Do Astrophysicists Get Paid Well?

The darkest areas of the map show where astronomy and astrophysics students earn the highest salaries in all 50 states. An official website of the United States government, this is how you know the does gov mean it's official. Federal government websites typically end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you are on a federal government site.

Please enable JavaScript to play this video. Physicists and astronomers study the interactions of matter and energy. They can work in offices, research laboratories, and observatories, and most often work full-time, sometimes more than 40 hours a week. To pursue a career in physics or astronomy, a PhD or D. is usually required for research and academic work.

However, entry-level physicist jobs in the federal government generally require a physics degree. Every year, around 1,500 vacancies are projected for physicists and astronomers, on average, over the course of the decade. Many of these vacancies are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or leave the workforce, for example, to retire. Explore employment and salary resources by state and area for physicists and astronomers. Compare the work obligations, education, job growth and salary of physicists and astronomers with similar occupations. Learn more about physicists and astronomers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations. Theoretical physicists and astronomers can study the nature of time or the origin of the universe.

Some physicists design and conduct experiments with sophisticated equipment such as particle accelerators, electron microscopes, and lasers. Physicists explore the fundamental properties and laws that govern space, time, energy, and matter. They can study theory, design and conduct experiments, or apply their knowledge in the development of materials or equipment. Astronomers study planets, stars, and other celestial bodies. They use ground-based equipment such as optical telescopes as well as space-based equipment such as the Hubble Space Telescope.

Some astronomers study galaxies and distant phenomena such as black holes and neutron stars while others monitor space debris that could interfere with satellite operations. Many physicists and astronomers work in applied research. They use their knowledge to develop technology or solve problems in areas such as energy storage, electronics, communications, and navigation. Others work on basic research to develop theories that explain concepts such as what gravity is or how the universe was formed. Astronomers and physicists often work in research teams with engineers, technicians, and other scientists. High-level astronomers and physicists can assign tasks to other team members and monitor their progress.

They may also need to find and apply for research funding. Atomic, molecular, and optical physicists study atoms, simple molecules, electrons, light, and the interactions between them. Some are looking for ways to control the states of individual atoms because such control could allow for greater miniaturization or could contribute to the development of new materials or technologies. Computational physicists study the use of algorithms, numerical analysis, and data sets to explore the interaction between theoretical and experimental physics. They explore complex phenomena in atoms, molecules, plasmas, high-energy particles; problems in astrophysics; and applied phenomena such as traffic flow patterns ocean behavior; biological dynamics. Materials and condensed matter physicists study the physical properties of matter in new molecules nanostructures or compounds. They study a wide range of phenomena such as superconductivity liquid crystals sensors nanomachines. Health physicists study the effects of radiation on people communities and the environment.

They manage the beneficial use of radiation protect workers from potential hazards posed by radiation. Medical physicists work in health care use their knowledge of physics to develop new medical technologies radiation-based treatments. For example some develop safer radiation therapies for cancer patients while others develop improved imaging technologies for radiant energy such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) ultrasound. Nuclear particle physicists study properties of atomic subatomic particles such as quarks electrons nuclei forces that cause their interactions. Plasma physicists study plasmas a distinct state of matter that occurs naturally in stars interplanetary space artificially products such neon signs fluorescent lights. These physicists can study ways create fusion reactors potential energy source. Quantum information physicists study ways use quantum objects atoms photons probe information processing computing cryptography focus ways use fundamental nature quantum mechanics associated uncertainties. Optical astronomers radio astronomers use optical radio gravitational wave telescopes study movements evolution stars galaxies large-scale structure universe. Physicists can also work interdisciplinary fields biophysics chemical physics geophysics For more information see profiles biochemists biophysicists geoscientists. People who have experience physics astronomy can also become teachers teachers For more information see profiles secondary school teachers higher education teachers. Scientific research development services industry includes national laboratories private federally funded supervised U. S.

UU. Department Energy National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) U. In addition NASA other federal agencies employ physicists astronomers include U. UU. While physics research often requires working laboratories physicists also spend time outside laboratory plan analyze raise funds report research Most astronomers work offices occasionally visit observatories buildings house terrestrial telescopes used observe natural phenomena collect data Some astronomers work full time observatories. Some physicists astronomers work temporarily national international facilities have unique equipment particle accelerators gamma-ray telescopes travel meetings present research results learn advances field Astronomers may need perform observation work during However astronomers usually visit observatories only few times year


In conclusion, astrophysicists get paid well depending on their experience level and location.

The average salary for an astrophysicist is around $100k per year but can be higher depending on experience level or location. Entry-level physicist jobs in the federal government generally require a physics degree but higher level positions may require a PhD or D. Physicists explore fundamental properties laws govern space time energy matter while astronomers study planets stars celestial bodies using ground-based space-based equipment like optical telescopes Hubble Space Telescope respectively. Physicists astronomers often work interdisciplinary fields biophysics chemical physics geophysics while some become teachers secondary school teachers higher education teachers respectively.