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Student Information

There are many opportunities that exist at the National Weather Service (NWS) for college students to gain valuable work experience, both as paid employees and as unpaid volunteers. In fact, many current NWS employees began their careers by having participated in such programs themselves while in school. These opportunities provide potential employees an early start to building a foundation within the field of meteorology and a step toward a successful NWS career. Many managers throughout the NWS look for recent graduates with actual NWS experience when hiring new employees. It is also a great way for recent graduates to receive positive recommendations to hiring managers by being able to list NWS personnel as references. Additional opportunities for middle and high school students also exist through our job shadow program.

Additional information on student opportunities in the NWS may explored using the tabs below and via this link.

Familiarization videos of all the different centers/offices within the NWS can be found here.

The NWS office in Grand Forks, ND 2023-2024 University of North Dakota student volunteer measuring precipitation at the NWS


NWS Grand Forks Student Volunteer Opportunities
(Unpaid Opportunity)

Volunteer periods are split into two available time periods: Summer and Fall/Spring semesters. The same application period will apply to both volunteer periods.
Application Period: February 1st through March 1st annually

This program is designed to provide students opportunities for overviews and familiarization of the many NWS programs and operations (e.g., forecasting, climate, fire weather, aviation, hydrology, NOAA Weather Radio, and observational procedures), as well as improve the students’ ability to perform and communicate forecast information via modernized process. In the office, students will spend time shadowing forecasters and use AWIPS and other NWS equipment in order to develop forecasting techniques, create forecast products and graphics for social media and other means of communication, along with assisting staff in other operational tasks.


Minimum Qualifications

  • Currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program in meteorology or a related field
    such as atmospheric science, environmental science, climatology, hydrology, etc.).

  • Must be a junior or higher in academic standing at the beginning of the volunteer period.

  • Must have successfully completed Meteorology I and Introduction to Synoptic Meteorology courses covering fronts, jets, and the analysis of baroclinic and barotropic systems (e.g., UND ATSC 110 and 210) or equivalents. Must be currently enrolled or have successfully completed an Atmospheric Thermodynamics course (e.g., UND ATSC 350) or equivalent.

  • Be in good academic standing, holding at least a 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale.

Note: A security background check is required for all student volunteers prior to beginning their volunteer period.


What to Expect

The volunteer will be expected to work at least 4 hours (up to 6 hours) per week​.


Application Process and Deadlines

Applications must include the following:

  • Resume
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • NWS Grand Forks application form (link below)
  • Optional application materials may include:
  • ​Cover Letter
  • Letter of Recommendation

Applications will be accepted for both the Summer 2024 and School Year 2024-2025 periods February 1 - March 1, 2024.



Points of Contact

For more information, please email


Internship Credit

Your university may offer internship credit (example: UND ATSC 497) for this program. If you intend to earn internship credit/s for this program, know that you will need to dedicate 4 hours per week for 1 credit hour (only 1 credit hour per semester is offered in this program), and receive permission from your advisor. Please inform your advisor of your intention to receive credit so they can complete the NWS Grand Forks Student Volunteer Program - Faculty Recommendation Form on your behalf upon selection for the position.

Pathways Student Employment Program​

(Paid Opportunity)

The most common form of paid employment opportunities for students in the NWS is through the Pathways Program. The Pathways program is designed for both undergraduate and graduate students. This program offers participants formal periods of work experience directly related to their academic field of study. Participants in this program may be eligible for permanent employment (without competition) after successfully completing their education and work requirements. Guidelines and the number of openings are determined on a regional and national scale, and are subject to budgetary limitations. For more information, please visit the links below. 

There is no set schedule for the announcement of NWS Pathways openings at this time. Therefore, check the USAJobs website frequently for any updates or openings in the Pathways Program within the NWS. They will be listed under the GS-1399 series and usually graded a 03/04. We suggest creating a saved search for the GS-1399 series which should send an email when job listings are posted.

Non-official Application Guidelines listed below (Note: Official guidelines can be found in each job announcement.)

  • A resume listing your previous work experience, completed college coursework, status as a U.S. citizen (and Selective Service registration if applicable), and any other relevant information such as computer and programming skills, significant class projects, volunteer activities, research experience, participation in student clubs, etc.
  • A transcript from your current university (unofficial is acceptable).
  • Proof of Enrollment from your university (UND info here).
  • Proof of accomplishments/questionnaire answers must be included within your application/resume.
  • Availability to work at the location in which you are applying during summer/breaks and/or during the school year.

Additional information:

NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship Program

(Paid Opportunity)

Undergraduate students may apply for NOAA's Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship program. Once a year NOAA solicits applications for a scholarship program in honor of retired South Carolina Sen. Ernest F. Hollings, who promoted oceanic and atmospheric research throughout his career.

Students will be eligible for awards that include academic assistance (up to a maximum of $9,500/year) for full-time study during the 9-month academic year, a 10-week, full-time internship position ($700/week) during the summer at a NOAA or partner facility, and academic assistance (up to a maximum of $9,500/year) for full-time study during a second 9-month academic year. The internship between the first and second years of the award provides scholars with hands-on/practical educational training experience in NOAA-related science, research, technology, policy, management, and education activities. Awards include travel funds to attend and participate in a mandatory orientation and conferences where students present a paper or poster. In addition, students may receive a housing subsidy if they do not reside at home during their summer internship. The application period usually begins in September and closes by the end of January. Additional undergraduate scholarship opportunities can be found here.

Applications for the Hollings Scholarship Program are available online here.

Job Shadow Opportunities
(Unpaid Opportunity)

Job shadow opportunities exist on a limited basis to students in 8th grade and up, and at the college/university academic level. Students may be allowed to shadow NWS Grand Forks meteorologists for a 2-4 hour period learning about daily operations and the different operational programs at NWS Grand Forks. For inquires or requests to arrange a job shadow opportunity, please email

*Note: Any job shadow arrangement is weather dependent and could be cancelled or rescheduled at short notice.

Permanent Employment with the NWS​

(Paid Opportunity)

The Meteorologist positions at the NWS are graduated both in responsibility and pay. NWS jobs are on the General Schedule (GS) pay scale and range from GS-5 to GS-15 depending on the job. Entry-level positions are the lowest grades on the scale with a new graduate usually obtaining a Meteorologist position at the GS-5 grade; however, those with a Masters degree or prior field-related work experience outside the NWS may start at a higher grade. Meteorology jobs are listed under a series number: which is 1340 for meteorology. If you are looking for NWS jobs on the USAJobs website, you would want to search for 1340-GS5/7 NWS Meteorologist job openings as a new graduate. If you have never visited the USAJobs website, please visit the Tips page that includes a video for finding and applying for jobs in the Federal Government.

Additional information:

NWS Office Tours

Office tours exist on a limited basis and are limited to students in 2nd grade and up. Tours last approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour and include an overview on NWS operations, a look at the NWS operations floor, and weather observing equipment. For inquires or requests to arrange an office tour, please email

*Note: Any office tour arrangement is weather dependent and could be cancelled or rescheduled at short notice.