Aren't jobs in astronomy scarce? (Intermediate)

I really love astronomy, but I'm afraid I won't be able to find a job after I graduate!

The job search as an astronomer is no more difficult than that for other fields looking for similarly sought after jobs. Almost all astronomy graduates find employment soon after graduating either to continue their education, produce research, teach, or something completely different. It's true there are few jobs specifically in astronomy such as professors or researchers but there are also few people trained to be in these positions. This ends up balancing out to similar competition for many other jobs in other areas.

The best advice we can give is to follow the educational path you are most passionate about because it will lead you to the most enjoyable job. Majoring in astronomy might actually be a better choice if you aren't centain what you'll like to do later on. In terms of finding a job outside of academia the education you will recieve as an undergraduate in an astronomy program is in very high demand in other fields. Complex problem solving skills are the main focus of an astronomers education and it has been shown that this skill is one of the most important traits employers look for. Studies also have shown that employers agree problem solving skills are more important than the applicants choice of major as an undergraduate.

Link to one study: https://www.aacu.org/press/press-releases/employers-more-interested-critical-thinking-and-problem-solving-college-major

Here are the most up to date statistics on astronomy graduates: https://www.aip.org/statistics/graduate

This page gives the most up to date data on employment of astronomy undergraduates: https://www.aip.org/statistics/reports/astronomy-initial-employment

This page was last updated on February 10, 2016

About the Author

Jack Madden

Jack is a second year Cornell astronomy graduate student who works on modeling exoplanet atmospheres with Professor Lisa Kaltenegger.

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