I've been an active amateur astronomer for more than 10 years and would like to turn my hobby into a career. With an associate's degree in electronics and computer technology, what are my chances of reaching this goal?
If you define a career in astronomy broadly enough, and if you want it badly enough, your chances are excellent!
You don't have to be a professional astronomer — that is, a research scientist with a PhD in astrophysics or a related discipline — to have a rewarding career in astronomy. Other jobs include building instruments, operating telescopes, presenting planetarium shows, programming computers, and writing or broadcasting about astronomy for the public.
The American Astronomical Society offers many useful resources for job seekers. Chief among them is the AAS Job Register, a listing of research, teaching, management, and support positions at institutions not only in the US but also abroad. You'll find a link to it right on the society's home page at www.aas.org.
Another helpful resource is the AAS career brochure. You can download this free 20-page PDF at www.aas.org/education/resources.php.
Richard Tresch Fienberg