Astronomy is a subject that’s enjoyed by many people all over the world, whether it’s as a hobby or as a career. For the latter, it’s an extremely diverse profession that comes with a long list of jobs and requirements. If you’re here, chances are you are considering a job in this particular field – at least, you are interested to learn more about what’s involved and required. Well, that’ll be my job here today.
So, is it hard to get a job in astronomy? It is considered relatively hard to get a job in astronomy. It requires a dedication to your studies and a long-term vision for your future career that’s unwavering if you want to succeed.
But what kind of education do you need, and what jobs are even available or open to you in the field of astronomy?
Let’s find out, shall we?
What Do You Need to Be Able to Apply For a Job As an Astronomer?
It all starts with your education, and most positions as an astronomer require at least a doctoral degree to even be considered. The requirements may change depending on the position, but it’s a good starting point if you’re looking at pursuing the profession yourself.
Outer space can be an exhilarating subject that’s easy to be enamored with, but to make it your full-time job, it takes quite a bit of work.
It isn’t a profession you can just walk into without any kind of previous experience.
It’s a very technical career and entails a lot of math, science, physics, and a range of other related subjects.
You’ll also want to put a substantial amount of effort into your studies as your history with schooling may be reviewed.
A majority of entry-level jobs in astronomy pertain to research and development (R&D), which could include researching the laws around the structure of astronomical objects.
The work can also lean heavily towards analyzing data regarding observations, scientific papers, and the information that our satellites provide.
Taking your studies a few steps further could potentially land you in different areas of the astronomy profession, as a master’s or bachelor’s degree could open up a few more opportunities.
Like many other industries, once you have your foot in the door, you’ll have the chance to work your way in a positive direction, but it’s important to be laser-focused on exactly where you’d like to end up in your career.
It also doesn’t hurt to have a few good references on hand.
Even if being an astronomer isn’t everyone’s top career choice, you’re bound to face several other candidates for any position in this field.
With a stellar resume and thorough information on your education and training, you can be well-suited for a wide range of positions as an astronomer.
You may also want to consider that you could end up doing work that may not be ideal in the long run, but it could be a stepping stone in the right direction in your field.
No matter where you end up as an astronomer, the work you do is vital to the progression of our collective knowledge in that field.
What Jobs Can You Do As An Astronomer?
You have a number of avenues when it comes to a career path as an astronomer. Various job titles include science journalist, technical writer, computer programmer, meteorologist, planetarium director, observational or theoretical research, and more.
Although being an astronomer can be pretty technical at times, a lot of it has to do with studying and researching our universe.
It can be an exciting profession, and at times, it can be rather frustrating as the universe is known to be full of surprises.
How you end up in these various positions depends on what you study in school and the various prerequisites that may be needed to be considered as a candidate.
Being an astronomer is a commitment that takes patience, and if you stick to it, you’ll undoubtedly go through many changes in your career that lead you to where you want to go.
For astronomers, their daily workspace generally includes lots of research and analysis, as well as administrative tasks.
Of course, you can easily work your way into a position that requires observation if staring at the night sky is more your thing.
Observation work can be rather exciting as you’re guaranteed to see many beautiful celestial objects, but it’s also a line of work that requires a decent amount of traveling.
With the world’s largest observatories being spread out across the globe, you could end up traveling to Hawaii, Chile, Europe, and more.
Regardless of what job you land as an astronomer, everything you do on a daily basis has a purpose in the field of astronomy.
The jobs you’ll come across in this field can vary greatly, so it’s best to keep an open mind throughout your career as your interests in astronomy might fluctuate.
Although school can prepare you for a long list of jobs in astronomy, finding your particular niche may take a little trial and error.
Finding your first position can be a daunting task, so it’s always a good idea to use the resources available to you in college to be as prepared as possible once you have your degree.
How Do I Get A Job As An Astronomer?
You have multiple routes to choose from when looking for a job as an astronomer. This could include participating in a postdoctoral fellowship and applying for open positions at observatories, space agencies, or in the aerospace and computer science industries.
In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to apply for a job, as websites such as LinkedIn and Indeed make it easy to browse for available jobs.
Then again, there will be many positions that aren’t openly listed on job sites, so it’s always best to do your research on the exact position you’re looking for.
A postdoctoral fellowship is great if you’re looking to work your way into academia, as it can provide the experience you need to eventually become a professor.
You can find yourself in a research position at a university if you have a Ph.D., and it’s a flexible line of work as you can take it to many different places in the world.
