Rotating Question Curious About Astronomy? Ask an Astronomer

How much money do astronomers make?

I hear that astronomers don't make a lot of money. What is the salary like?

According to the American Institute of Physics the average salary for a Physics PhD. was about $78,000 in 2000. A post-doc right out of graduate school is about $36,000 a year in physics. Salaries for astronomers are comparable.

2005 Update by Karen. In 2004, the equivalent numbers were a typical salary of $60,000-$100,000 for a Physics PhD, and typical salary $35,000-$42,000 for a post-doc right out of graduate school. You can find these numbers yourself on the AIP statistics website, where they should be updated once a year.

In other words, if your plan is to become a rich astronomer, you should probably reconsider. If you're a smart person, you can make a lot more money in another career that is just as challenging and interesting as astronomy. The only reason to do astronomy is because you're totally in love with it. If you aren't, you'll be miserable . . . and you won't have a lot of money to console yourself.

January 2002, Karen Masters (more by Karen Masters) (Like this Answer), Britt Scharringhausen (more by Britt Scharringhausen) (Like this Answer)

Still Curious?

Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:

More questions about Careers in Astronomy: Previous | Next

How to ask a question:

If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.

Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist

URL: http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=23
This page has been accessed 107784 times since April 29, 2002.
Last modified: May 24, 2005 3:32:03 PM

Legal questions? See our copyright, disclaimer and privacy policy.
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.

Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)