Astronomer Career

astronomer-500Astronomers study the ways that different forms of matter and energy react with one another. If you become a theoretical astronomer, you may study heady topics like the nature of time or the origin of the universe. You might spent time developing scientific theories and models that try to define properties about celestial bodies. You could then come up with scientific experiments to test your different theories.

Astronomers study planets, stars and galaxies, using ground-based equipment like radios and optical telescopes as well as space-based equipment like the Hubble Space Telescope. Some astronomers will develop a career around research on particular objects like the sun or one of the planets in our solar system. Others may study distant stars, galaxies, and black holes.

Astronomer Career Snapshot

Most astronomers work at colleges or universities, scientific research and development companies, or for the federal government. If you select this career, you would probably work full-time.

Further details on a career as an astronomer are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average yearly salary for astronomers.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have Post-Doctoral training while 20% have a Doctorate.

Astronomer Education

If you become an astronomer, you will most likely need a lot of education. The majority of astronomers have post-doctoral training. Many have earned a doctorate or a master’s degree as well.

Astronomer Job Duties

Some typical things you might do as an astronomer include writing proposals and grant applications to fund research projects. You might work with complicated math calculations to analyze astronomical data to research distant solar systems. Astronomers may help invent new equipment like lasers or computer software to analyze data. If you become an astronomer, you might have to write papers for scholarly journals or present your research findings at scientific conferences.

Astronomer Salaries

If you become an astronomer, you can expect to earn around $104,100 with the lower pay range around $52,460 according to May 2015 data from Top astronomers can earn upwards of $166,320.

Astronomer Job Outlook

The job outlook for astronomers is positive with an expected growth rate of 3 percent from 2014 to 2024. Part of the reason for this growth is that the federal government will continue to fund research in astronomy, especially at colleges, universities, and national laboratories.

Astronomer Skills & Traits

Astronomer Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Astronomers:Typical Work Activities:
• Science
• Active Learning
• Critical Thinking
• Reading Comprehension
• Mathematics
• Deductive Reasoning
• Inductive Reasoning
• Mathematical Reasoning
• Near Vision
• Oral Comprehension
• Calorimeters
• Radarbased surveillance systems
• Spectrographs
• Spectrometers
• Telescopes
• Working with computers
• Getting information
• Analyzing information
• Creative thinking
• Processing information

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