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HOW TO GET
A JOB AT NASA

Careers, Hiring Process, and Salaries

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is well-known for facilitating the first moon landing in history. NASA continues to pave the way in outer space discoveries, through advanced technology and a highly qualified team. In this article, you’ll learn how to get a job at NASA.

NASA Background

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, is America’s independent government agency in charge of the civilian space program and space research and exploration. They work with in-house staff as well as contractors from a variety of fields and have around 17,000 people in their ranks.

NASA explores space to advance our knowledge about Earth, our Sun, our Solar System, and other astrophysics subjects such as the Big Bang. If you’re wondering how to get a job at NASA, this guide will walk you through the process.

What’s It Like to Work at NASA

Employees generally agree that NASA offers a good work environment. Below you’ll find information on how NASA employees feel about working at NASA, as well as the work environment and culture that NASA reinforces.

What Employees Say About Working at NASA

According to reviews on Indeed, present and former employees say there’s a strong family atmosphere and a good team environment at NASA. Employees feel welcomed and they enjoy a good work-life balance. NASA also offers learning opportunities to its staff.

Some of the criticisms include having to frequently work away from home and feeling like contractors carry the majority of the workload. Many former and current employers agree that the salary and benefits could be improved, and complained that it’s difficult to attain long-term employment with NASA.

NASA Work Environment and Culture

Employees agree that NASA offers a welcoming environment and fosters a sense of camaraderie. They get to learn the latest technologies and see historic remnants of rockets, spacecraft, and space stations. Indeed reviews also concluded that NASA is generous with letting their employees be exposed to tools that are at the forefront of science.

There are times, however, that the work is slow, which creates an uneventful environment. Plus, reorganizations can happen unexpectedly. There are also bureaucratic barriers, and there have been instances when projects are canceled because of insufficient funding.

NASA Careers

NASA Careers: Job Requirements,
Salaries, and Descriptions

NASA requires staff members for a variety of roles, many of which usually require a background in STEM fields. Most positions require leadership, critical thinking, technical, teamwork, and soft skills, as well as relevant work experience.

Information Technology Specialist

Salary: $122,530 to $172,500 per year

Level: Mid-level

Minimum Experience Required: One year experience with providing technical support during IT Security Assessment and Authorization (A&A) audits and ability to lead a small team

Education Required: No educational qualification is required.

As an information technology specialist, you will lead your team by executing strategic IT solutions to increase mission success. You will also be responsible for managing the development and implementation of security policies. In addition, you are expected to develop and update IT system security plans and evaluate the security impact of changes.

Supervisory Computer Scientist

Salary: $156,235 to $172,500 per year

Level: Mid-level

Minimum Experience Required: One year of experience providing technical guidance, research, and development of advanced technology solutions, and advanced instrumentation for research and development

Education Required: Must have an ABET-accredited engineering degree, such as a bachelor’s degree in physical sciences, mathematics, computer science, or life sciences

As a supervisory computer scientist, you will use your computer science expertise to provide technical leadership, project management, and strategic oversight to the Autonomous Systems and Robotics (ASR) area. You are expected to be on top of creating requirements for development and research proposals and pursuing new business opportunities.

Supervisory Computer Engineer

Salary: $122,530 to $159,286 per year

Level: Mid-level

Minimum Experience Required: One year of experience offering technical leadership and supervising designs and hardware development for spacecraft avionics

Education Required: Must have an ABET-accredited engineering degree, such as a bachelor’s degree in physical sciences, mathematics, computer science, or life sciences

As a supervisory computer engineer, you provide administrative and technical supervision to your team. Moreover, you determine the best strategic objectives for the organization. You are also responsible for overseeing branch products like flight data systems, flight data technologies, radiation effects, testing, and environmental analysis.

Aerospace Engineer (Flight Systems Design)

Salary: $105,224 to $136,791 per year

Level: Mid-level

Minimum Experience Required: One year of experience doing integration and modification of aircraft and aerospace flight systems and expertise in applying flight control systems

Education Required: Must have an ABET-accredited engineering degree, such as a bachelor’s degree in physical sciences, mathematics, computer science, or life sciences

As an Aerospace Engineer (Flight Systems Design), you are responsible for ensuring flight safety of aerospace avionics through validation and verification. You’ll also be in charge of flight test support and you are expected to integrate flight systems onto aircraft to ensure mission objectives and goals.

Electronics Engineer (Sensors and Transducers)

Salary: $48,978 to $73,731 per year

Level: Mid-level

Minimum Experience Required: One year of experience assisting on the development, design, and layout of circuits for components of aerospace applications

Education Required: Must have an ABET-accredited engineering degree, such as a bachelor’s degree in physical sciences, mathematics, computer science, or life sciences

The work of electronic engineers focuses on the research, design, development, simulation, and testing of transducers and sensing devices. These components are needed for aerospace research and development endeavors.

Electronic Instrumentation Engineer

Salary: $105,224 to $136,791 per year

Level: Mid-level

Minimum Experience Required: One year of experience in utilizing and applying instrument products and test equipment

Education Required: Must have an ABET-accredited engineering degree, such as a bachelor’s degree in physical sciences, mathematics, computer science, or life sciences

As an electronic instrumentation engineer, you will support centers that focus on high-risk atmospheric flight research and test projects. You are responsible for creating instrumentation systems that will obtain flight data to achieve missions. In addition, you will gather project requirements through trade-study, design, and fabrication efforts.

