If you have a huge interest in space technology, you might be dreaming of a job at NASA. Even though this may be the primary space research and exploration part of the US government it is not always an organization that offers a ton of job opportunities any more.
Basically NASA is a scientific entity and has a strong emphasis on all kinds of engineering disciplines. However, their non-science roles are generally outsourced which means they aren’t subject to the actual NASA hiring practices. Plus, NASA is a federal agency and the majority of hiring will take place through the USA Jobs interface. With budget cuts however, hiring has really dropped since the heydays of the 1960s and 1970s.
About 60% of NASA’s overall workforce which would include administrative staff like accountants, along with true engineers. There are highlights on meteorology, computer science, aerospace and biology. If you have an engineering degree it could be helpful. However, often NASA will train people to be specialized in ways they are more needed.
Then there is 24% of the workforce that most of their administrative needs of the entire agency. These jobs would include IT roles, budget specialists, general administration and public affairs. These kinds of jobs are very similar and have the same duties you might find in any organization. They also have administrative support jobs that are considered lower on the pay grade due to the lower hiring requirements. Many of these kinds of jobs are entry level and will include clerks, secretaries, procurement and other general office type of workers. About 7% of their employees do this level of work.
When it comes to technicians they can offer scientific and engineering roles for NASA. These types of jobs will usually require some level of certification and is said to take up about 9% of the workforce at NASA. A lot of these jobs would be engineering, meteorology and electronics.
Then there are trade persons and laborers. Just like any other company or organization, NASA too will need those who are skilled in different trades or workmanship. Even though they do tend to outsource a lot of this workforce they still do employ 1% of electricians, model and instrument makers a long with maintenance and are actually on the NASA payroll.
As for being an astronaut. As children many dreamed of being one, however the truth be known, astronauts make up the smallest fraction of NASA’s workforce and aren’t even considered regular NASA employees. They are recruited from the Astronaut Candidate Program. Even though anyone can apply being accepted is extremely rare. You need degrees in math, engineering and science and having a pilots background is also desirable. On top of that then the candidate has to pass extremely grueling, physical tests.