Career and Education Opportunities for Astronomers in Alexandria, Virginia
There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for astronomers in the Alexandria, Virginia area. The national trend for astronomers sees this job pool growing by about 16.0% over the next eight years. Astronomers generally observe, research, and interpret celestial and astronomical phenomena to increase basic knowledge and apply such information to practical problems.
Income for astronomers is about $50 per hour or $104,560 per year on average in Virginia. Nationally, their income is about $48 hourly or $101,300 annually. Earnings for astronomers are better than earnings in the general category of Physical Sciences in Virginia and better than general Physical Sciences category earnings nationally. Astronomers work in a variety of jobs, including: space sciences director, astronomy department chair, and astronomy professor.
The Alexandria area is home to eighty-four schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Alexandria where you can get a degree as an astronomer. The most common level of education for astronomers is post-Doctoral training. You can expect to spend at least four or five years studying to be an astronomer if you already have a Bachelor's degree, or at least eight to ten years if you have a high school diploma.
CAREER DESCRIPTION: Astronomer
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 Alexandria 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
George Mason University - Fairfax, VA
George Mason University, 4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444. George Mason University is a large university located in Fairfax, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,800 students and an admission rate of 63%. George Mason University has a bachelor's degree program in Astronomy which graduated one student in 2008.
University of Maryland-College Park - College Park, MD
University of Maryland-College Park, , College Park, MD 20742. University of Maryland-College Park is a large university located in College Park, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 37,000 students and an admission rate of 39%. University of Maryland-College Park has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Astronomy which graduated two, five, and eight students respectively in 2008.
LOCATION INFORMATION: Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria is situated in Alexandria City County, Virginia. It has a population of over 143,885, which has grown by 12.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Alexandria, 124, is far greater than the national average.
The three big industries for women in Alexandria are professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 30 minutes. More than 54.3% of Alexandria residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.8%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Alexandria is 4.6%, which is less than Virginia's average of 6.4%.
Church of Resurrection Episcopal, Agudas Achim Synagogue and Alexandria Bible Church are some of the churches located in Alexandria.
Alexandria is home to the Circle Terrace Hospital and the Kate Waller Barrett Branch as well as Marina Park and Founders Park. Shopping centers in the area include Hamlet Shopping Center, Landmark Shopping Center and Arlandria Shopping Center. Visitors to Alexandria can choose from Comfort Inn-Landmark, Best Western Old Colony Inn and Hilton Inn for temporary stays in the area.