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Climate Science: Gainful Employment

The purpose of establishing the Climate Science Degree Program is to position Utah State University as the base for higher education on climate and climate change for Utah’s next-generation citizens. One cannot effectively study climate change science — and all that it entails — without first also learning the climate science. Understanding future impacts to natural and human systems, formulating impact mitigation strategies, and formulating adaptation scenarios all begin with the climate science itself: What is the climate system going to be? Answering this question requires not only faculty and graduate students, but also an education entity that brings the next generation up to speed to this 21st century problem of climate change. The new program’s close proximity with (and involvement of) agriculture and soils faculty will contribute to a successful degree program in the sciences of climate change mitigation.

Labor Market Demand

Climate scientists, including meteorologists held about 11,100 jobs in 2012 . Employment of climate scientists is projected to grow 10 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations2. New computer models have vastly improved the accuracy and extent of forecasts and allowed climate scientists or meteorologists to tailor climate prediction to specific purposes. This will increase the need for climate scientists working in private industry as businesses demand more specialized weather and climate information. The best job prospects for climate science major are projected to be in private industry.

Climate Science Salary Page
Climate Science Jobs
Climate Research Jobs

The industries that employed the most climate scientists in 2012 were as follows:

  • Professional, scientific, and technical services   36%
  • Federal government, excluding postal service   29%
  • Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private  19%
  • Radio and television broadcasting   8%

The job market for climate-background personnel has been going through a transformational change, from sections asking people of diverse backgroun to conduct climate-related tasks into companies directly recruting climate scientists or social scientists. Climate scientists involved in research often work in either govenmental or university laboratories. Climate scientists who work in private industry will have to analyze climate change impact on society as a way to formulate insurance policy; this has been on growing demand for the costal regions (hurricanes and sea level rise), the Great Plains (tornado alley), and western states (drought and large fires).