Cybersecurity Standards & Engineering Branch Chief

Salary: $128,078 to $172,500 per year

Level: Senior

Minimum Experience Required: One year of experience in leading the design and implementation of cybersecurity solutions and capabilities

Education Required: Must have an ABET-accredited engineering degree, such as a bachelor’s degree in physical sciences, mathematics, computer science, or life sciences

As the branch chief, you will provide technical leadership and solutions for complicated, controversial, or pressing matters in collaboration with other scientists, engineers, and high-level officials. You are expected to be an expert in solving very complex engineering problems related to the analysis, implementation, and operation of new information technologies.

Computer Engineer

Salary: $105,224 to $136,791 per year

Level: Mid-level

Minimum Experience Required: One year experience with information technology systems and proficiency in electrical and electronic systems for building controls and data collection systems

Education Required: Must have an ABET-accredited engineering degree, such as a bachelor’s degree in physical sciences, mathematics, computer science, or life sciences

As a computer engineer, you will be handling operational technology, facility data, and digital controls. In addition, you will be assisting project managers in following NASA’s cyber security products. You will also be handling automated building, utility controls, and data collection systems.

Space Scientist

Salary: $125,197 to $162,753 per year

Level: Mid-level

Minimum Experience Required: One year experience of evaluating technical information related to astromaterials and expertise in making recommendations for integrating data

Education Required: Must have an ABET-accredited engineering degree, such as a bachelor’s degree in physical sciences, mathematics, computer science, or life sciences.

As a space scientist, you lead research and analysis. You will be responsible for advising, administering, coordinating, monitoring, and performing portfolio research. You will also be the subject matter expert and consultant to NASA management, mission, and scientific community.

Program Specialist

Salary: $132,822 to $172,500 per year

Level: Mid-level

Minimum Experience Required: One year experience providing administrative management support for the organization’s programs, program reviews, and business operations

Education Required: No education qualification required STEM-related

A program specialist is expected to plan, develop, and solicit innovative technologies to achieve NASA goals for successful commercialization. This role also involves several administrative duties and requires excellent organization skills.

How to Get a Job at NASA

How to Get
a Job at NASA

NASA hires new staff frequently, and they maintain a job board on their website which is updated regularly. They need experts from a variety of STEM-related fields, although there are also many non-technical career opportunities. If you’re interested in working with NASA, make sure you check their board regularly.

Is It Hard to Get a Job at NASA?

Yes, it can be hard to get a job at NASA. You can land your dream job there with the right degree and required experience. However, NASA receives an overwhelming number of applicants per open position, so you need to be ready to demonstrate that you are the right person for the job.

How to Apply For a Job at NASA: NASA Hiring Process

You can apply to jobs at NASA through third-party websites like LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, or other job boards. You can also go to their website to check for available positions and apply through USAJOBS, the official US federal government employment site.

1

Create a USAJOBS Account

The first step is to create an account in USAJOBS. Create a profile that stands out by showcasing your educational background and work experience. Make sure that your writing is concise and to the point. Include other relevant details, such as internships or extracurricular projects that are related to the position.

2

Search for Jobs

The second step is to find suitable jobs that you wish to apply to. Check the job postings in USAJOBS. Make sure that you click the right filter to see which NASA jobs are open to the general public. You can save searches based on your criteria and get an alert when there is a new job available.

3

Submit application

Once you find a position for which you have the necessary qualifications, you can submit an application. Click the apply button and attach your resume and cover letter, which will automatically go to NASA’s application system. You can check out the NASA Applicant Eligibility Questions Resource Guide to help you in this process.

4

Application Review

The fourth step is to wait for NASA’s review. After completing your end of the application process, NASA will look at your undergraduate education, professional experience, eligibility, and skills to determine your suitability.

5

Interview

The fifth and last step is to get interviewed by the hiring manager. The interview could be one-on-one or in front of a panel. It can also be in-person or via Zoom. For some positions, you might need to go through several rounds of interviews. Once you get the position, NASA will contact you about the following steps.

What Should I Study to Get a Job at NASA?

Technology and engineering are at the core of Google’s operations. If you want to get a job at Google, it’s a good idea to get a degree in a subject like computer science, engineering management, computer engineering, information systems, or software engineering. More senior roles may require a postgraduate degree.

Google is not entirely about technology. They need individuals who can monetize and market their products, and provide business insights. They have open positions for analysts, program managers, strategy and operations, and public relationships. To land a job on their Business team, you’ll typically need a business or marketing degree.

Can a Coding Bootcamp Get Me a Job at NASA?

Yes, coding bootcamps can help you land a job at NASA. Bootcamps can help you maximize your skills and equip you with the tools for specific positions, such as software engineers. Bootcamps take less than a year to finish and can help train you in computer science fundamentals, javascript, and application design and development.

How to Get a Job at NASA FAQ

Is Getting a Job at NASA Easy?

It’s not easy to get a job at NASA because of the volume of applications and the thorough screening process. With that said, it is not impossible to land a job at NASA. Just make sure you have the right educational background, skills, and knowledge, to qualify for a position.

Can I Work at NASA Without a Degree?

Yes, there are job openings at NASA for which you can apply without having a degree. For these positions, what matters most is that you have relevant work experience. Not having a degree only excludes you from scientific and technical positions.

How Long Does it Take to Get Hired at NASA?

Usually, the hiring process will take 45 to 60 days from the time that the position closes or from the time that you applied. However, the time frame varies based on the role, amount of applications, and urgency to fill the position.

Can I Work for NASA if I’m Not American?

No, you can’t work at NASA if you’re not an American citizen. It is a requirement that you are a citizen of the United States of America to get hired by NASA and become a civil service employee.

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