EDIT/TLDR: Professorships are hard to find so I’ve never expected one. With recent PhD admissions success, is becoming a university/liberal arts professor now realistic and how can I best meet that goal?
I was recently accepted into an astronomy PhD. To give a rough characterization it is ranked in the US top 10-20 for physics/astronomy, whatever that’s worth. My new department paints an optimistic future picture but I wanted to get an objective view. With this prior, what can I expect in terms of career outlook?
From my undergrad experience in physics as a TA+RA I love to teach and research, and want to do both as a job whether that is at a research university or liberal arts college. I would also be grateful to teach at a community college, slightly more so than being a staff scientist at an observatory, but would still prefer to get the chance to research as well.
My undergrad productivity was pretty good - I was able to turn all my projects into publications, so hopefully I can build up from that. What other steps should I take to improve my chances to become a professor, especially at liberal arts colleges? Should I try to TA beyond my second year?