If you want to work at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) one day, you should be aware of two things. The first is that there are a wide variety of jobs at NASA, so you can have a successful career there even if you don’t want to be an astronaut. The second is that competition for these jobs is quite stiff. NASA hires the best of the best, so you’ll have to study hard. Here are some of the college degrees that can help get you there in the role you wish to play.
While NASA needs a lot of workers in addition to astronauts, many who wish to work there do have aspirations of traveling through space. To do so, you will be required to earn a bachelor’s or master’s in civil engineering or another engineering field, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics. Technical support is far away when you’re in space, so NASA needs astronauts who can use and repair technical equipment or work around its absence while on missions far from Earth.
Though they comprise less than 9% of NASA’s workforce, medical doctors play an important role at NASA. It is their responsibility to make sure astronauts are physically and mentally up to the challenge of space travel. Doctors treat astronauts and others who need medical attention and take care of astronauts when they return from space. For this job, you’ll need a doctorate of medicine or doctorate of osteopathy.
While a handful of NASA employees study space from within it, most of NASA’s work happens on the ground. Looking at stars, planets and space phenomena from the Earth requires a bachelor’s degree in astronomy. Astronomers study the skies using powerful telescopes as well as information that astronauts bring back. They then use computer models to test their theories about how space works and to map the skies above us.
Geology helps NASA scientists to understand how the Earth was formed and compare it to the possible formations of other planets. They study rocks, gems and minerals bought back from the moon and in the future may look at rocks and dust from other planets. Geologists also look at photos and images of other planets to determine what they are made from and whether or not they could have supported life. A bachelor’s in Geology is, of course, desired in this field.
Remember that NASA also needs accountants, attorneys, public affairs coordinators, pilots, welders and many others. Some administrative jobs are available, as well, which require only a high school education. A degree, however, is a good way to stand out above applicants who lack this credential. Whatever you want to do there, studying hard and mastering your art are necessary if you want a prestigious career at NASA.