Average Astronomers in the United States make around $97K annually. For the most part, Astronomers enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. Male Astronomers are far more common among survey respondents than their female counterparts, who typically comprise less than one-third of the field. This report is based on responses to the PayScale salary survey.
Job Description for Astronomer
Astronomy is the science of examining the cosmos and using applied physics and mathematical formulas to attempt to explain, classify, discuss, and offer explanations about the universe. Astronomers use a variety of high-tech, sensitive instruments to measure the location and movements of objects in the sky. They typically create purely scientific observations about their findings, which other branches of science put to applied use.Read More...
Most astronomers will find work in academic or research settings. These settings allow an astronomer to have access to the kind of advanced observation technology required by modern astronomy, and they also allow these scientists to work with and collaborate alongside others in the field. Typically, research teams in astronomy work closely with observatories, or they work at academic institutions with access to observatory data. These observatories can include powerful imaging telescopes for studying the sky, as well as radio telescopes that go beyond the reach of standard observation equipment.
To work as an astronomer, typically a person must have at least a bachelor's degree in astronomy. Many scientists possess post-graduate degrees in the field or a similar disciplines within applied physics. Most astronomers work in office and laboratory settings. They typically must be very fluent with computers and be able to communicate findings in written format. An astronomer may normally work regular hours of the week, but the need for night sky observation can lead to irregular overnight hours as well.
- Calibrate, maintain, focus, and use equipment and associated software.
- Compile, update, maintain, and add metadata to data sets.
- Analyze celestial data and present results in a variety of formats.
- Create visualizations and interfaces to enable usage of data.
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Pay by Experience Level for Astronomer
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Workers with less than five years' experience earn around $97K on average. It may be worth noting that those who have five to 10 years under their belts see a lower median salary of $86K. On average, Astronomers make $89K following one to two decades on the job. Professionals who achieve more than 20 years of experience generally enjoy cushy salaries; their median compensation sits in the ballpark of $114K, a plump six-figure sum.