$104,100 AVG. SALARY
1.4% UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
Physicists and astronomers study the ways in which matter and energy interact. Both theoretical physicists and astronomers may study the nature of time or the origin of the cosmos. Astronomers work in a highly specialized field that explores the nature of celestial objects, the earth’s atmosphere and a number of theories about the development of the universe. They study celestial phenomena, using a variety of ground-based and space-borne telescopes and scientific instruments and analyze research data to determine its significance, using computers. They also measure radio, infrared, gamma, and x-ray emissions from extraterrestrial sources. Astronomers develop theories based on personal observations or that of other astronomers and they may also work to raise funds for scientific research. Physicists and astronomers spend much of their time working in offices, but they also conduct research in laboratories and observatories. Most physicists and astronomers work full time.
Physicists and astronomers typically need a Ph.D. for jobs in research and academia. It is possible to acquire an online degree in astronomy and astronomer/physicist jobs in the federal government typically require a bachelor’s degree in physics. After receiving a Ph.D. in physics or astronomy, many researchers seeking careers in academia begin in temporary postdoctoral research positions. Those with a master’s degree in physics may qualify for other positions in applied research and development for manufacturing and healthcare companies. Many master’s degree programs specialize in prepping students for physics-related r&d (research-and-development) positions that do not require a Ph.D.
Many physics and astronomy Ph.D. holders who seek employment as full-time researchers begin their careers in a temporary postdoctoral research position, which typically lasts 2 to 3 years. During their postdoctoral appointment, they work with experienced scientists and continue to learn about their specialties or develop a broader understanding of related areas of research. Senior scientists may carefully supervise their initial work, but as these postdoctoral staffers gain experience, they usually perform more complex tasks and have greater independence in the work they do.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- Harvard University
- University of Cambridge
- Stanford University
- University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
- University of Oxford
Distance Learning astrology degree programs
- Northern Arizona University
- American Public University
- University of North Dakota
- University of Florida
Top paying metropolitan areas for this occupation:
Washington D.C. – Avg. salary $131,320
Los Angeles, California – Avg. salary $118,750
Houston, Texas – Avg. salary $117,590
Boulder, CO – Avg. salary $115,400
Tucson, AZ – Avg. salary $91,020