Careers

If you are interested in space, there are lots of different careers out there. One of them will be right for you. You could be an astronaut! You could explain orbits to primary school children! You could use satellites to study climate change on Earth!

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What are you interested in?

In this section we’ve highlighted different interests you may have and the space careers that could be a good fit. Most jobs in space involve having a background in Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths (STEM), but there are many paths into these careers.

Of course, if you choose not to follow a career in this area, that doesn’t mean that you can’t stay involved. Amateur astronomers look at space as a hobby rather than a career. Many discoveries from amateur astronomers lead to the expansion of our knowledge of the cosmos. If you’d like to see what you can do to get more involved, we’ve got a few suggestions for you!

Your career path

Although there are many ways to end up with a career in astronomy or space, most people follow a common path.

Astronomy is about the physics of the Universe - the way stars and galaxies work. It is an unusual science because it deals with extremes. From massive galaxies to tiny atoms. Temperatures ranging from millions of degrees in the centre of a star to 3 degrees above absolute zero in the vacuum of space. So, astronomers need to understand lots of different bits of science.

Therefore, at school it is important to get good qualifications in physics and maths, it could also be useful to know some chemistry.

You usually need a degree in either astronomy or physics to become an astronomer. Since astronomy contains a lot of physics, many universities now offer degrees in astrophysics, which combine both. 

As astronomers do research, they need to have a lot of knowledge and experience. Most will have two or more degrees; as well as your first, "normal" degree, you would then go on to get a Doctorate or PhD. This is where you begin to do research of your own and specialise in a certain area of astronomy.

Once you have your PhD, you can then look around for a job as a professional astronomer. Astronomers work in all sorts of places including universities, observatories and space-agencies. Astronomy is popular all over the world. Most astronomy groups are made up of people from many different countries and backgrounds.


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