How to Get a Job at NASA: Requirements and Interview Prep

Landing a job at the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is a dream come true for job seekers. This definitive guide will teach you everything you need to know about how to get a job at NASA.

NASA’s competitive salary, passion for innovation, and comprehensive benefits package makes working at NASA lucrative. Because it’s so well-known, NASA has high standards of recruitment. In this article, you’ll learn about how to work at NASA as well as the company background, application and interview processes, as well as available opportunities.

NASA Background 

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is a United States government agency that practices outer space exploration, science, technology, and engineering. It was founded in 1958 in reaction to the Soviet Union launching the satellite Sputnik.

NASA conducts scientific research to help us learn more about our planet. These studies help create new developments in space exploration. There are plenty of NASA projects in international space to help advance human life. 

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is constantly reinventing itself to further support space exploration. It develops and produces quality aircraft to constantly set new records. 

How to Get a Job at NASA: Application Requirements

An astronaut floating in space.
Researching NASA’s projects and goals is important when learning how to get a job at NASA.

Even though there are lots of opportunities to apply, it’s still difficult to get a job at NASA. If you want to get a job at NASA, you need to have high academic qualifications and diverse experiences. NASA employs more than just astronauts. There are engineers, scientists, human resources specialists, writers, technicians, IT specialists, and more. 

There are plenty of benefits to working at NASA. As an employee, you will be eligible for health insurance, compensation, retirement plans, and many career development opportunities. 

How Hard Is It to Land a Job at NASA? 

It can be hard to land a job at NASA, but it is not impossible. They have a rigorous hiring process that only admits the best candidates, so it may seem as if it is hard to get a job at NASA when you first apply. This guide will tell you what to expect in the application and interview process. If you’re active and passionate in your field, you can get your dream job. 

NASA hires individuals with varied academic and practical experience. Additionally, it emphasizes soft skills and builds a cohesive team. Good employees need to become exceptional employees to be considered.

What Are the Requirements to Work at NASA?

The requirements to work at NASA vary depending on the position you apply for. At a minimum, NASA prefers candidates to have a bachelor’s degree in the field they are applying for. 

Apply for any open positions on USA Jobs, the US Federal Government’s website for hiring new employees. There are plenty of full-time, short-term, or seasonal positions at NASA. You can also apply for an internship or a fellowship.

Before you start the application process, you will need to prepare your resume and cover letter for your interview. You should also check that you have any other relevant documents. The company leans towards applicants who have degrees from accredited universities and valid professional experience. The requirements to work for NASA are not typically negotiable, but NASA will take prior experience into consideration for certain positions.

What Degree Do You Need to Work at NASA? 

A bachelor’s degree is required to work at NASA. This degree should be from a field related to the position you are applying for. For example, if you are interested in applying for an engineering position, you should have a degree in the engineering field with a specialty that matches the job you are applying to. 

How to Prepare for the NASA Interview 

Before you show up to your interview, it is important to prepare for it. The more successful an interview, the more likely you will be a finalist for the position at NASA. Below we have outlined how to prepare for a NASA interview.

Research the Position

Before entering your interview, you should have a deep understanding of the position you applied to and what will be expected. Research the position on NASA’s website to gain more insight into the expectations, history, and goals of the position.

Bring Your Resume

Do not assume that the interview team will have your resume on hand. Always bring your resume and portfolio with you to an interview. Not only does it show the interview team that you are organized, but it also shows them that you are serious about acquiring the position. 

Dress to Impress

When interviewing for any position, it is important to dress in a professional manner. A person’s appearance is the first impression in an interview. Keeping this in mind, select clothing to match the job. If you don’t look professional, it could appear as if you are not serious about acquiring the position.

Perform a Practice Interview

Before attending an interview, it is often helpful to take part in a mock interview with a friend or family member. An objective audience can help critique your weaker answers and provide you with feedback before the interview. Not only will this help you prepare for the interview, but it will also provide you with a confidence boost for the big day. 

Review Common NASA Interview Questions

Research common NASA interview questions online before the day of your interview. These questions will give you insight into the skills and information you may need to brush up on in advance. Use these common questions in a mock interview environment to practice crafting the most impressive answers. 

What’s It Like to Work at NASA?

NASA is one of the most sought-after employers in the world. It attracts thousands of eager applicants every day. Employees get to create revolutionary projects and benefit from comprehensive packages. Here’s what it’s like to work for NASA.

High Standard of Achievement

There are always new projects that are interesting and challenging at the company. The best solutions for any issue are created through a collaboration among experts from diverse fields. It is well known that NASA hires only the best candidates. 

Professional Advancement

The working environment at NASA is defined by constant development. NASA centers are a source of scientific breakthroughs and new inventions. Depending on your position at NASA, you may play an important role in history.

Diversity and Inclusivity

NASA is an equal-opportunity employer that welcomes talent and skills from around the world. There are experts from almost every country who apply to work there. Instead of emphasizing status, NASA emphasizes talent.

