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According to the National Science Foundation, the number of graduate students continuing their studies after a PhD has risen twenty-five percent since the sixties. Postgraduate work usually lasts 1-3 years after a graduate degree and involves working as a research scientist while awaiting full-time positions.
Contrary to popular belief, space camp is not just for kids. NASA's popular camp has adult programs as well, including Adult Space Academy, where the older set can experience weightlessness, feel what it's like to walk on the moon, and alternate roles in a virtual space shuttle mission. They're during the weekend, so you don't have to worry about missing work.
There are many nontraditional methods of gaining a degree these days, including correspondence schools and four-year external degrees. But as of yet there is no option for the nontraditional astronomy student but to invent a program from scratch and submit it to a purely distance learning institution like Thomas Edison College.
If you are an astronomy major and want to do research, The National Undergraduate Research Observatory (NURO) is the place you want to call. It is a consortium of sixteen public and private universities across the country, banding together to provide hands-on training and research experiences for undergraduate students. It is great experience for future research scientists.
The average time to complete a graduate degree in Astronomy has increased dramatically over the past fifty years. Graduate students in the early 1950s spent an average of 7.5 years getting their PhD. Data from a 1991 study indicate that present graduate school students need an average of 8.4 years to complete their studies and earn a PhD.
NASA's popular space camp is still going. They have programs for ages nine and up. If your child is in fourth grade or higher, send him to space. There are always options. For older kids age 12 and up there is the Space Academy and the Advanced Space Academy, where students can learn about becoming a part of the NASA team. There is also the Parent/Child space camp, for those parents who can't stand to be away from their kids.
If you want your kids to have organized access to science outside of school, contact The Hands on Science Outreach program. The goal of this program, partially funded by the National Science Foundation, is to develop and implement science programs for the pre-K to sixth grade child. They will tell you what you must do to start the program in your community.