NOAA/National Weather Service's Chief Learning Office United States Department of Commerce
Commerce Learning Center

General Information on PDS

The Professional Development Series (PDS) is a concept adopted by the National Weather Service to provide a framework for its training program. Each PDS corresponds to a specific job responsibility and describes and defines what is means to perform competently for that job responsibility. The concept helps NWS personnel to focus on what they should be able to do. The PDS document combines both scientific and technical understanding with professional skills and techniques. Each PDS series is based on developing a performance capability to support user products and services. Each PDS is composed of a series of Professional Competency Units (PCU) which describe specific job duties. The PCU document has several components:

  • Description of the job duty competency to be achieved
  • Description of need for the job duty
  • Specific job duty skills and knowledge
  • Instruction components
  • Evaluation measures
The basic idea behind the PDS concept is that individuals with a specific job responsibility (PDS) can, for each associated job duty (PCU), easily find training resources (instructional components or ICs) to help bring his/her performance of that job duty up to a sufficient level. The delivery methods used for each IC can vary from residence courses to virtual courses/teletraining to web-based instruction.