"Weathermen" are formally known as meteorologists. Meteorologists forecast the weather by studying Earth’s atmosphere, air pressure, temperature and other variables to make accurate weather predictions. Meteorologists are also called atmospheric scientists, as well as climatologists. There are several different types of meteorologists, including operational, physical and environmental. The average earnings of weathermen vary based on individual work responsibilities, educational attainment and experience. Earnings of news broadcast reporters are also relevant in discussing weatherman salaries because being a meteorologist is not a critical requirement for reporting the weather.
As of May 2010, meteorologists earned average annual wages of $87,780 nationally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau indicates that meteorologists who earned the most during that time made more than $132,130, while those who earned the least made less than $45,050. Weathercasters who gather and develop their own weather data are typically trained meteorologists. Other weather reporters collect information from national weather satellites and statewide weather bureaus but are not necessarily formal meteorologists. Broadcast news analysts for local radio and television stations earn average annual salaries of $75,720, according to the BLS.
Geographic location affects the earnings of weathercasters. The BLS reports that meteorologists in Maryland, New Jersey and Texas earn among the highest salaries in the country in their field. In these states, meteorologists earn average annual salaries that range from $95,320 to $114,650, which is well above the national average. Newscasters who report the weather but are not necessarily meteorologists earn annual salaries that range from $82,950 to $91,940, according to the BLS.
The industry employing the highest concentration of meteorologists is the radio and television broadcasting industry. Other industries that employ a high number of meteorologists include scientific and research development services, colleges, universities and the federal government. The top-paying industries for meteorologists is the weather tool manufacturing industry. This industry manufactures navigational, measuring and electromedical instruments that support weather-related services. Meteorologists who work within this industry earn annual wages of $147,370, according to the BLS.
Meteorology is a relatively small field and few universities offer atmospheric science or meteorology degrees, according the BLS. Weather reporters who are interested in advancing their careers can obtain the Certified Consulting Meteorologist credential from the American Meteorological Society. The certification requires an advanced degree and several years of meteorological experience. The society also offers a certification for television and radio meteorologists. The Certified Broadcast Meteorologist credential can help weather reporters advance their careers to supervisory levels or employment with more complex weather forecasting responsibilities.