The department works with several employers of meteorologists to offer students internships. Internships are divided between the two major employers of forecasting meteorologists. The most common internship taken is with the National Weather Service, but there are also job opportunites in the private sector.
National Weather Service
The department offers two types of internships with the NWS. Most usual is the 60 hour unpaid forecaster internship which can be taken at any National Weather Service office. However, it is typically taken in either the Madison or Milwaukee Sullivan office. In this program the student performs 60 hours of work at the chosen weather forecast office. There the student is assigned a forecaster who oversees a program of instruction for each of the tasks normally performed in the office. Upon completion of the work the student’s progress is evaluated and they receive a higher rating on the national civil service register. In addition, if the student registers for AOS 698 and completes a short paper describing the activity, the student will receive 2 university credits on a credit/no credit system for the effort.
A second type of NWS internship is a CO-OP program of part time employment with the Weather Service. This program is designed as a recruiting program for the Weather Service for targeted employment goals. Most often the program is offered to women and minority students, but is sometimes available to anyone in places where it is generally more difficult to hire. The Alaska region is one such location. In this program the student is actually hired at a GS-4 level at one-half time, and is required to put in at least 1000 hours of work per year. As with the unpaid internship the student is taught aspects of the forecasting job. The student is also given responsibilities as any other Weather Service employee. Upon graduation, the student is already a Weather Service employee and moves on to a regular full-time position. In some cases the CO-OP can be extended to graduate work. As with the unpaid internship, the CO-OP internship enables the student to receive two credits for AOS 698.
Outside the Weather Service, internships (paid or unpaid) can be set up with private forecasting companies, usually television stations. Most often, students can arrange work with a Madison television station. The department has on ongoing agreement with stations which have participated in the past. Students sometimes make arrangements with stations in other areas of the country and are supported by the department when an agreement is reached between the department and that station on the content of the internship. The student can also receive the two academic credits for approved internship work of this type if the agreement is worked out with the forecasting company. These internships are an excellent opportunity for the student to get into broadcast meteorology as usually there is an opportunity to practice in front of cameras and make that video tape of on camera presence which is very important in obtaining television jobs.
An internship can only be taken once for academic credit, but can be taken as many times or places as the employers make opportunities. Internships are encouraged to give the student a flavor for the lifestyle and type of work that the different types of employment offer. This sometimes helps the student decide on their long-term education goals.
For more information contact the Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences Department Office at 608-262-2828.