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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)

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