Careers in the National Weather Service


University of South Alabama Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott San Francisco State University Metropolitan State College of Denver United States Air Force Academy University of Northern Colorado University of Denver Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Western Illinois University Ball State University Valparasio University Western Kentucky University University of Louisiana - Monroe Central Michigan University St. Cloud State University Kean University SUNY- Brockport SUNY - Oneonta SUNY- Oswego University of North Carolina - Asheville Ohio University Millersville University University of Incarnate Word Lyndon State College Michigan State University California University of Pennsylvania College of Charleston Northland College Nova Southeastern University Florida International University of Connecticut Humboldt State University Hawaii-Pacific University SUNY - Buffalo State University of New Hampshire SUNY - Maritime College Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
University of Washington University of Nevada - Reno University of California - Davis San Jose State University University of California - Los Angeles South Dakota School of Mines and Technology University of North Dakota University of Oklahoma University of Kansas Texas A&M University Iowa State University University of Nebraska - Lincoln Creighton University Jackson State University Mississippi State University Flordia State University of Georgia Florida Institute of Technology University of Miami University of North Carolina - Charlotte University of Utah North Carolina State University University of Michigan Ohio State University Purdue University University of Wisconsin - Madison University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Northern Illinois University University of Chicago Pennsylvania State University Cornell University Johns Hopkins University University of Missouri - Columbia St. Louis University University of Alabama - Huntsville Stanford University University of California - Berkeley University of Hawaii - Manoa Plymouth State University University of Albany Rutgers University State University of New York - Stony Brook Western Connecticut State University Massachusetts Institute of Technology University of Massachusetts - Lowell University of Maryland University of Delaware University of Virginia Salisbury University University of Illinois - Urbana Howard University Georgia Institute of Technology
University of Alaska - Fairbanks Oregon State University University of Arizona Naval Postgraduate School Scripps Institute of Oceanography Colorado State University University of Colorado - Boulder Woods Hole Michigan Technical University University of Minnesota Princeton University Columbia University New York University North Carolina AT&T State University Texas Tech University University of Houston Hampton University University of Wyoming University of California - Irvine Yale University Boise State University University of Iowa University of Rhode Island Missouri University of Science and Technology Drexel University Harvard University Vanderbilt University Rice University University of Texas - Austin George Mason University Old Dominion University
Universities and their programs, like the rest of the world, are in a constant state of flux. Before you decide on a course of study, you should make sure that the program and course-work fulfill the requirements of your career choice. Inclusion on this map does NOT guarantee that the program meets current NWS standards or the standards of other agencies.

The Meteorologists and Hydrologists employed by the National Weather Service have a Bachelor's or higher degree in...

  • Meteorology,
  • Atmospheric Science, or
  • Hydrology (Physical Science or Engineering).
Electronic Technicians usually enter the National Weather Service with a military background in Electronics, an Associate degree in Electronics, or a degree in Information Systems. Also, with the Internet rapidly becoming a means of transferring weather information to the public, students with degrees related to Information Technology will also have the opportunity to work in the National Weather Service.

Carefully consider the college or university you attend when seeking a career with the National Weather Service. While many schools offer degrees in this field (see map - click to enlarge) not all offer the minimum requirements listed below:

Degree: Meteorology, Atmospheric Science or other natural science major that included at least 24 semester hours (36 quarter hours) in meteorology/atmospheric science including:
  • 6 semester hours in Atmospheric Dynamics *
  • 6 semester hours of analysis and prediction of weather systems (synoptic/mesoscale)
  • 3 semester hours of physical meteorology; and
  • 2 semester hours of remote sensing of the atmosphere and/or instrumentation.
  • 6 semester hours of physics with at least one course that includes laboratory sessions. *
  • 3 semester hours of ordinary differential equations.
  • At least 9 semester hours of course work for a physical science major in any combination of three or more of the following:
    • Physical Hydrology
    • Chemistry
    • Physical Climatology
    • Aeronomy
    • Computer Science
    • Advanced Electricity and Magnetism
    • Statistics
    • Physical Oceanography
    • Radiative Transfer
    • Advanced Thermodynamics
    • Light and Optics
    * Prerequisite or corequisite of calculus for course work in atmospheric dynamics and thermodynamics, physics and differential equations. Calculus courses must be appropriate for a physical science major.


For employment as a Hydrologist the minimum is a degree in Physical or natural science, or engineering that included at least 30 semester hours in any combination of courses in hydrology, the physical sciences, geophysics, chemistry, engineering science, soils, mathematics, aquatic biology, atmospheric science, meteorology, geology, oceanography, or the management or conservation of water resources. The course work must have included at least 6 semester hours in calculus (including both differential and integral calculus), and at least 6 semester hours in physics. Following is a list of water resources related graduate programs in the country.

Because of the intensive requirements at the college level, one must generally have an interest in both math and science. Students interested in Meteorology and Hydrology should concentrate in the high levels of math, physics, and chemistry.

Educational Employment

There are employment opportunities and services you should consider that will allow you to work part-time as a student in the National Weather Service. The Student Educational Employment Program provides employment opportunities to students who are enrolled or accepted for enrollment as degree seeking students taking at least a half-time academic, technical, or vocational course load in an accredited high school, technical, vocational, 2 or 4-year college or university, graduate or professional school. The program comprises two components: the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) and the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP).
  1. Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP)
    Job opportunities under this program offer you temporary employment. Employment can range from summer jobs to positions that last as long as you are a student. These employment opportunities need not be related to your academic field of study.
  2. Student Career Experience Program (SCEP)
    This program offers you valuable work experience directly related to your academic field of study. It provides formal periods of work and study while you are attending school. It requires a commitment by you, your school and the NWS. You may be eligible for permanent employment under this program after successfully completing your education and meeting work requirements.

Program Features Under Both Programs

  • Students may be employed year round.
  • Flexible schedule of work assignments.
  • Open to all students; high school, undergraduate, graduate, and vocational/technical.

Eligibility Requirements are:

  • A student enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a degree-seeking student (diploma, certificate, etc.).
  • At least the minimum age required by Federal, State or local laws and standards governing the employment of minors.
  • Taking at least half-time academic or vocational and technical course load in an accredited high school, technical or vocational school, 2-year or 4-year college or university, graduate or professional school.
  • U.S. Citizenship is required.
  • At the beginning of each semester/quarter, each student will produce a letter of verification from their educational institution showing proof of enrollment in school for the upcoming semester/quarter.

Salary and Promotions: The pay you receive will depend on the education and work experience you already possess. As you advance in your education you may be eligible for promotions based on your work performance, grade point average, and credits earned.

Student Volunteer Service (Unpaid)

The U.S. Department of Commerce also offers unpaid training opportunities to students in high school and college. These opportunities provide work experience related to your academic program. The program allows you to explore career options as well as develop your personal and professional skills. As a student volunteer, you will be exposed to the various missions and responsibilities of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

If you have any questions or inquiries regarding student employment opportunities, please refer to the DOC Student Employment Opportunities web site.

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