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Professional Development

The NASA Safety Center (NSC) offers professional development opportunities to equip Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) community members with the knowledge, skills and tools they need to do their jobs with confidence and credibility. Those opportunities include discipline support, NASA’s SMA Technical Excellence Program (STEP), topical lectures and webinars, and other learning tools.

Educational tour

The NSC also fosters world-class SMA for NASA programs and projects by working to improve the state of seven disciplines that represent the core of NASA SMA.

Discipline Support

The NSC’s Technical Discipline Team Leads provide discipline support and expertise, actively building and participating in working groups and communities of practice for these technical disciplines:

  • Aviation Safety
  • Operational Safety
  • Reliability and Maintainability
  • Quality Engineering
  • SMA Technical Leadership
  • Software Assurance
  • System Safety

SMA Technical Excellence Program (STEP)

STEP, NASA’s university for SMA, is a career-oriented learning program that goes beyond a technical education. Through STEP, SMA professionals strengthen their expertise in their disciplines while earning Continuing Education Units. The program is designed for all SMA civil servants and contractors. New employees gain basic knowledge through STEP Level 1 and then develop specialized expertise through STEP Levels 2, 3 and 4 certification. Meanwhile, senior personnel broaden their knowledge by seeking certification or taking individual classes.

Available on SATERN, STEP allows learners to work at their own pace. Courses can be taken 24/7, in the office, at home or while traveling. Learners who have professional or technical certifications can get credit for some STEP courses based on prior training.

Webinars and Lectures

The NSC creates opportunities for employees to learn directly from some of the nation’s leading SMA authorities with webinars and lectures that feature speakers from NASA, other government agencies and private industry who share their expertise and provide discipline knowledge.

Applications for SMA Professionals

The NSC offers applications designed to help strengthen the key SMA disciplines. These include an SMA catalog in SATERN (NASA’s Learning Management System), which provides a collection of hundreds of courses, lectures and webinars for SMA professional development; and the My STEP application, which serves as a home base for participants’ SMA learning journeys.