Careers Advice

Choosing GCSEs & A Levels

You can study pretty much any subject and still end up in the space industry. Start with your ideal job. What qualifications are needed for that job? What do you need to get those qualifications?


You can study pretty much any subject and still end up in the space industry if that’s where you want to be.

Even if you’re set on building the next space shuttle, there’s no need to study aerospace engineering, spacecraft are designed by electronics engineers, computer scientists, chemists, technicians, and many many more.

Most people working in the space industry didn’t know that’s where they would end up, and they’ve come at it from every possible route. The space industry wouldn’t function without writers, artists, lawyers, accountants, doctors and many others.


How to Decide

The best thing to do is work backwards. Start with your ideal job. What qualifications are needed for that job? What do you need to get those qualifications? And so on until you get to what you're currently studying.

If you're not sure about your ideal job and want to keep your options open, you can't go wrong with Maths and Science A Levels and GCSEs.

For example:

Space Systems Engineer -> Degree in physics or engineering -> A levels in Physics, Maths, and Further Maths -> GCSEs in Triple Science and Maths

Astrobiologist -> Degree in biology or chemistry -> A levels in Biology, Chemistry, and Maths -> GCSEs in Triple Science and Maths

Every job will have different requirements, as will different university courses. If you've got your hear set on Medicine at Bristol, then find out what the requirements there are. They may be different from those at Imperial.

Technical jobs like being an engineer, a space scientist, or an astrobiologist require you to have a good scientific background.


Choose a Subject You Like!

Pursue the things you’re passionate about. From A Level through to the end of a university degree is five or six years. That’s a lot of time to be studying something you’re not interested in. If you love biology then don’t worry about becoming an expert in astrophysics. If you have a passion for English, then don’t try to force yourself into a science degree.

Author

Joseph Dudley

Joseph studied Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College London, and created SpaceCarers.uk.

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