Careers in the National Weather Service


Colleges and Universities that offer degrees in Meterorology
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.
Arizona State University - undergraduate degree only California University of Pennsylvania - undergraduate degree only Central Michigan University - undergraduate degree only The City College of New York - undergraduate degree only College of Charleston Colorado State University - graduate degrees only Columbia University - both graduate & undergraduate degrees Cornell University - both graduate & undergraduate degrees Creighton University - both graduate & undergraduate degrees Drexel University Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - undergraduate degree only Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - undergraduate degree only Florida Institute of Technology - both graduate & undergraduate degrees Florida State University - both graduate & undergraduate degrees Georgia Tech - both graduate & undergraduate degrees Indiana University - both graduate & undergraduate degrees Iowa State University - both graduate & undergraduate degrees Jackson State University - undergraduate degree only Johns Hopkins University - both graduate & undergraduate degrees Kean University - undergraduate degree only Louisiana State University - graduate degree only Lyndon State College - undergraduate degree only Massachusetts Institute of Technology - both graduate & undergraduate degrees Metropolitan State College of Denver - undergraduate degree only Millersville University - undergraduate degree only Mississippi State University - both graduate & undergraduate degrees Naval Postgraduate School - graduate degree only New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology - both graduate & undergraduate degrees North Carolina State University - both graduate & undergraduate degrees University of Louisiana at Monroe - undergraduate degree only Northern Illinois University - undergraduate degree only Northland College - undergraduate degree only Ohio State University - both graduate & undergraduate degrees Oregon State University - graduate degree only Penn State University - both graduate & undergraduate degrees Plymouth State College - undergraduate degree only Princeton University - graduate degree only Purdue University - both graduate & undergraduate degrees Rutgers University - both graduate & undergraduate degrees St. Cloud State University - undergraduate degree only Saint Louis University - both graduate & undergraduate degrees San Francisco State University - undergraduate degree only San José State University - both graduate & undergraduate degrees South Dakota School of Mines and Technology - both graduate & undergraduate degrees South Dakota State University - graduate degree only Stanford University - both graduate & undergraduate degrees State University of New York at Albany - both graduate & undergraduate degrees State University of New York College at Brockport - undergraduate degree only State University of New York Maritime College - undergraduate degree only State University College at Oneonta - undergraduate degree only SUNY Oswego - undergraduate degree only Stony Brook University - both graduate & undergraduate degrees Texas A&M University - both graduate & undergraduate degrees - Whoop! Texas Tech University - graduate degree only U.S. Air Force Academy - undergraduate degree only University of Alabama in Huntsville - graduate degree only University of Alaska Fairbanks - graduate degree only The University of Arizona - graduate degree only University of California, Davis - both graduate & undergraduate degrees University of California, Irvine - graduate degree only University of California, Los Angeles - both graduate & undergraduate degrees The University of Chicago - both graduate & undergraduate degrees University of California, San Diego - graduate degree only University of Colorado - graduate degree only University of Delaware - graduate degree only University of Hawaii - both graduate & undergraduate degrees University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign - graduate degree only The University of Kansas - both graduate & undergraduate degrees The University of Massachusetts Lowell - undergraduate degree only University of Maryland - graduate degree only University of Miami - both graduate & undergraduate degrees University of Michigan - both graduate & undergraduate degrees University of Missouri-Columbia - both graduate & undergraduate degrees University of Nebraska, Lincoln - both graduate & undergraduate degrees University of Nevada, Reno - graduate degree only University of New Hampshire - both graduate & undergraduate degrees The University of North Carolina at Asheville - undergraduate degree only University of North Dakota - undergraduate degree only University of Northern Colorado - undergraduate degree only University of Oklahoma - both graduate & undergraduate degrees University of Puerto Rico - graduate degree only University of South Alabama - undergraduate degree only University of Texas Center for Space Research - graduate degree only University of Utah - both graduate & undergraduate degrees University of Virginia - both graduate & undergraduate degrees University of Washington - both graduate & undergraduate degrees The University of Wisconsin - Madison - both graduate & undergraduate degrees University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee University of Wyoming - graduate degree only Valparaiso University - undergraduate degree only Western Connecticut State University - undergraduate degree only Western Illinois University - undergraduate degree only Western Kentucky University - undergraduate degree only Yale University - graduate degree only Michigan Technological University University of North Carolina at Charlotte Western Ct. State University

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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