31 August 2017 Community

Degree paths that can help you to obtain a career in space exploration

Your future in the space industry could begin here

Space Shuttle Atlantis taking flight on its STS-27 mission. Image: NASA on the Commons
Space Shuttle Atlantis taking flight on its STS-27 mission. Image: NASA on the Commons

Many people dream about entering a career in space exploration. When we were young children, we dreamed of becoming an astronaut, but as we age, many of us look into the other careers surrounding space exploration. Whether your interest is space technology, engineering, or communications, there are a number of degrees that can set you off on the right track. We’re going to take a look at some of them in this article.

Astronomy
Astronomy is the study of the planets, stars, and all the other bodies that make up the universe. Once qualified, astronomers create theories to try and explain how the universe operates. There are a number of specialized roles in the field, so while you could study the universe as a whole, you could also choose to specialize in studying the stars, the planets, the sun, or the galaxies. You’ll want to obtain a Ph.D. in astronomy to get started in this career.

Engineering
Everyone expects NASA to employ scientists, but they also employ a lot of engineers too. With an online masters in engineering, you can find a job creating spacecraft, developing technology for use in space, and even work on creating missiles. NASA’s engineers create prototypes to test the performance and safety of their designs. If all goes well, their designs could be used for future space exploration. It’s possible to study for a degree in engineering online too!

Avionics Technology
When the high-tech gear on spacecraft breaks, people are needed to fix it. This is what an avionics technologist does. They both repair spacecraft and complete maintenance on it to ensure that it is working as it should. Avionics technicians can get a job working for NASA with just an associate’s degree. This is because the career doesn’t require a huge educational background but it does require physical dexterity, as well as mechanical and troubleshooting skills.

Accounting
This is perhaps one of the more surprising degree options on this list, but NASA, like every other company, requires accountants to ensure that its finances are above par. Accountants will create financial statements and documents detailing how the budget is being spent and what on. They may also work on business audits and advise NASA on ways to cut costs while still ensuring safety.

Physics
Finally, one last good degree option is physics. Physics is the studyof space, time and energy, and physicists work on everything from the machinations of molecules, to how tiny atoms make a difference to the universe. This degree is closely tied into astronomy and those who want to work for NASA will often specialize in a space field towards the end of their degree course. Many go on to take Ph.D. programs to specialize even further.

If you are interested in a career in space exploration but don’t want to become an astronaut, consider taking one of the above five degree courses instead.

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