If you want to become a space scientist, study hard in high school when it comes to math and science. Recognize that to get to the level of scientist, you most likely will need to earn an advanced college or university degree, often a doctorate. Starting out, you usually will need at least a bachelor's degree in engineering, math, physics or a similar area to get in the door of space-related organizations. You can either go to school until you have completed an advanced degree, or you can obtain your bachelor's degree and work in the field to determine what area of space science you would like to pursue. Then you can return to school in your chosen area of study and continue trying to become a space scientist.
Space scientists work in private industry for aerospace and defense contractors. They design and build rockets, satellites and vehicles to take people into space. Space scientists work for government space agencies and laboratories. They conduct research at universities and space-related think tanks. They seek to discover life on other planets, to help the environment on our own planet, to improve methods of human space travel and much more.
To learn more about space science and how to become a space scientist, get involved with organizations that help educate future scientists and engineers. Just one example of such an organization is Future Scientists and Engineers of America. This organization sponsors rocket-building contests and other events, and it brings scientists and engineers into schools to speak with young people. Look for similar organizations in your location or through your school.
After you have determined what area of space science you are interested in, research which colleges and universities provide the most compatible programs for your interests. Some of the degree program fields that produce space scientists are astrophysics, aerospace engineering and astronomy. When deciding on a school, discuss the best programs with high school counselors, any engineers you might know and members of space-related organizations, if possible.
If you know exactly what area of space science you want to study, seek out schools with solid reputations in your chosen field. If you aren't sure and believe that your choice could change, look for a good general engineering school that can provide various options. Find out what kind of internship programs are offered through the schools you are considering. Internships can lead to jobs and can provide valuable experience and contacts as well as helping you discover whether you like working in a particular area of engineering or science.
It also can be a good idea to join space-related professional organizations, which also provide networking opportunities and educational information. Some organizations have student chapters that charge reduced rates to join. When getting close to graduation, start attending industry job fairs, contacting university astronomy centers and research departments and sending your resume to aerospace companies and government space agencies. Once you are hired into a position to become a space scientist, work hard and stay focused on your goal.