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How to become an Astrophysicist

Astrophysicists study a variety of forces and phenomena, including matter, space, time and energy, to try and understand how they interact with each other and physical objects (such as planets and stars). They try to explain things we don’t yet understand, and work with other scientists to develop new technologies.

If you have a mind for maths, are curious about the world around us, and want to answer questions about the universe, this could be the job for you.

 

About you:

 

  • Excellent problem solver
  • Curious and analytical
  • Great maths skills
  • Passionate about science
  • Dedicated and hardworking
  • Good communicator
  • Can work in teams and alone
  • Good with technology

 

The job:

 

  • Developing research methodologies and techniques
  • Investigating the structure and properties of matter
  • Studying the relationship between matter and energy
  • Performing tests and experiments
  • Recording and analysing data
  • Supervising technicians and lab workers
  • Working with other researchers and scientists
  • Writing scientific reports and papers

 

Lifestyle Impact: Low

 

  • Part Time opportunities: Low – only around 12% of Astrophysicists work part-time (source: gov.au).
  • Average hours for full-time workers: 43 hours a week, which is average (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Astrophysicists’ salary (median) $79,000* per year (source: ato.gov.au). *Salaries vary depending on your skills and experience.
  • Future career growth: Moderate (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Most of your work will likely be done indoors, in offices and laboratories, though there may be some opportunity for field work too.

 

Astrophysicists are most in demand in these locations:

 

Most Astrophysicists are employed in metropolitan areas, as these tend to be where universities and large businesses are located. Astrophysicists typically work in the Public Administration and Safety, Education and Training, and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industries.

 

How to become an Astrophysicist

 

Postgraduate qualifications are highly desired when applying for roles as an Astrophysicist.

 

Step 1 – Complete Year 12 with a focus on English, Maths, and Science

 

Step 2 – Study a relevant undergraduate degree, including Science, Maths or Physics.

 

Step 3 – Complete a postgraduate qualification in Science or Physics.

 

Step 4 – Start working in graduate roles and gain lots of experience.

 

Step 5 – Consider roles in research or education.

 

Find out more here –

https://aip.org.au/

 

Similar Careers to Astrophysicist

 

Geologist

Lab Technician

Mathematician

Meteorologist

Conservationist

Biologist

Engineer

 

Find out more about alternative careers.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

What do Astrophysicists do?

 

Astrophysicists study both physical and intangible forces and phenomena to explain how the universe works and create new technologies.

 

Which industries employ Astrophysicists?

 

Astrophysicists are mostly employed in the Public Administration and Safety, Education and Training, and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industries.

 

What options are there for career progression?

 

You will generally start out working in graduate roles, before gaining enough experience to work in roles in research and development. You might even like to work in roles in education.

 

Do I need to go to university to become an Astrophysicist?

 

Yes, you will need at minimum and undergraduate qualification, but most Astrophysicists have postgraduate qualifications.

 

Where do Astrophysicists work?

 

Astrophysicists generally work in universities and other private research institutes. They may also work for commercial companies developing new technologies.

 

What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become an Astrophysicist?

 

If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as an Astrophysicist is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:

  1. Start working on your maths and science skills – enter competitions and challenges or participate in workshops and short courses.
  2. Find work experience in a STEM related setting to help you build important skills and see if you might enjoy the kind of work you’ll be doing.
  3. Talk to an Astrophysicist to see what a day in their life is like. If you don’t know anyone, see if you can watch videos or documentaries about the role.
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