National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Hazardous Heat in the Western U.S.; Heavy Rain and Flooding Potential in the Southern Rockies

Widespread high temperatures in the 90s with heat indices exceeding 100 degrees will persist across the western U.S. this weekend into next week. Some daily high temperature records are forecast to be tied or broken. Monsoon conditions continue to linger across the Southern Rockies posing a heavy rainfall threat which may lead to additional flash flooding concerns. Read More >

Student Opportunities at NWS Ft. Worth

picture of NWS Ft. WorthNational Weather Service Forecast offices regularly provide opportunities for college students to gain valuable work experience, both as paid employees and as unpaid volunteers. Many NWS employees participated in such programs themselves when they were students and remain grateful for the experience. For this reason, they understand how beneficial such programs can be, and they are eager to return the favor. This is true even if a student ends up not working for the National Weather Service.

Of course, the NWS benefits greatly from these programs as well. Not only do we gain a little extra help for a few months, but we also give potential future employees a running start toward a successful NWS career. When deciding which recent graduate to hire, a manager in the NWS often would like to select someone who has actual NWS experience -- and the positive recommendations to go with it!

There are several avenues by which students can participate in operations at WFO Fort Worth....

Student Volunteer Program

Like the rest of the National Weather Service, WFO Fort Worth values the talents and enthusiasm of college-level students and recent graduates who aspire to careers in the National Weather Service. We recognize the important role they can play as future employees, and we strive to support them in their quest to enter our agency. We do this primarily by creating volunteer opportunities at WFO Fort Worth.

The Student Volunteer Program offers work experience related to the participant's academic field of study. Students have an opportunity to explore their career options and to develop both professional and personal skills.

Student volunteer selections, for summer terms, are made locally at NWS Ft. Worth in early March. Since many students wish to volunteer with us, these positions are somewhat competitive.  Factors for selection include:
  • Number of students we can handle at one time
  • Year in school and amount of coursework completed
  • Academic record
  • Activities outside of class (clubs, teams, volunteer work, etc.)
  • Whether the student has previously volunteered with the NWS
  • United States citizenship (required)
  • Status as a current student (required)
Most students who volunteer at WFO Fort Worth are taking coursework in atmospheric science or hydrologic science. However, we will also consider hosting students with skills in Information Technology, Geographic Information Systems, or other related fields.

Work hours for student volunteers

We understand that student volunteers have many other commitments, including their academic work and perhaps actual paid employment. For this reason, we are flexible about the specific hours that a student works as a volunteer. We ask that student volunteers average 2-3 days per week for at least one 5-6 week period, mainly during the summer.
We also recommend that students try to work at least part of their time during normal business hours, Monday through Friday. This gives the student greater exposure to a wider variety of weather and potentially allows the student to interact with a greater number of forecasters. A student will spend their work time on a variety of activities. Especially at first, some of the time will be spent shadowing forecasters and other staff members. Eventually, the student will work on specific local office projects.

Earning college credit as a volunteer

Students may wish to check with their academic advisor about earning credit toward graduation for the time they spend volunteering. Specific policies vary by institution. For example, some schools may require the student to work more than 8 hours per week in order to earn credit. Otherwise, it does not matter to the NWS whether a student is volunteering for credit or not.

Rules and regulations for volunteers

The National Weather Service, as an agency of the United States Department of Commerce (DOC), is bound by the laws, policies, guidelines, and procedures regarding voluntary and uncompensated services as summarized in DOC Administrative Order 202-311. This is important information for potential volunteers. For example, Section 2.03.d in this document explains the citizenship requirements for volunteers: "If an agency may not hire citizens of a particular country, citizens of that country may not serve as student volunteers." Also note the Student Volunteer Agreement at the bottom of that document. The first point requires that: "The student is enrolled at least half time at an accredited school, is recommended by the school, and is acceptable to the agency."  All prospective volunteers will also be required to complete the necessary paperwork and security forms before being allowed to spend time at the NWS office.

Applying for a student volunteer position at NWS Ft. Worth

If you are interested in being a student volunteer at NWS Ft. Worth for a summer term, please fill out the application and email it to between January 1 and February 28th. Positions will be competitively selected with applicants notified in early to mid March.