Frequently Asked Questions

Do you offer online courses or an online degree in Meteorology and Atmospheric Science?

While we do not offer a degree in Meteorology and Atmospheric Science through online courses, we do offer a completely online four-course Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting program. To learn more about this program, please visit

Who employs meteorologists and atmospheric scientists?

The field of meteorology has changed so rapidly over the last 25 years that few career guides give an accurate picture of the true challenges and opportunities facing students who are entering the field. An excellent career guide is provided by the American Meteorological Society. Modern measurement techniques using satellites, aircraft, radar and other sensing systems have greatly multiplied the data available to meteorologists and will continue to do so. Computer systems are evolving rapidly in their power to collect, process, and display this information and to incorporate it into solving complex scientific equations that govern the atmosphere. Successful businesses must account for the impact that weather has on their operations, and so increasingly meteorologists must understand economics and risk management. Thus, modern meteorologists must be familiar with all of these tools and techniques as well as with the needs of the public or industry they serve so that they can make informed judgments of the greatest practical value. Penn State graduates are working in every level of government and private industry on a variety of applications, including specialized forecasting, commodity trading and weather derivatives, air quality regulation, and energy resource management. About one-third of our graduates pursue a graduate degree which leads to additional opportunities in teaching and research in university, government, and industrial laboratories.

Employment opportunities for Meteorology and Atmospheric Science graduates vary considerably from year to year. But because of the strong preparation in basic mathematics, physics, chemistry, and computer science that all meteorology and atmospheric science students receive, graduates are positioned well to adapt to a wide range of employment opportunities. Historically, even during periods with no shortages of jobs in the field of atmospheric science, many meteorology graduates take positions in other fields in response to unusual challenges they found attractive. To assist students in finding internships or jobs, the department hosts a Meteorology Career Days each fall in which companies and organizations send representatives to Penn State to give presentations and to interview meteorology students. Statistics from all 99 B.S. graduates from 2011 and 2012 indicate that our students secured employment in private companies (38%), in graduate school (33%), in broadcast meteorology (11%), and in the military, government, or education (5%). The National Weather Service and government labs, once the major employer for meteorology graduates, now employs less than 5% of our recent graduates.

In recent years, our graduates have landed positions in a wide variety of fields, including air quality consulting, commodity trading, energy forecasting, remote sensing, Environmental resource management and planning, observational networks, information systems, meteorological programming, and emergency management, to name a few. A comprehensive list of companies and organizations who employed our graduates from the classes of 2011, 2012 and 2013 by visiting the "Who Employs our B.S. Graduates" section. 

Additional information, including median income ranges, can be found by visiting the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

What courses should I take in high school to prepare me for entrance into Penn State's Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science?

People who major in Meteorology and Atmospheric Science need a strong background in science, mathematics and computer skills. In high school, students should take earth sciences, physics, chemistry and mathematics through at least pre-calculus. Generally, students who have completed a course in calculus and/or a course in computer programming will have an advantage when starting their Meteorology and Atmospheric Science studies. Students should take their high school's college-preparation English classes and should know how to use a word processor on a computer.

For additional information on admissions, please contact Penn State's undergraduate admissions office at 1-814-865-5471.

Can I begin my education at a Penn State branch campus and then transfer to University Park and into the Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science after the first year or two?

Yes. The University Park campus is the only campus of Penn State to offer a complete Meteorology and Atmospheric Science program. Some students choose to attend one of the branch campuses to complete their general education courses and then transfer to the University Park campus for the required meteorology and atmospheric science and elective courses. Course sequencing for students at University Park or for those who start at branch campuses can be found by visiting the Transfer and Commonwealth Campus Student Information section.  

What are the credit and course requirements to transfer from another university to the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State, and specifically into the Meteorology major?

Students must meet the requirements listed at the link below in order to be accepted in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State.

How can I tell whether the courses I've taken at another institution will count for credit when I transfer to Penn State?


How much does it cost to attend Penn State (tuition)?

Because Penn State's tuition rates vary by campus, student level, program, and residency, a student tuition calculator provides specific tuition rates for individual students.  Please visit:  to calculate tuition costs.