the weather center or out of other locations, via phone, computer, or other technical device. The scientists can then make predictions, forecasts, and evaluate things like environmental health and ozone depletion.

Weather forecasting depends on accurate readings taken by technicians. If someone makes even small mistake somewhere along the line, it can seriously throw off the final interpretation. Meteorological technicians are therefore careful, accurate, and methodical people who are curious about the weather in all its forms.
 
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Ashford University
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  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
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Median Salary:
$52,585
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
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  Interests and Skills  
Interested in working as a meteorological technician? They need to be interested in the environment, and conservation and prevention. Meterological technicians are analytical thinkers who enjoy science. They should be creative, and good communicators, both orally and in writing. They need to be able to think in terms of space as well as time, and they should also enjoy analyzing and creating theory from data. Meterological technicians must be able to work independently and as part of a team.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Monitor weather patterns and changes using various testing systems
  • Advise public and private interests about weather and climate, air quality (including pollution levels and allergens), sea and lake ice, and UV exposure
  • Maintain and repair equipment as needed
  • Keep careful records of all findings
  • The day-to-day tasks of a meteorological technician involves a lot of observation, monitoring, and data processing. Most of each day will be spent analyzing computer models, looking at data gathered from radar and human sources, and watching the sky. They also measure pollution levels in the air and water, and watch for airborne allergens, especially in the spring and fall. They also record their findings, which they then pass along to scientists. They may travel, especially if they follow storm patterns or track pollution problems, and some may spend some of each day outdoors, especially when monitoring the atmosphere.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Meteorological technicians work indoors, as well as outside for readings and evaluations. Working outside can involve climbing tall towers or hiking through woods in all sorts of weather conditions. They generally work at isolated weather stations, monitoring the weather in small teams of technicians and/or scientists. They may work in government weather offices and observation stations across the country, or private weather watch companies. A small number of meteorological technicians are employed in university meteorological research centers or weather consulting companies.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Meteorological technicians can become supervisors or senior technicians, or begin working as an ice service technician, charting and reporting ice conditions on water. They can also train to work as a meteorologist, providing weather information and forecasts to pilots, farmers, shipping companies and the news media. They can also become specialists in one area, like climate study, pollution watch, or atmospheric research. They can work for many different groups and organizations, or start up their own consulting agency. They can also get into broadcasting.
 

  Educational Paths  

 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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