NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) is known throughout the world as 'Mission Control' and has served as the command center for human spaceflight since 1965. JSC leads at the frontier of human space exploration. We strategically and tactically implement complex human space programs that span multiple agencies and the commercial and academic communities.

We're creating an exciting future developing capabilities for the next generation to explore space, partnering with industry to expand commercial access to space for crew and cargo, and are involved in many other missions exploring earth, the solar system and the universe beyond.

At JSC, you'll have the opportunity to contribute to our continued work of building a new NASA vehicle to enable human deep space exploration, work on the operation and development of the International Space Station in cooperation with our Internal Partners, and work with industry to help foster the commercial space sector. Home to a diverse and innovative workforce of over 3,000 Federal employees, JSC is located about 25 miles southeast of downtown Houston.

What Type of Student is NASA Looking for?

We are looking for students who are:

  • Space fans. Does the idea of exploring the cosmos fascinate you? Our students have a true passion for space and our mission.
  • Collaborators. Our workforce works together to accomplish great things. Open-minded individuals, unified teams, and servant leaders get us there.
  • Learners. We need students who thirst for knowledge and growth. How else do you stay at the leading edge of technology?
  • Tenacious. With any monumental achievement comes challenges and obstacles. Self-motivation, courage, and adaptability are key to our success.


Pathways Info Videos
Life as an Intern
  • Vienny Nguyen

    The experiences that we have shared include not only technical learning on the job but shaped the growth of our college careers and beyond.

  • Wahab Alshahin

    Life as a co-op, how can I describe it? There is only one word that can encompass all that it is be a co-op at JSC and that is... "Indescribable."

Pathways Student Experience

Program Information


Understand the requirements you have to meet to join our team.


Learn about options for scheduling work at JSC within your academic requirements.

Employee Benefits

Discover information about the great benefits of working for NASA!

Program Benefits

Learn about the contributions you can make towards advancements in human spaceflight while you're still in school.

Program Policies

Explore the general guidelines that govern the Pathways Intern Program.


Click here for a list of schools represented by the students in our program.


Yes, other NASA centers have Pathways Intern employement programs for which you may apply. Click here for a list of those centers and contact information for their Pathways Intern Employment programs.

Unfortunately, since we are a federal institution, and are federally funded, we are only able to hire U.S. citizens to work directly for NASA. However, our contractors (companies like Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, and United Space Alliance), may have different policies. You can find a list of these companies and their contact information by visiting http://nasajobs.nasa.gov/.

AWESOME!!! Where else can you drive through the gate in the shadow of a huge Saturn V rocket (the kind that took men to the moon), have co-workers that are also astronauts, or watch International Space Station missions and know that you are a part of making it happen!?! In addition to challenging and meaningful assignments, working at JSC is a lot of fun! Students at JSC both work and socialize together. You will have the opportunity to participate in a number of activities, including:

  • Tours and Lectures will provide you with an opportunity to meet astronauts, engineers, business managers, scientists, and NASA Officials. You'll also get behind-the-scenes tours of JSC's high-tech facilities.
  • Education and Community Outreach will provide you with opportunities to encourage younger students to attend college and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. Our students also organize opportunities to volunteer in the local community.
  • Social Activities, planned by the students themselves, provide an opportunity to develop a close network of friends outside of the work environment. Regular activities include night and weekend activities, lunches, intramural sports teams and more.

For a glimpse of what life is like as an Intern, check out the latest JSC Student video (made by and starring JSC Students), NASA Johnson Style (Gangnam Style Parody)!

The Pathways Intern Employment program at JSC is very well respected. Pathways Interns are given genuine work that has some priority and many are incorporated into existing teams of engineering or business professionals. Many supervisors and mentors were once Pathways Interns themselves, so they know what tasks a student can and would like to complete.

Don't worry! Everyone you work with should completely understand the fact that you're still in school and may not (in fact, probably don't) have all the education you would need to do the project alone. The people working at JSC are extremely helpful, and you'll be surprised how quickly you learn and how much you pick up in a short amount of time. It's true that the first week or two in a new area can be tedious, and you may find yourself with a huge stack of notebooks full of procedures and systems to learn and feel like you're back in school again! But things get exciting soon enough.

The starting pay for Pathways Interns varies depending on the number of academic hours completed toward your degree. Undergraduate Pathways Intern salaries range from GS-4 (General Schedule 4) level for a student with sophomore standing to GS-6 level for students with senior standing. Pathways Interns are promoted on the basis of academic hours completed and performance ratings. Starting pay for graduate Pathways Interns depends on individual qualifications. As a general rule, master's degree candidates are appointed at the GS-7 level and doctoral degree candidates are appointed at the GS-9 level.

One of the great things about being an Intern at JSC is that there are so many other students around. After spending a few days getting to know everyone, we promise you won't be bored. There's always someone to get together with, and Houston is absolutely huge, so there's never a lack of things to do. Interns here do everything--movies, baseball and hockey games, beach trips (sun and sand are less than 30 minutes away!), dinners, concerts, road trips (Austin, San Antonio, College Station, New Orleans), softball with the Astronaut Candidates, skydiving, rock climbing, SCUBA, camping, and more...what else have we forgotten??

Unfortunately, a car is practically a necessity. Some Interns are able to borrow a car from their parents, while others in the past have purchased used cars or taken out a lease. That said though, it is possible to survive without a car. Your best bet is to live close to JSC and be prepared to walk about a quarter-mile to work, or room with other Interns or NASA employees. We probably have one or two Interns per semester that work at JSC without a car.

This is completely up to you. Most Interns spend their first tour living in a house, and this allows you time to get to know the other students and find out who you're most compatible with. Apartments are generally expensive (and unfurnished) if you live alone.

After one tour, some Interns choose to continue living in a house for reasons such as the fact that it's generally cheaper and easier than getting your own apartment, you have full kitchen (if you cook), a washer and dryer for free, and a room "bigger than a closet". It's also nice for those times when you just want your own space. It all depends on who your roommates are. Many Interns love sharing apartments with each other, and wouldn't have it any other way.

It depends on where you work. If you work in Mission Operations, the dress code is generally a little more formal--usually with men in ties and women in skirts or nice pants. Engineering is usually more casual. The best advice, however, is to plan for "business casual" but bring the good stuff as well (if for nothing else than for presentations you may have to make). Wear ties or skirts for the first couple days and look at what the rest of your branch is wearing. Then, just try to fit in.

As for non-work, bring plenty of short sleeve shirts, shorts, and other summer gear. You will need sweatshirts and pants for the November-March period, but heavy winter jackets can be left at home. Houston gets very hot in the summer, especially towards the end of July and August. High humidity is the rule, not the exception.

Some Pathways Interns do, some don't. It's completely a matter of personal preference. As far as work is concerned, we'll supply all the necessary IT equipment.

There is no doubt that there are questions remaining. This FAQ will continue to grow, but it needs your help. What questions do you have? If you think of anything we haven't answered, then email the Pathways Intern Office at jsc-pathways-office@mail.nasa.gov.

We want you to be as informed as possible, so you can make the right decisions throughout. So, let us hear from you. It may take a little time to get the question and answer on this web page, but if you include your e-mail address, we'll reply to you directly as soon as possible.

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