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Highest Paying Astronomy Jobs of 2021

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In the year 2020, the US budget allocation for space exploration was $22.629 billion. This figure is higher than that of the previous year’s budget. That being said, we can only project more growth in the country’s expenses for space exploration, which is enough assurance that Astronomy jobs are steadily on the rise. 

If you have a science degree with an emphasis on Astronomy, the great news is that Astronomy jobs usually pay well. Below are some of the best-paying Astronomy jobs you can find this year:

Technical Writer

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, technical writers earned an average salary of $72,850 in 2019. This amount varies depending on your area of specialty. Still, suppose your main focus is on Astronomy. In that case, you can expect your earnings to be at par and even more than the national average for technical writers, especially those in the senior position.

If you have a degree in Astronomy and love writing, this career path is ideal for you. Astronomy technical writers are responsible for drafting research and grant proposals, peer reviews, and written critique of studies conducted. 

Even the most knowledgeable astronomer can experience productivity issues when doing technical writing. Check out Writing Productivity Habits from Skill Success to streamline your writing process. 

Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in Astronomy or any related field with emphasis on Astronomy, technical writing experience

Professor

As per BLS, post-secondary educators earn an average annual salary of $79,540 in 2019. If you have a love for teaching, you can opt to use your Astronomy degree in teaching as the degree alone already qualifies you for this job. 

Astronomy professors may teach a wide variety of subjects depending on their research specialty. These subjects include cosmology, biophysics, observational astronomy, and physics education. Apart from teaching, they also conduct research programs with the use of university resources and research facilities. Some Astronomy professors may also head a department.

Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in Science, Doctorate Degree

Curator

Planetary directors have an average annual salary of $97,336 as of January 2021, according to Indeed.

Astronomy curators, also known as planetary directors, are in charge of planetariums or museums that specialize in Astronomy. Planetary directors have strong leadership skills and are well-known in the aerospace industry because of their strong connections with the said community.

Curators facilitate and supervise museum exhibitions. They also direct other museum personnel in the security and proper handling of artifacts. As such, they are often Astronomers with established careers, a strong passion for science, and extensive expertise to guide a museum’s mission.

Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in Astronomy or Physics, most directors have Master’s or Doctoral degrees.

Meteorologist and Climatologist

According to BLS, meteorologists and climatologists earn an average salary of $95,380 per year. 

Meteorologists study the Earth’s atmosphere to predict weather conditions using mathematical and physical knowledge. They relay their findings to government agencies and other organizations such as broadcast companies.

Climatologists, on the other hand, focus on the long-term weather patterns in certain areas. They identify problems and try to come up with solutions regarding factors that have an impact on weather. These long-term studies are usually within a 30-year period. Climatologists can either work as weather forecasters or inventors of climatology-related tools.

Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in Meteorology or Climatology

Research Scientist

Astronomers who have an innate love for research and science fit well in this profession. According to Indeed, a research scientist in the US makes an average of $111,540 in a year. They are employed by agencies in laboratories to conduct important breakthroughs, which they present in scientific gatherings. They also submit their work for peer review and industry publication.

Educational Requirements: Master’s Degree in Science, Doctorate units

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Aerospace Engineer

Aerospace engineers are the ones behind every space ship, spacecraft, and satellite. These engineers are responsible for building the structure and how these space vehicles function. On top of the spacecraft, they also develop space missions, so they need to have expert knowledge about space exploration. 

Their advanced level of expertise lets them know how the spacecraft react to the gravitational pull of the Earth as well as how they can expect it to function in outer space. Aerospace engineers earn a median annual salary of $116,500, according to BLS.

Educational Requirements: Engineering or science-related bachelor’s degree with advanced math, science, and computer courses

Astronomer and Astrophysicist

Highly knowledgeable in physics, science, and mathematics, astrophysicists analyze objects in space and create theories about them. They test these theories and observe how they relate to the laws of the universe. On top of research, astrophysicists also write grants to fund their research, create scientific presentations, and publish scientific articles for industry publications.

On the other hand, astronomers explore the universe with the help of math and physics. This career is perfect for those who have an innate fascination with the universe and love studying it. There are several specialties in Astronomy. They include the following:

Radio – detecting celestial radio emissions with the use of a powerful telescope.

Solar – the study of the sun within our solar system

Stellar – the study of other stars or suns of other solar systems

Planetary – the study of planets within our solar system and those of other solar systems

Galactic and extragalactic – the study of objects from extreme distances in the universe

Cosmology – theoretical astronomy with the use of previously-gathered data rather than actual observations

According to BLS, Astronomers and Astrophysicists earn an average of $122,220 every year.

Educational Requirements: Masters or Doctorate degree in Astronomy

Patent Attorney

Although a patent attorney’s primary occupation in the field of Astronomy is mainly legal, they are still essential to the astronomy community. As a result, they are very well-compensated, earning a median salary of $155,436 per year, according to Indeed. Patent attorneys represent and assist clients through the patent process for their inventions. This ensures that the inventors have sole rights to their inventions and have the ability to file for oppositions if needed. Patent attorneys regularly communicate with other lawyers, inventors, and scientists regarding patent issues. 

To help you understand basic legal concepts better, take a look at Introduction to Legal Concepts from Skill Success.

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