Applying marine and atmospheric info tactically Meteorology & Oceanography

Planning an air strike. Charting the best course for a deployed ship. Identifying currents that affect a submarine underway. Whatever the scenario, meteorology and oceanography are factors that inevitably come into play. And Officers in the field help lead efforts to ensure safe and successful operations.

Job Description

Whether operating in the upper reaches of the atmosphere, in the sky, upon the ocean or below it, Navy equipment, people and decision making all rely on the technical and tactical advice of Navy Meteorology and Oceanography (METOC) Officers. These skilled scientists are the Navy’s geophysical warriors. They apply expertise in all facets of oceanography, meteorology, hydrography, and precise time and astronomy.

Serving as Officers (four-year degree required), METOC Officers are leaders in the Information Dominance Corps (IDC) – a group of highly specialized information experts fully integrated across surface, subsurface, air, space and cyberspace domains. With shared functions, capabilities and resources, IDC members leverage their skills to optimize decision making and to maximize the use of sensors, weapons, network communications and control systems for purposes of national security and warfighting.

Serving part-time as a Reservist, your duties will be carried out during your scheduled drilling and training periods. Take a moment to learn more about the general roles and responsibilities of Reservists. And know this: The impact of your work and your service will go far beyond the time that you put in.

Specific Responsibilities

Navy Meteorologists and Oceanographers deliver a timely and accurate understanding of operational conditions from sea to space while also managing the personnel responsible for monitoring the surrounding physical environment and forecasting weather conditions.

As a METOC Officer, you will use leading edge technology and information systems to characterize the geophysical environment – applying knowledge in support of Fleet Operations and everything from Maritime Navigation to Aviation; Expeditionary Warfare to Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance; Naval Special Warfare to Anti-submarine Warfare and Mine Warfare. This role may include:

  • Helping guide ships, aircraft and troops with recommendations based on weather forecasts and ocean conditions
  • Relaying forecast updates and weather warnings to military and civilian authorities
  • Preparing ocean, sea and waterway charts and maps for anything from basic navigation to search-and-rescue efforts
  • Maintaining the military’s primary master clock, which provides the most precise time interval in the world and drives the Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • Overseeing the work of Aerographer’s Mates – Enlisted Sailors (no degree required) who monitor weather conditions and provide forecast information


Most of what you do in the Navy Reserve is considered training. The basic Navy Reserve commitment involves training a minimum of one weekend a month (referred to as drilling) and two weeks a year (referred to as Annual Training) – or the equivalent of that.

Meteorology and Oceanography leaders serve in Officer roles. Before receiving the ongoing professional training that comes with the job, initial training requirements must be met.

For current or former Navy Officers (NAVET): Prior experience satisfies the initial training requirement – so you will not need to go through Officer Training again.

For current or former Officers of military branches other than the Navy (OSVET), as well as for Officer candidates without prior military experience: You will need to meet the initial leadership training requirement by attending the 12-day Direct Commission Officer (DCO) School in Newport, R.I. This will count as your first Annual Training.

Career Advantages

In the course of service, specialized training received could lead to credentialing, certification and/or licensure opportunities from a number of national boards and organizations – allowing you to become even more competitive in your challenging field.

Plus, the specialized knowledge and expertise you gain as a Meteorology and Oceanography Officer could prepare you to work for the Office of Naval Research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Weather Service, academic research institutions and museums, or other esteemed military and civilian institutions – including work with commercial airlines, with radio and TV stations, and as a geographer.

And the more tangible benefits? Competitive pay. Points earned toward retirement benefits. Outstanding insurance options. And much more. Read about the benefits of serving in the Navy Reserve.

Education Opportunities

Beyond professional credentials and certifications, Meteorology and Oceanography Officers can advance their education through the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Navy (SOCNAV) Degree Program, by pursuing opportunities at institutions such as Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) or Navy War College (NWC), and by completing Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) at one of the various service colleges.


A four-year degree is required to work as a Meteorology and Oceanography Officer. Candidates seeking an Officer position in this community must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution (with coursework in calculus and calculus-based physics), preferably in a technical field and ideally in areas of study such as physics; physics-based oceanography, meteorology, hydrography, earth science; or engineering.

All candidates must also be U.S. citizens, eligible for a secret security clearance and qualified for sea duty.

General qualifications may vary depending upon whether you’re currently serving, whether you’ve served before or whether you’ve never served before.

More Information

Want to explore further? Learn what you need to know about joining the Navy Reserve. Find us on Facebook to interact with actual Navy Reservists. Or, if you need more information, contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter.

Consider Your Service Options.

There are different ways that you can commit to serve in America’s Navy. Besides part-time opportunities in the Navy Reserve, full-time Active Duty positions are also available in this career area.