Space Sciences

The term 'space scientist' includes someone in any of the science jobs conducting work involving the Earth's atmosphere and beyond. Some of these jobs include astronauts, engineers who design rockets and satellites, and meteorologists. In this field, many jobs are also available with the federal government or teaching at schools or universities. Depending on your career plans, a bachelor's or a doctorate degree in space science can be a plus; degrees in fields such as physics, mathematics, or astronomy can also be useful. Like with many science careers, computer skills, as well as writing and presentation skills, are important to possess. Several exciting career paths for those interested in space sciences are described below.

One of the most exciting jobs is that of an astronaut. A limited number of positions are available in any country that has a space program. Pursuing a career as an astronaut requires an advanced graduate degree, and most astronauts have masters or doctoral degrees. Being an experienced pilot is also important, although in rare cases having an extensive background in other science fields can be sufficient. Those wanting to pursue a career as astronauts must meet stringent physical fitness criteria. Competition for astronaut positions is extremely tough, and only the most exceptional candidates are accepted. Further information is available on the NASA website.

While astronauts are the most publicly visible space scientists, a large on-the-ground staff makes space missions possible. Most notably, engineers in this field are responsible for designing spacecraft, as well as space stations and vehicles. In addition, they also design technology that affects our daily lives, such as satellites for weather detection and lightning-fast communications. Some of the types of science jobs available for engineers interested in space science include those in spacecraft engineering, telecommunications, aeronautics, robotics engineering, and avionics and instrumentation.

There are also plenty of employment opportunities for scientists across multiple scientific disciplines in the space sciences. Biologists, chemists, physicists, geologists, meteorologists, and astrophysicists can all contribute their research skills to both designing the technologies and research plans for conducting space missions, as well as applying research to improve technologies used on this planet.

Space Sciences

Finally, technologists and technicians usually work closely with the engineers and scientists in all stages of developing and testing various space technologies. Multiple science jobs are available for skilled technologists and technicians. These include electricians, laser and radar technicians, satellite technologists, computer aided design (CAD) operators, and quality assurance specialists.

In addition to careers investigating phenomena that occur in Earth's orbit or beyond, space science jobs are available in the area of atmospheric science. These scientists study the atmosphere's physical characteristics and the ways in which they affect our environment. Forecasting the weather, as well as identifying and interpreting climate trends, is part of what these space scientists' job, and the findings can be applied to air pollution control, agriculture and forestry, and the study of trends in the Earth's climate such as global warming and ozone depletion.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports top employment for space scientists by entities ranging from the federal government to colleges and universities to radio and broadcasting companies. Employment for these scientists is expected to grow through 2018, with candidates possessing graduate degrees facing better prospects than those with a bachelor's degree. For those planning a career in teaching subjects related to space science, ample teaching opportunities should be available as well.