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 coursework 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...
- Atmospheric Science, or
- Hydrology (Physical Science or Engineering).
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
- Physical Climatology
- Computer Science
- Advanced Electricity and Magnetism
- Physical Oceanography
- Radiative Transfer
- Advanced Thermodynamics
- Light and Optics
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.
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).
- 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.
- 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.