Today, who is not familiar with NASA? NASA has evolved into a scientific analogy. Any sci-fi movie without a mention of NASA is hard to recall. This blog is for you if you are a science enthusiast doing a BSc or MSC or enrolled in an IISER or NISER and want to work for prestigious space agencies like ISRO, NASA, ESA, and others.
In blog we will tell you:
- Why join NASA?
- How to get into NASA after your BSc, MSc, or BS-MS from any normal college or after IISER/NISER?
- What are the entrance exams and procedures to get into NASA?
- And finally, what salary do you get working at NASA?
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is a space agency that works on a broad range of space exploration missions and research projects.
According to a report by the Migration Policy Institute, Indian immigrants make up a significant proportion of the highly skilled workforce at NASA.
The advancements and opportunities in space science always attract bright young minds. Suppose you are passionate about astronomy and space sciences and want to work on ground-breaking projects like Apollo, Voyager, Artemis, or DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test), etc., or you may want to do some research across earth science, planetary science, heliophysics, and astrophysics to answer some of the most profound questions facing humanity. In that case, you must consider aiming for NASA.
NASA after IISER/ NISER
Getting into NASA is highly competitive, and you will be competing against hundreds of bright engineers and aspiring scientists. Work on your presentation and communication skills. It will help you clear interviews and advance your scientific career. Participate in such activities at your colleges. Improve problem-solving skills. You should have a keen eye for detail, as even a minor error in space technology can cause a significant problem. You should be able to pay attention to small details and work carefully to ensure accuracy.
Space technology is a fast-evolving field, and you should be able to adapt to changes and learn new skills quickly. IISERs and NISER are not technical institutes like IITs, so learning some technical skills is advantageous. Maintaining a strong network is very helpful. You can do this by going to industry events and conferences, making connections with people who work at NASA or in related fields, and looking for mentors who can help guide and support you.
Maintain a good CV throughout your degree. Keep your grades good in relevant subjects (physics, chemistry, mathematics, earth sciences, etc.). Take part in various space-science-based competitions, seminars, workshops, exhibitions, Olympiads, reading projects, and internships. This will help you get more information about ongoing projects at NASA and get in touch with the experts. Learn various software and programming languages. It is important to update your CV regularly. Choose relevant courses outside of your curriculum to learn more and make your CV more interesting.
To be admitted to NASA, you must be a US citizen (Green Card holder) and older than 16 years. In order to be eligible for working at NASA as a non-U.S. citizen, you must have the necessary work authorization to work in the United States, such as a student visa or employment authorization document. Additionally, you may need to meet certain security and background check requirements.
NASA has a program called the Pathways Program, which offers three different ways to begin working with them. If you get into the program, you’ll be able to get paid work, learn the skills you need, and make the connections and experience you need to hopefully get a job with NASA.
- The NASA Pathways Intern Employment Program is for current college students or for people who have been accepted into a qualifying educational program. You need to keep an eye on their website for regular updates on the vacancies. You can apply for physics,engineering,Social Sciences,Administration and Program Management & Analysis,Accounting & Budget,Communication & Public Relations,Math & Statistics, and Information Technology. All of the fields have different eligibility criteria which can be found here.
- NASA Pathways Recent Graduates Program (RGP) provides individuals with the opportunity to participate in a career development program at the beginning of their careers. If your application is accepted, you’ll be placed into a 1-year career development program or evenmore.To be eligible, you must have graduated from a qualifying educational institution within the last two years, unless you are a qualifying Veteran. If your ability to apply was delayed due to your military obligations, you may apply within 6 years of graduating or after having received a qualifying educational certificate. It’s better to keep visiting USAJOBS for regular updates on vacancies.
- The NASA Pathways Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF) is for individuals who have recently completed advanced graduate course work. Individuals who are accepted are immersed in an intensive leadership development program which can place them on the fast-track to important government positions and careers. If you’ve received your qualifying advanced degree within the last two years (or if you are on course to finish this year), you may be eligible to apply to be a fellow. On successful completion of the program, you may be converted to permanent employment or term employment of up to six years at NASA.
- If you’re interested in becoming an astronaut and working at the International Space Program, you can apply for the Astronaut Candidate Program. The program is highly competitive and typically only a small number of candidates are selected out of thousands of applicants. To be eligible for the program, candidates must be U.S. citizens and have a bachelor’s degree in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) field, or an equivalent degree. Some degrees which may make you eligible for other work with NASA will not qualify you to become an Astronaut Candidate (eg.Nursing,Technology, and/or Aviation). Candidates must also meet certain physical and health requirements, such as having 20/20 vision or corrective vision that can be corrected to 20/20. If accepted, you’ll be assigned to the Astronaut Office at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, where you’ll spend approximately two years training intensively and being evaluated for your suitability as an astronaut.
Being one of the most prestigious organisations in the world, NASA gives a good salary to its employees. Salaries for NASA employees depend on various factors such as job title, level of experience, and education. Salaries also vary depending on location, as cost of living can differ significantly between different areas of the country. The starting salary for a new hire with a Bachelor’s degree is typically in the range of $47,016 to $71,764 per year, depending on the specific job and location. Salaries for employees with more experience or advanced degrees can be significantly higher. For example, the salary for a project manager is in the range of $79,000 to $160,000 per year. Additionally, NASA employees typically receive a range of benefits and perks in addition to their salary, such as health insurance, retirement savings plans, and paid time off.
Getting into NASA is a tough task. It is important to explore their official website and keep checking for updates regularly. A strong network plays an important role in doing so. You need to be an expert in multiple fields and have a lot of patience, dedication, and persistence. Your chances of success will go up if you work hard to get relevant experience and skills. If you want to know about other job opportunities after BS-MS from IISER/NISER check out other blogs on our website.