Atmospheric Physicist

Study the physical phenomena that take place in the earth's atmosphere.
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Quick Stats


Salary Range
$80,000 – $139,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Atmospheric Physicists do?

Atmospheric Physicists use physics to study and understand the Earth’s atmosphere. Working with computer models, air and water samples, satellite data, and weather reports from around the globe, these scientists investigate how the atmosphere effects the environment, weather, pollution rates, and our everyday lives.

You were the kid who was enthralled by thunderstorms, tornadoes, and torrential downpours. You’ve always been worried about the hole in the ozone layer. And each time you’re at the beach, you’re fascinated by how the tides flow in and out. It’s your curiosity about how the big celestials things affect the little daily stuff that makes this job a perfect fit.

Depending on exactly where your interests lie, a typical day as an Atmospheric Physicist (which is a type of Atmospheric Scientist) will be radically different. You could spend time in the lab, analyzing data and using computer graphic to create models of temperature trends. You might find yourself traveling to the Arctic to collect and test ice and air samples.

If you’re more the engineering-type, you could develop equipment that helps predict long-term weather patterns or forecast the eventual effects of greenhouse gases. You may also find yourself at the forefront of natural and manmade disasters, working alongside Meteorologists to issue severe weather warnings, or monitoring the spread of radioactive contaminants.

As an Atmospheric Physicist, you will be in hot demand: everyone from NASA to your local television news programs can use your expertise.


Should I be an Atmospheric Physicist?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: Atomic Spectroscopist, Physicist, Atomic, Electronic and Molecular

    How to become an Atmospheric Physicist

    Most Atmospheric Physicists have a Doctorate. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:cbdwa9&chl=no+college+%282%25%29|certificate+%281%25%29|associate%27s+%283%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2819%25%29|master%27s+%2822%25%29|doctorate+%2852%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,2,52
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