Astronomer at a Glance

Projected Job Growth

  • +0% Job Growth for

  • 2013
  • 2023

Average Salary for Astronomer

  • $0 Annual Pay
    National Average
  • $0 Hourly Pay
    National Average

Best States for Astronomer

in 2011
Annual Salary
Hourly Pay
Maryland 460 $114,860 $55
District of Columbia 160 $99,120 $48
Hawaii 90 $103,260 $50

Becoming an Astronomer

Astronomers need a Ph.D. for most research positions. Earning a bachelor's degree in astronomy or physics can prepare you for a master's and doctoral program in astronomy. Given the nature of the field, the required lab work, and necessary access to sophisticated equipment such as telescopes, there are few, if any, accredited bachelor degree programs in astronomy or astrophysics.

Students should look for a bachelor's degree program that provides opportunities for professional research, as this is something potential employers will want to see as a part of a candidate's resume. Some typical classes one may take in a bachelor's of science in astronomy or astrophysics degree program include:

  • Introduction to Space Sciences
  • Scientific and Technical Communication
  • Calculus
  • Thermodynamics, Kinetic Theory and Statistical Mechanics

Astronomers with a Ph.D. begin a professional career with short term jobs called "postdocs" that typically last two years. During each postdoc, they continue doing research and publishing papers in order to establish a reputation in their field. After several postdoctoral appointments, an astronomer can advance to a faculty position at a college or university or a position at a research institution.