How Hard is it to Get a Job at NASA: A Comprehensive Guide to Job Hunting


Career Consultant & Blog Writer

Published: February 2, 2023 | Updated: February 13, 2024

Are you dreaming of working at NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration? If so, you might be wondering, “How hard is it to get a job at NASA?” Getting a job at NASA is undoubtedly a lofty goal and challenging procedure, but it is not impossible. By acquiring the right qualifications, developing essential skills, and demonstrating your commitment, you can increase your chances of getting a job at NASA.

In this article, we will explore the challenges and requirements associated with securing a job at NASA and discuss the various job opportunities at NASA, the competition for these jobs, and the requirements for getting hired. So buckle up and prepare for an exciting journey into the world of space exploration!

Overview of NASA

Before diving into the job opportunities, let’s briefly discuss what NASA is all about. NASA, short for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is an independent agency of the United States federal government responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research. It conducts extensive research and develops technologies to advance our understanding of the universe, Earth, and space.

Job Opportunities at NASA

NASA offers a wide range of job opportunities across various disciplines. Whether you’re an engineer, scientist, technician, or administrator, there are positions that cater to different skill sets and interests. There are many different types of jobs available at NASA, varying from science and engineering to administrative and support positions. Some of the most common jobs include:

  • Scientists and engineers
  • IT specialists
  • Project managers
  • Support staff (administrative and clerical)
  • Communicators (public affairs and education)

Scientists and Engineers

Scientists and engineers invent a large portion of NASA’s workforce. These professionals work on projects related to space exploration, aeronautics, and technology development. They may perform research, develop new technologies, or manage projects related to the space program.

IT Specialists

IT specialists are in charge of maintaining and developing the agency’s technology infrastructure. They act on a variety of projects, including network design and administration, software development, and cybersecurity.

Project Managers

Project managers at NASA are in charge of leading teams of scientists, engineers, and other professionals to achieve specific goals. They may be involved in the development of new technologies, the planning, and execution of missions, or the management of large-scale projects.

Support Staff

Support staff at NASA joined a wide range of administrative and clerical tasks, including data entry, customer service, and office management. These positions are hard for the functioning of the agency but often receive less recognition than the more high-profile jobs.


Communicators at NASA play an important role in communicating the agency’s work to the public. They act in the areas of public affairs and education, developing and distributing information about NASA’s missions, programs, and achievements.

Entry-Level Positions

For individuals starting their careers, NASA provides entry-level positions that serve as a stepping stone to higher roles within the agency. These positions often require a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and offer a chance to gain valuable experience in the aerospace industry.

Internships and Co-op Programs

One of the best ways to kickstart your journey at NASA is through internships and co-op programs. These programs provide hands-on experience, allowing students and recent graduates to work alongside professionals on real projects. Internships at NASA are highly competitive and offer a unique opportunity to learn from some of the brightest minds in the field.

Specialized Positions

NASA also offers specialized positions that require specific skills and expertise. These roles include astronauts, aerospace engineers, astrophysicists, mission controllers, and more. These positions often demand advanced degrees and extensive experience in the relevant field.

Qualifications and Skills for Getting a Job at NASA

To be considered for a job at NASA, it’s essential to possess the right qualifications and skills. While the specific requirements vary based on the position, some common prerequisites include:

#1. Educational background

Most positions at NASA require at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as engineering, physics, computer science, or mathematics. Higher-level positions may require advanced degrees.

#2. Technical skills

Proficiency in technical skills relevant to the job is crucial. This may include programming, data analysis, engineering design, or specific software proficiency.

#3. Problem-solving abilities

NASA values individuals who can think critically, solve complex problems, and adapt to challenging situations. Demonstrating your problem-solving skills during the application process is essential.

#4. Teamwork and communication

Collaboration and effective communication are vital in a team-oriented environment like NASA. Demonstrating your ability to work well with others and communicate your ideas clearly is essential.

#5. Assessment Tests

NASA requires all applicants to complete a series of assessment tests, including aptitude tests and psychological evaluations. These tests are created to assess the applicant’s abilities and determine if they are a good fit for the agency.

#6. Security Clearance

Many positions at NASA require a security clearance, which is a process that involves a background check and investigation of the applicant’s past. This is to ensure that the applicant is not a security risk and can access sensitive information.

#7. Physical Fitness

NASA requires all employees to be in good physical condition. Some positions may require them to perform physically demanding tasks. This may include working in high-stress or hazardous environments or conducting physical activities such as spacewalks.

#8. Medical Examination

NASA requires all employees to undergo a comprehensive medical examination, which includes tests for physical and mental health. This is to ensure that the employee is able to perform their duties safely and effectively.

#9. US Citizenship

How Hard is it to Get a Job at NASA

Most NASA jobs require US citizenship, as the agency is a government agency and therefore must follow strict security requirements.

Application Process of Getting Hired

The application process for a job at NASA can be rigorous and highly competitive. It’s important to be well-prepared and follow the necessary steps to increase your chances of success.

