More than half of all biological scientists work for the government at the federal, state, or local level. Astrobiologists are employed by NASA and other government-funded agencies. They also work at private research institutions and colleges and universities.
Students interested in becoming teachers should consult their college's career services office. An increasing number of colleges hire teachers through the colleges at which they studied. Some teaching positions are filled through direct application.
Astrobiologists interested in private industry and nonprofit organizations may also apply directly for employment. Major organizations such as NASA that employ astrobiologists often interview college seniors on campus. Private and public employment offices frequently have listings from these employers. Experienced astrobiologists may change positions as a result of contacts made at professional seminars and national conventions.
Special application procedures are required for positions with government agencies. Civil service applications for federal, state, and municipal positions may be obtained by contacting the agency involved and from high school and college guidance and career services offices, public employment agencies, and post offices.
To a great extent, advancement for astrobiologists depends on the individual's level of education. A doctorate is generally required for college teaching, independent research, and top-level administrative and management jobs. A master's degree is sufficient for some jobs in applied research, and a bachelor's degree may qualify for some entry-level jobs.
With the right qualifications, the astrobiologist may advance to the position of project chief and direct a team of other astrobiologists. Many use their knowledge and experience as background for administrative and management positions. Often, as they develop professional expertise, astrobiologists move from strictly technical assignments into positions in which they interpret astrobiological knowledge.
Tips for Entry
Read publications such as Astrobiology (https://www.astrobio.net) and BioScience (https://academic.oup.com/bioscience) to learn more about trends in the industry and potential employers.
Visit https://astrobiology.nasa.gov/careers-employment/ for career resources.
Join professional associations to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.
Conduct informational interviews with astrobiologists and ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field.