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US Dept. of Labor Asks, "What Do Astronomers Do?"

Monday, May 1, 2017 - 14:16

The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network (O*NET) has asked the AAS to assist with its research to update the classification of scientists working in astronomy and related disciplines. O*NET is a free resource at that’s used by millions of students, job seekers, veterans, labor-market researchers, and employers for career exploration and job analysis. O*NET is America’s primary source of occupational information. You can find the current summary of astronomy as an occupation on the O*NET website. That page also includes the aggregate data collected in O*NET’s last update of this classification in 2011.

In the near future O*NET will invite a random sample of full AAS members to provide input on how the work in our field is performed, the knowledge required, and typical work settings. If O*NET contacts you, we strongly encourage you to help by agreeing to receive and fill out the project's questionnaires. Compared with many other jobs, "astronomer" is one of O*NET's most highly specialized occupational classifications. Only with input from experts actually working in the field can we ensure that the information in the O*NET database is accurate and up to date.

If you have questions about O*NET or the upcoming update, please contact Traci Davis (, 877-233-7348 x109) at RTI International, the nonprofit research firm conducting the data-collection project. Thank you in advance for your assistance!

Richard Tresch Fienberg
AAS Press Officer
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