How You Can Have an Out-Of-This-World Career as an Astronomer
There are marvels in our universe extending far past than what we can see on earth, and there’s a dedicated team of people working to crack its secrets. On this team is a very important member of the science community called the astronomer – a person who studies the cosmos and the science behind stars and the universe. An astronomer needs a strong background in math and physics to be able to calculate the characteristics and movements behind different bodies moving in space including planets, moons, satellites, stars, and other unknown entities.
Astronomy is largely a standard full-time job with a significant amount of the work happening at night when more of the celestial bodies are more visible. You can expect to work in a team environment on a project that analyzes data, strings together hypotheses, and uses data collected early in the experiment to propose other research topics. To acquire this job, you must attend 5 to 7 years of schooling and earn a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics, as well as having some experience in a post-doctoral research program, which can typically last from 2 to 3 years. Students who succeed in graduating from this strenuous schooling will find a highly rewarding career that will provide stability for the rest of the student’s life.
What are the perks of the job?
If you have a passion for math and science, the perks write themselves out. Other benefits that come with this job is its particularly high median annual salary: a whopping $104,100 as reported in 2015 by according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. When you enter into the astronomy profession, you enter into a job that is always interesting, always fulfilling, and also allows you to do some traveling as you present your findings to international conferences.
What are some of the setbacks?
Some of the setbacks to this career can include the difficult it is to get into. Research institutes want the best astronomers on their team and with a projected growth rate of 3% between 2014-2044, it can be a highly competitive field. As well, it requires many years of very expensive schooling, in-state costs in the U.S. can range from $16,575 to $68,230 while out-of-state can range from $27,735 to $68,230.
How can I grow with this career?
Being an astronomer is a highly celebrated profession and allows you to gain international recognition. You could also win a Nobel Prize for your findings if you excel in your work! There are also other fields you would have the skills for within the scientific community or inspire the next generation of scientific minds with a career in teaching the subject at colleges or universities. Many astronomers also write non-fiction books to present their findings or engage with the literary community as another way to self-promote and earn extra passive income.
That’s all great, but could I be hired for other careers?
Being an astronomer will open up other doors in the scientific community that require a similar set of skills: analysis, mathematics, sciences, etc. As well, you will be qualified for a teaching job in this field after a few extra years in teacher’s college should you choose to work for colleges and universities.
CollegeCalc: “Astronomy and Astrophysics, Other”
Study.com: “Astronomer: Job Info & Career Requirements”