Astronauts are one of the happiest careers in the United States.

At CareerExplorer, we conduct an ongoing survey with millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, astronauts rate their career happiness 4.1 out of 5 stars which puts them in the top 7% of careers.

To put this into perspective, we compared how happy astronauts are to similar careers in the industry. Take a look at the results below:

Salaries and satisfaction ratings in similar careers

Career Satisfaction Avg Salary
Cytotechnologist
4.0
$61k
Astronomer
4.0
$128k
Nanotechnology engineer
3.9
$101k

So what does it mean to be happy in your career? Let’s break it down into different dimensions:

  • Salary: Are astronauts happy with their salary?
  • Meaning: Do astronauts find their jobs meaningful?
  • Personality fit: How well suited are people’s personalities to their everyday tasks as astronauts?
  • Work environment: How enjoyable are astronaut’s work environments?
  • Skills utilization: Are astronauts making the best use of their abilities?

Are astronauts happy with their salary?

Astronauts rated their satisfaction with their salaries 4.1/5. The majority of astronauts are quite happy with their salaries, with very few having complaints about their income level.

We asked astronauts how fairly compensated they are for their work.
Their response was:

4.1 out of 5 stars

24 astronauts

5 Star
46%

46% of astronauts rated their compensation 5 stars

4 Star
33%

33% of astronauts rated their compensation 4 stars

3 Star
13%

13% of astronauts rated their compensation 3 stars

2 Star
8%

8% of astronauts rated their compensation 2 stars

Do astronauts find their jobs meaningful?

On average, astronauts rate the meaningfulness of their work a 4.3/5. Unlike many careers, astronauts have little difficulty finding meaning in their work, and it likely constitutes one of the main reasons people become astronauts.

We asked astronauts how meaningful they found their work.
Their response was:

4.3 out of 5 stars

25 astronauts

5 Star
52%

52% of astronauts rated how meaningful they found their career 5 stars

4 Star
28%

28% of astronauts rated how meaningful they found their career 4 stars

3 Star
16%

16% of astronauts rated how meaningful they found their career 3 stars

2 Star
4%

4% of astronauts rated how meaningful they found their career 2 stars

How well are people’s personalities suited to everyday tasks as astronauts?

Astronauts rated their personality fit with their work an average of 4.3/5. The majority of astronauts find their personalities quite well suited to their work, with relatively few having complaints about their fit.

We asked astronauts how well their personalities fit into their careers.
Their response was:

4.3 out of 5 stars

25 astronauts

5 Star
52%

52% of astronauts rated their career fit 5 stars

4 Star
32%

32% of astronauts rated their career fit 4 stars

3 Star
12%

12% of astronauts rated their career fit 3 stars

2 Star
4%

4% of astronauts rated their career fit 2 stars

How enjoyable is an astronaut’s work environment?

As a whole, astronauts rated their enjoyment of their work environment 4.0/5. A solid majority of astronauts enjoy their work environment, probably contributing to overall higher satisfaction with working as an astronaut.

We asked astronauts how much they enjoyed their work environment.
Their response was:

4.0 out of 5 stars

27 astronauts

5 Star
44%

44% of astronauts rated their work environment 5 stars

4 Star
30%

30% of astronauts rated their work environment 4 stars

3 Star
15%

15% of astronauts rated their work environment 3 stars

2 Star
7%

7% of astronauts rated their work environment 2 stars

1 Star
4%

4% of astronauts rated their work environment 1 stars

Are astronauts making the best use of their abilities?

Former astronauts on CareerExplorer have rated their skills utilization 3.8/5. Most astronauts surveyed find that they manage to use their abilities to their fullest as an astronaut, which helps contribute to higher career satisfaction in the long term.

We asked astronauts how well their abilities were used in their careers.
Their response was:

3.8 out of 5 stars

26 astronauts

5 Star
42%

42% of astronauts rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 5 stars

4 Star
15%

15% of astronauts rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 4 stars

3 Star
23%

23% of astronauts rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 3 stars

2 Star
15%

15% of astronauts rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 2 stars

1 Star
4%

4% of astronauts rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 1 stars