How to Become an Intern at NASA

By Phill Powell

Who hasn’t dreamed of becoming an astronaut? Good news: NASA has internship opportunities for teens in grades 9-12.

Teen interns at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston experience zero gravity. (Image: NASA)

At NASA, teen interns get to do all kinds of cool, incredible things…like experience weightlessness firsthand, study the chemistry involved in mineral recovery efforts, help test-fly NASA Droids, work on cutting-edge aerospace development and more.

NASA is made up of many departments and programs at individual space centers and Air Force bases – and there are internship opportunities available at most of them! Plus, NASA’s internship opportunities are not limited to one area or type of agency work.

Many Opportunities, One Application
The OSSI (“One-Stop Shopping Initiative”) program gives intern applicants a way to submit a single application that is considered across NASA’s entire network of locations and programs.

Interns from NASA’s INSPIRE program tinker with supercool Droids at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif. (Image: NASA)

NASA’s internship website (or OSSI) is web-based and teens only need to submit one application to be considered for all opportunities at NASA. Here are some things to keep in mind when considering applying for a NASA internship:

  • What You’ll Need: Applying for an internship at a federal agency like NASA can be complicated. Before applying for a NASA internship, be sure to check the OSSI site regarding what you’ll need to provide during the application process. Those items include proof of U.S. citizenship and a letter of recommendation. Students will also need to furnish school transcripts.
  • Minimum Grade Point Average: NASA requires that applicants being considered for internships carry at least a 3.0 grade point average in their regular schoolwork. Some NASA opportunities require an even higher GPA.
  • Notification of Selected Candidates: Applicants who are chosen for internships receive an email notification about their selection, through the OSSI system.
  • Key Deadline: Once an applicant is sent the email containing the internship offer, the clock starts ticking. The applicant has to reply to the message and notify NASA they intend to accept the offer within five business days, or the offer expires.

In this video, a student talks about her experience in NASA’s intern program. (Video: NASA)

Set Your Sights On the Future
NASA encourages young people’s interest in space exploration. Digital Media Academy has a space camp that inspires kids passion for science and space.