Join Pete as he soars through the possible career options for students pursuing a degree in astronomy and astrophysics in the new installment of, “What can I do with THAT degree?”
If you’re thinking of a career in astronomy, you’ll want an answer to “what can you do with an astronomy degree”
You may be a dreamer with a brilliant mind. You want to soar to the moon, stars and beyond. With a degree in astronomy and astrophysics, you can do just that! But the thing about astrophysics is that it’s an observational, not experimental, science. With only a few exceptions like meteorites, we can’t actually touch the objects that astronomers study.
Astronomers and astrophysicists depend on gamma rays, x-rays, ultra violet rays, visible light and other forms of radiation to see what’s going on in space. Pretty cool, huh? They study planets, stars, galaxies and the universe as a whole, including how these originate and evolve over time.
But what exactly can you do with your degree in astronomy (or astrophysics) once you graduate? Well, let’s explore!
What can you do with an astronomy degree? The first thing you can do is go to graduate school and earn your master’s and Ph.D. in something related to space sciences. It’s usually a good idea to get as much education and research as possible in the sciences.
A cool career in astronomy or astrophysics … become an astronomer or astrophysicist
What can you do with an astronomy degree? After earning more education, you can become an astronomer or astrophysicist. Astronomers may study the nature of time or the origin of the universe, and they may either work in observatories or laboratories, and it’s primarily focused on research and observation. In applied fields, astronomers may observe space debris that may endanger satellites, or develop new technology for the military. They also may develop new sources for harnessing energy. Sounds like a fun job!
A cool career in astronomy or astrophysics … become an observatory director
What can you do with an astronomy degree? You could become an observatory director. Observatory directors are supposed to observe, research and interpret astronomical phenomena to increase basic understanding of the universe, or apply that knowledge to solving problems. These guys measure incoming radiation emissions from extraterrestrial sources, raise funds for scientific research, develop theories based on their research, review research papers and proposals and serve on panels and committees related to space sciences.
A cool career in astronomy or astrophysics … become a professor
What can you do with an astronomy degree? Is theory more your thing? You could be a professor of physics or astronomy and make great strides in research. Professors have the privilege of teaching students about their major, helping them discover their passion and learn how to learn, as well.
A cool career in astronomy or astrophysics … become a theoretical astrophysicist
What can you do with an astronomy degree? You could also grow your own passion by becoming a theoretical astrophysicist at a university. Theoretical astrophysicists usually are professors that work at a university, mainly because it’s easier to receive funding for research projects when affiliated with an institution. These are the thinkers, the ones that ask questions about the universe and attempt to answer them. Some say that it’s less about how things work, and more about interpreting data. Theoretical astrophysicists have the benefit of exploring new theories entirely and discovering new things.
Where can you find a cool career in astronomy or astrophysics …
Well, there you have it in a nutshell! That’s just a bit of an answer as to the question, what can you do with an astronomy degree? You can work at colleges, observatories, planetariums or space science centers like NASA, and pursuing your passion can make for a very rewarding career in science.
Best of luck and happy job hunting!
Pete the Panther
Chief Motivating Officer