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Career and Education Opportunities for Astronomers in Pasadena, California

Astronomers can find many career and educational opportunities in the Pasadena, California area. The national trend for astronomers sees this job pool growing by about 16.0% over the next eight years. In general, astronomers observe, research, and interpret celestial and astronomical phenomena to increase basic knowledge and apply such information to practical problems.

The average wage in the general category of Physical Sciences jobs is $40 per hour or $82,624 per year in California, and an average of $38 per hour or $78,733 per year nationwide. People working as astronomers can fill a number of jobs, such as: astronomy department chair, astronomy professor, and research scientist.

There are four schools within twenty-five miles of Pasadena where you can study to be an astronomer, among 210 schools of higher education total in the Pasadena area. Given that the most common education level for astronomers is post-Doctoral training, it will take at least four or five years to learn to be an astronomer if you already have a Bachelor's degree, or at least eight to ten years starting with a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Astronomer

Astronomer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, astronomers observe, research, and interpret celestial and astronomical phenomena to increase basic knowledge and apply such information to practical problems.

Astronomers study celestial phenomena, using a variety of ground-based and space-borne telescopes and scientific instruments. They also collaborate with other astronomers to carry out research projects. Equally important, astronomers have to raise funds for scientific research. They are often called upon to design theories on the basis of personal observations or on observations and theories of other astronomers. They are expected to present research findings at scientific conferences and in papers written for scientific journals. Finally, astronomers design and modify astronomy-related programs for public presentation.

Every day, astronomers are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to read and understand documents and reports. It is also important that they write clearly and communicate well.

It is important for astronomers to calculate orbits and decide on sizes, shapes and motions of different celestial bodies. They are often called upon to direct the operations of a planetarium. They also design and modify astronomy-related programs for public presentation. Somewhat less frequently, astronomers are also expected to direct the operations of a planetarium.

Astronomers sometimes are asked to teach astronomy or astrophysics. and measure radio and x-ray emissions from extraterrestrial sources. And finally, they sometimes have to study celestial phenomena, using a variety of ground-based and space-borne telescopes and scientific instruments.

Like many other jobs, astronomers must be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution and have an achievement oriented outlook with an eye towards personal and professional growth.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Pasadena include:

  • Atmospheric Scientist. Investigate atmospheric phenomena and interpret meteorological data gathered by surface and air stations, satellites, and radar to prepare reports and forecasts for public and other uses.
  • Chemist. Conduct qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or chemical experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge.
  • Environmental Health and Safety Specialist. Conduct research or perform investigation for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or the health of the population. Utilizing knowledge of various scientific disciplines may collect, synthesize, and take action based on data derived from measurements or observations of air, food, and other sources.
  • Geological Specialist. Study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the earth. May use geological, physics, and mathematics knowledge in exploration for oil, gas, or underground water; or in waste disposal, land reclamation, or other environmental problems. May study the earth's internal composition, atmospheres, and its magnetic, electrical, and gravitational forces. Includes mineralogists, crystallographers, and seismologists.
  • Hydrologist. Research the distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters; study the form and intensity of precipitation, its rate of infiltration into the soil, movement through the earth, and its return to the ocean and atmosphere.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Astronomer Training

El Camino Community College District - Torrance, CA

El Camino Community College District, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd, Torrance, CA 90506. El Camino Community College District is a large college located in Torrance, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,825 students. El Camino Community College District has an associate's degree program in Astronomy.

California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA

California Institute of Technology, 1200 E California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91125. California Institute of Technology is a small school located in Pasadena, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,133 students and an admission rate of 17%. California Institute of Technology has 2 areas of study related to Astronomer. They are:

  • Astrophysics, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated four, seven, and seven students respectively in 2008.
  • Planetary Astronomy and Science, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated zero, three, and three students respectively in 2008.

University of California-Los Angeles - Los Angeles, CA

University of California-Los Angeles, 405 Hilgard Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1405. University of California-Los Angeles is a large university located in Los Angeles, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 37,782 students and an admission rate of 24%. University of California-Los Angeles has 2 areas of study related to Astronomer. They are:

  • Astronomy, master's degree and doctor's degree which graduated six and three students respectively in 2008.
  • Astrophysics, bachelor's degree which graduated 13 students in 2008.

University of Southern California - Los Angeles, CA

University of Southern California, University Park, Los Angeles, CA 90089. University of Southern California is a large university located in Los Angeles, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 33,747 students and an admission rate of 22%. University of Southern California has a bachelor's degree program in Astronomy which graduated three students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Pasadena, California

Pasadena, California
Pasadena, California photo by Morgoth666

Pasadena is located in Los Angeles County, California. It has a population of over 143,080, which has grown by 6.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Pasadena, 167, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Pasadena are priced at $298,000 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, thirty-nine new homes were constructed in Pasadena, down from one hundred thirty-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Pasadena are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 26 minutes. More than 41.3% of Pasadena residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Pasadena is 9.7%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Pasadena residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Pasadena Church of God, All Saints Episcopal Church and Grace United Methodist Church are among the churches located in Pasadena. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Pasadena is home to the Annandale Golf Course and the Hill Avenue Branch Pasadena Public Library as well as Victory Park and Lower Arroyo Park. Shopping centers in the area include Hastings Ranch Plaza Shopping Center, Hastings Ranch Shopping Center and Plaza Pasadena Shopping Center. Visitors to Pasadena can choose from Best Western Pasadena Inn, Best Western Colorado Inn Pasa and Astro Motel Pasadena for temporary stays in the area.