Many know that a career in the stars is more than just a childhood dream. Sure, it’s rooted in staring at the stars and having a proficiency in technical subjects such as mathematics, but it’s a long-standing journey of manifesting a job that you love.
What does the field entail?
Astronomy is mainly about observing outer space, organizing and analyzing data and developing and testing theories. Many astronomers are also researchers, thus their job entails a research process similar to other fields of science. Writing and following through with research proposals often requires much time and energy, and excitingly, travelling to new places.
Astronomy is extremely exciting in what is treated as the subjects of interest: ranging from vast and very distant galaxies to the smallest particles at extreme temperatures. This makes astronomy a rather niche field. Through your research of positions available in the field, expect high competitiveness.
“However, with developing research technology and a greater interest in outer space, astronomy will grow significantly in the next decade – great news if you are an aspiring student,” says Chester Collier, recruiter from UK Top Writers and Boom Essays.
What do people need to study to enter the field of astronomy?
Since astronomy is such as niche and competitive subject, most have respectable PhDs. This is backed by a high-achieving education past throughout high school and college. Place importance on choosing subjects such as physics and maths, as well as chemistry and other sciences to understand the scientific process with ease.
In college, follow in the steps of other astronomers and aim for a degree in either physics, astronomy or astrophysics. All the degrees will contain physics, though astrophysics, as the name implies, is a combination of the studies of both astronomy and physics. You will learn lines of study topics such as electromagnetism and quantum mechanics in much detail. Impress your lecturers and professors to ensure excellent references.
After attaining your bachelor’s degree, the decision to apply straight for graduate school or work in an observatory as a technician or research assistant is up to you. Either way, these are the two best next steps for you to choose from.
“Note, the educational journey into astronomy is a slow one. Give yourself around a decade of study before expecting to get a respected position in the field,” says George Rasmussen, career adviser at Academized and Revieweal.
Postdoctoral temporary positions at observatories and research institutions will allow you to conduct research you may be interested in and gain a sense of reputation. Other places that are great ideas to work at include universities, government agencies, laboratories and the private industry where more in-depth research is often conducted.
Overall, the educational institution is a popular destination for aspiring astronomers who have finished their own education. This will facilitate those looking for their next steps to develop specific interests and routes into the field that were not previously obvious.
Benefits of being in the field
This is a satisfying, gratifying and impressive field to work within. Whether an astronomer is an active researcher, an assistant, a technician or so on, all positions involve interacting with far away stars and nebulae and comets and so on. Those dreams you had in childhood will follow you through to adulthood and you won’t grow tired of your occupation.
There are only about 6000 professional astronomers in the whole continent of North America. This means you will quickly gain a reputation and will work alongside other great astronomers. You will have the broad choices of working in either the business or private industries, as well as working for impressive institutions such as national observatories and government laboratories. If you ever want to broaden your career, there are many related occupations that you can take your degree to, such as in science museums and planetariums.
Understanding that astronomy is vast will help you to understand that getting into it is complex. It takes time, dedication and much, much effort. On the other side, there is great satisfaction in being on the forefront of cutting-edge research that influences the minds of the whole human race in recognizing our place in the universe. Good luck on your journey.