1. Searching for NASA Job Openings

The first step is to search for NASA job openings. The official NASA website is the best place to find current vacancies. You can explore the opportunities based on your interests, qualifications, and location preferences.

2. Preparing a Resume and Cover Letter

Once you find a suitable position, it’s time to prepare your resume and cover letter. Tailor your documents to highlight your relevant experience, skills, and qualifications that align with the job requirements. Emphasize any previous projects, research, or internships related to space exploration or scientific endeavors.

3. Completing the Application

After submitting your resume and cover letter, you’ll need to complete the application process. This may involve answering specific questions related to the job, providing additional documents, or completing online assessments.

4. Interview Process

If your application stands out, you may be invited for an interview. The interview process at NASA can be comprehensive and may include multiple rounds of interviews, both in-person and virtual. Be prepared to showcase your knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm for the position.

Advantages of Working at NASA

Despite the challenges, there are several advantages to working at NASA that make it an attractive career choice:

  • Cutting-edge research: NASA offers the opportunity to be at the forefront of scientific research and technological advancements.
  • Inspiring missions: Being part of NASA means contributing to missions that have the potential to revolutionize our understanding of the universe and our place in it.
  • Collaborative environment: NASA fosters a collaborative and diverse work environment, allowing you to work with brilliant minds from different backgrounds.
  • Career growth opportunities: Working at NASA opens doors to numerous career growth opportunities within the agency or the broader aerospace industry.
  • Impactful work: Every role at NASA contributes to the larger goal of advancing space exploration and benefiting humanity as a whole.

Ending Words of How Hard is it to Get a Job at NASA

Getting a job at NASA requires determination, perseverance, and a genuine passion for space exploration. While the process may be challenging, the rewards are immense. By acquiring the right qualifications, developing essential skills, and demonstrating your commitment, you can increase your chances of landing a job at NASA. Remember, it’s not just about the destination, but the journey itself. Embark on your path with enthusiasm, and who knows, you might find yourself contributing to humanity’s future in space.

FAQs with Answers about How Hard Is it to Get a Job at NASA

Here are some frequently asked questions with answers about getting a job at NASA:

Question #1: What are the odds of getting hired at NASA?

Answer: The odds of getting hired at NASA are highly competitive due to the agency’s prestigious reputation and the number of qualified applicants. The exact odds can vary depending on the specific job and the qualifications of the applicants.

Question #2: How hard is it to get a job as a NASA scientist?

Answer: Getting a job as a NASA scientist is challenging and highly competitive. It requires advanced degrees, significant research experience, and expertise in a specific scientific field. The competition for these positions is intense, and candidates need to demonstrate exceptional skills and knowledge.

Question #3: How long does it take to get a job at NASA?

Answer: The time it takes to get a job at NASA can vary. It depends on factors such as the availability of suitable positions, the number of applicants, the selection process, and individual circumstances. It can take several months or even longer to go through the application, review, and interview process.

Question #4: What job does NASA hire most of?

Answer: NASA hires professionals in various fields, including engineers, scientists, technicians, administrators, astronauts, and more. The specific job roles that NASA hires most often may change over time based on the agency’s current projects and priorities.

Question #5: How hard is it to get a job at NASA as an engineer?

Answer: Getting a job at NASA as an engineer is challenging but attainable with the right qualifications and skills. NASA seeks highly skilled engineers with expertise in areas such as aerospace, mechanical, electrical, or computer engineering. The competition is tough, and candidates need to demonstrate technical proficiency, problem-solving abilities, and relevant experience.

Question #6: How hard is it to get a job at SpaceX?

Answer: Getting a job at SpaceX, like NASA, is highly competitive. SpaceX is a private aerospace manufacturer and space transportation company known for its innovative approach to space exploration. The company seeks talented individuals with a strong passion for space. Candidates should have the required qualifications and skills specific to the position they are applying for.

Question #7: How to get a job at NASA as an engineer?

Answer: To increase your chances of getting a job at NASA as an engineer, it’s important to obtain a relevant engineering degree and gain practical experience through internships or research projects. Networking within the aerospace industry, staying updated on NASA job openings, and tailoring your resume and cover letter to showcase your engineering skills can also be beneficial.

Question #9: How to get a job at NASA as a scientist?

Answer: To pursue a career as a scientist at NASA, it’s essential to obtain advanced degrees in a scientific field such as physics, astrophysics, planetary science, or Earth science. Building a strong research background, publishing scientific papers, attending conferences, and collaborating with other scientists can enhance your chances. Networking with professionals in the field and actively searching for NASA research positions are also important steps.

Question #10: How to get a job at NASA as an astronomer?

Answer: To increase your chances of getting a job at NASA as an astronomer, it’s important to pursue a Ph.D. in astronomy or a related field. Gain research experience, publish papers, and attend astronomy conferences. Building a strong knowledge base in observational techniques, data analysis, and astronomical instrumentation can make you a competitive candidate for research positions at NASA.