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This NASA Dream Job Could Help Send Your Career into Space

how to work for nasa
Zahi Tarzi, left, Julie Bellerose, center, and Duane Roth, right, of Cassini's navigation team watch data come in from the spacecraft during its final plunge into Saturn, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. Photo courtesy Joel Kowsky of NASA

Houston, we have a dream job alert.

Did you grow up with aspirations of becoming an astronaut? Of course you did — we all dreamed of being launched among the stars at one point or another, à la Starman in a Tesla Roadster.

You probably didn’t achieve that goal, but that’s OK because we might just have the next best thing: You can be the person who sends those astronauts to space and makes sure they make it back home safely.

How to Work for NASA

NASA is on a mission to hire a new fleet of flight directors to work at the famous Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Flight directors oversee missions as the leader of the flight operations team. You will be making decisions that ensure a mission goes smoothly and safely.

Sounds simple enough, right? Not so fast.

This is a fast-paced, high-stress job, and a flight director’s decisions have a huge impact. They need to keep a level head in a crisis situation.

The job listing states, “The Flight Director’s responsibility for leading the flight operations team and making decisions can have ultimate consequences for human lives and multi-billion dollar commercial and international space assets.”

So if you get stressed in the line at Starbucks trying to decide which latte to get, this isn’t the job for you.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: You probably need a doctorate in astrophysics or previous experience working at NASA, right?

Wrong! Those are common misconceptions about flight directors. Many flight controllers have gone on to become flight directors, but it’s not a requirement.

As far as education goes, NASA requires you have a bachelor’s in engineering, physical science, mathematics, life sciences, computer science, or any other other related field of science.

That being said, candidates are required to have pretty extensive professional experience. Here are some of the job listing’s qualifications:

  • “Technical leadership with expert knowledge of spacecraft and launch vehicle design and operations”
  • “Demonstrated leadership including comprehensive knowledge and experience required to accomplish the integration of ground, crew and spacecraft capabilities”
  • “Leading people including experience with managerial practices and principals”
  • Experience in “building professional relationships with other organizations at the Center, Agency, International, and with Commercial Crew/Cargo entities to achieve mission goals”

Candidates must also be a U.S. citizen to qualify.

Did you read these requirements and think “Hey, that’s me!”? Then you should definitely apply for this stellar job and do it soon — the application period ends April 17.

Oh and if you’re curious how much these mission control flight directors make, the job listing says it’s a cool $117,736 to $153,057 per year. And as a Penny Hoarder, I feel obligated to point out the obvious: That is A LOT of pennies.

Kaitlyn Blount is a junior staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. If you claim you didn’t get Elton John’s “Rocket Man” stuck in your head while reading this, you’re lying.

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