It also isn’t uncommon for astronomers to teach at a university, but this will require either a master’s degree or a Ph.D. to be qualified.
When it comes to viewing everything our universe has to offer, working at an observatory is your best chance at getting a close look at celestial objects. Whether it’s in person or online, you can easily apply to observatories that are looking for astronomers to provide their expertise. Astronomers also have the opportunity to work with the public, as tours and exhibits can be fairly common.
Putting your best efforts into play is essential if you want to stand out from the crowd, so creating a resume and writing a cover letter that makes an impression will always be helpful.
No matter what, there’s no point in hesitating, as your schooling will make you more than an ideal candidate for many different jobs in the field of astronomy.
Another way you can find a job as an astronomer is by visiting conventions which are pretty common all year long in many parts of the world.
Are Astronomy Jobs In Demand?
This is a bit more convoluted than a yes or no, as many astronomers are relatively dependent on the amount of funding that’s received from the government to continue their research. Factors such as this are bound to cause fluctuations in the astronomy job market, but this doesn’t mean astronomers aren’t in demand.
Astronomers are in high demand across a wide range of industries that may not directly pertain to outer space.
From positions such as research assistant, technician, engineer, computer science, and more, astronomers will always have a career path available.
Some professionals in this field move to different job titles over time, as some positions can be precursors to their end goal.
Depending on the type of degree you hold in astronomy, this can have an effect on which jobs are looking for your particular skills.
Like any job market, the field of astronomy will go through ups and downs that can affect the availability of jobs at any given time.
Areas such as research require a substantial amount of funding, and if funding is lacking, this can put a damper on the potential number of jobs in this category.
Even if you find it difficult to find a job at the moment, you can rest assured that there’s always something available for an astronomer to get a hold of.
Opportunities are vast in this field, but if you’re persistent, you can set yourself on the right path to the career you want.
Is Astronomy A Stressful Job?
Although being an astronomer can be stressful at times, most professionals find it entirely worth it can be a very rewarding career. Considering how many different jobs are available for astronomers, you can expect some to be more stressful than others.
A lot of the stress may come from the required workload, while some jobs may put a significant amount of pressure on deadlines.
Those who are truly passionate about astronomy will be more than happy to take on the stress, and reaching the high points this career path has to offer can be a breath of fresh air.
Even if any profession can be stressful at times, astronomy is widely regarded to be one of the least stressful jobs, among others.
There are tons of other career options that can cause an immense amount of stress, yet astronomy doesn’t seem to really compare.
Working as an astronomer is a passion for most people who go down that route.
Part of what makes the profession so rewarding is the fact that it offers endless amazing and new discoveries that bring excitement to those who truly love their jobs.
If you’re looking into astronomy as a profession, it may come with its fair share of challenges, but it isn’t the most stressful job on the planet.
Always remember that some jobs within astronomy can come with more pressure than some others, and you really should vet which job may be right for your particular interests.
There are also some events that rely on an astronomer’s expertise to find an answer, and many work with the government to ensure our safety in our solar system.
Preventing doomsday events may not be an active issue, but it’s still something many astronomers watch closely because, in reality, someone has to.
Debris from outer space comes in contact with Earth all the time, and it’s possible that one of these celestial objects could cause a significant amount of damage upon impact.
In any case, astronomers are needed to track and report on these objects long before they get anywhere near our atmosphere.
You can see how this might be relatively stressful as humanity relies on such experts to keep them aware of these potential events.
Alternatives To A Job In Astronomy
Most people who have a degree in astronomy are likely to pursue a future as an astronomer, but if a shift in that career is ever needed, there are plenty of other jobs available where astronomy can be applied.
Some alternatives that you can find are engineering, programming, and even public outreach, which entails connecting with people who are interested in the field of astronomy.
Public outreach can be satisfying for experts in the field of astronomy as they get the chance to educate others on what they know.
Many people are more than excited to learn about current and past events in outer space.
Public outreach can span from teaching, training, hosting planetarium shows, seminars, and even providing their knowledge to museums.
There’s a lot to consider if you’re looking into a career in astronomy, but the various technicalities you’ll encounter shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your future as an astronomer.
It’ll never stop being a rewarding career, and it has the potential to deliver lifelong gratification through research, observation, and discovery.
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Hey, my name is Chris. I’m a passionate and seasoned astronomer who loves nothing more than observing the night sky. I also love researching, learning, and writing all things Space and the Universe. I created Astronomy Scope to share my knowledge, experience, suggestions, and recommendations of what I have learned along the way while helping anyone to get into and maximize their enjoyment of the hobby.