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SETI Researcher

SETI Researcher

Career Advice on How to Become A SETI Researcher

If SETI researcher isn’t on your job search or career planning list yet, here is the first thing to know. SETI is often confused with yeti.  A yeti, however, is a mythical creature. SETI, on the other hand, stands for the “Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.” In theory, SETI researchers are looking for alien signals coming from outer space.  SETI has never found any verifiable signals, but they have only been looking since 1960, so let’s give them a break. After all it could take thousands of years to find a signal.

Career Facts:

If you like watching science-fiction films but don’t like hard work, forget becoming a researcher at SETI.  Most of the people working at SETI are graduate students or have PhD’s in fields like physics, astrophysics or astronomy under their career belts.  Much of the work for this job is detail oriented and requires a great deal of patience.  Keep in mind that no one has ever picked up a signal, but if they ever do, they will likely be instantly mega-famous and quite wealthy from the book and movie deals.

Career Opportunities and Job Outlook-Unknown:

If mankind does not destroy itself, it is likely that programs like SETI that employ research scientists are likely to only grow.  After all, whether or not mankind is alone in the universe will persist as an intriguing question.  As of 2006, there were about 1,700 astronomers working in the United States. This is a shockingly low number considering the importance of the work.

A Day in The Life:

SETI researchers spend much of their day looking for that all-important signal that will either change human history or be swept under the rug.  This means looking through data and trying not to go completely insane.  Computers and computer programs, not surprisingly, play a large role.

Average Salary:

The average astronomer earns about $94,000, with the highest ten percent earning as much as $143,000. This job tends to be well paid.


Career Training and Qualifications:

A PhD in a related field such as astrophysics or astronomy is a must have.  Otherwise, the other SETI scientists would just make jokes about you that you did not understand.

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