Your Work Makes an Impact

NASA focuses on innovations in space, disaster response, medical research, and more. These innovations and achievements are often seen as cornerstones for economic growth, business growth, and technical growth around the world. The impact of each project is felt worldwide and is extremely important for the advancement of everyday life. 

Continued Education is Encouraged

Individuals employed at NASA are encouraged to continue to learn and grow. Growth can be achieved through hands-on projects, additional curricula, or mentorship within NASA. NASA provides all employees with continued education opportunities and provides courses and mentorships to upskill. 

NASA Careers: Job Titles and Descriptions

Two engineers working at NASA.
Working at NASA entails dedication, adaptability, and a passion for learning.

There are a variety of jobs at NASA for qualified applicants in different STEM fields. The available positions change regularly depending on NASA’s needs. Below we have outlined some of the most common positions available at NASA.

Aerospace Engineer

  • Required Experience: One year of directly related specialized experience equivalent to the GS-14 level
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, Physical Science, Mathematics, Life Science, Computer Science, or a related field

Aerospace engineers develop technology that is used in aircraft, defense systems, and spacecraft. Engineers can specialize in a variety of fields, such as aerodynamic fluid flow, structural design, navigation, guidance, and control, instrumentation, communication, propulsion, combustion, and robotics.

A wide range of technology is designed by aerospace engineers, including commercial and military airplanes, helicopters, rotorcraft, spacecraft, satellites, and military missiles. A typical aerospace engineer is either an aeronautical engineer or an astronautical engineer. 

Electrical Engineer

  • Salary: $91,803
  • Required Experience: Minimum of five years
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering or equivalent

Electrical engineers at NASA design, test, and develop electrical equipment and systems for various aircraft. Your bachelor’s degree should be from an accredited engineering program. A bachelor’s in computer science or life science and mathematics will suffice. Every qualified applicant will be subjected to a background investigation. 

Mechanical Engineer

  • Salary: $79,077 
  • Required Experience: Minimum one year
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering

This position is available in the Optics Branch of Mechanical Design. You’ll be responsible for designing mirror assemblies and test support equipment. You will also be in charge of designing and modeling mirror assemblies.  

Recruitment managers will assess your knowledge extensively. You will be tested on project management, optical systems, mental visualization, and teamwork. You must have experience in GS-13 for one year in the physics of optical systems. 

Computer Engineer

  • Salary: $134,875
  • Required Experience: One year of related experience
  • Required Education: Master’s Degree in Engineering

Computer engineers collaborate with NASA’s lead engineers to design, code, develop and build software applications. They also create interface solutions that help support NASA’s spacecraft and mission control instruments. Petabyte-scale datasets must be used to create these systems.

Computer engineers will also integrate enterprise data and algorithms into models and software components. Candidates should be comfortable with integrating multiple complex applications with interdependencies and deploying resulting systems at sites worldwide. 

Aerospace Technician

  • Salary: $129,074
  • Required Experience: One year of related experience
  • Required Education: Associate Degree in Engineering Technology or related field

Aerospace technicians will collaborate with other engineers to discuss detailed test procedures and implications for spacecraft systems. These technicians will be responsible for building aircraft systems and test facilities. Computer calibration and aerospace maintenance are also required.

After building spacecraft, aerospace engineers will undergo intense monitoring of the new spacecraft. These engineers will perform hundreds of intense tests and calibrations to ensure the spacecraft is performing optimally and prepared for launch. 

What Does It Take to Get a Job at NASA? 

Understanding what it takes to work at NASA is the first step to a successful application. To get a job at NASA, you have to have extensive experience in your field. NASA is a leading company in exploring the extraordinary. Its main focus is in aeronautics, space, and aerospace programming. There are plenty of opportunities available to you, as long as you do your research.

NASA employs the best in every field to help achieve its objectives. For you to be hired by a world-class company, you need to have a unique set of abilities and experiences. The company checks for integrity, teamwork, and excellence in individual and organizational behavior. 

Exactly how hard is it to get a job at NASA? Due to the sensitive nature of the job, you need to be ready to go through the process. The company takes on projects of complexity and national priority. You need to showcase your abilities, skills, level of education, and experience to land a job here. If your dream is to get a job at NASA, you can work hard and earn it.

How to Get a Job at NASA FAQ

Can you work for NASA without experience?

If you want to partake in an internship or mentorship program, you can work at NASA without experience. Generally, NASA prefers at least one year of experience in a related field before hiring a new candidate.

How many employees does NASA have?

According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission NASA currently has 17,330 permanent employees. NASA also has a part-time work force. This number is reported to be around 1,341 employees as of 2022.

How much do you get paid to work at NASA?

Ther average salary for NASA employees is $94,000. Every position’s pay rate varies based on education, experience, and title within NASA. To gain a better idea of specific NASA job salaries, it is best to review job listings on NASA’s employment portal.

Is NASA a government job?

NASA is a US Federal government agency, and therefore is classified as a government job. NASA was introduced in 1957 in response to the Space Age and has been under Federal jurisdiction since its creation.

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