Aerospace Engineer Job Description
Aerospace engineers design components of spacecraft, aircraft, satellites, missiles, and other types of aerospace products.
Each type of aerospace product has very different requirements, so engineers normally focus on building one type of product. For example, some specialize in designing military aircraft, while others choose to focus on designing rockets.
Every component and system within an aircraft is different, and requires a specialized set of knowledge to effectively design. For this reason, most aerospace engineers choose to specialize in designing a particular component or system.
There are many different specializations that an aerospace engineer may choose to focus on. Flight mechanics, propulsion, control systems, thermodynamics, navigation, control systems, and structural design are just a few specialties.
Aerospace engineers are divided into two main types: astronautical engineering, and aeronautical engineer.
Astronautical engineers focus on designing spacecraft. They study the behavior of spacecraft both inside and outside of our atmosphere, and design systems that will support a spacecraft’s mission. Aeronautical engineers design aircraft that flies only within our atmosphere.
Work Environment and Schedule
Aerospace engineers spend most of their time working in an office environment. They do most of their work using advanced computer software that helps them design aircraft systems and components and simulate how they would perform in a real world situation.
Most aerospace engineers work full time, and are often able to enjoy a regular working schedule during normal business hours. However, this can be a deadline driven occupation, and overtime is often required when deadlines are approaching.
Engineers who manage projects and supervise other employees may need to regularly work long hours to get all of their work done and ensure that the project is built to design standards and on schedule.
How to Become an Aerospace Engineer
To get an entry level job as an aerospace engineer, you will need to get a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering or another related field.
Some schools offer five year aerospace engineering programs. Graduates of these programs receive both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.
Work experience is extremely valuable in this occupation, even for entry level jobs. If you have the opportunity to get an internship while in college, you should take advantage of it. Getting an internship in this field greatly improves your chances of employment after graduation. If you’re interested in finding an internship, stop by your college or university’s career center.
For most positions in this field, a bachelor’s degree is all the formal education that you will need. However, if you want to work in research and development or teach at the college level, a graduate degree is required.
Before you enroll in an aerospace engineering program, you should make sure that it’s accredited by ABET. If it isn’t accredited, your employment opportunities may be limited.
If you’re still in high school and you’re considering a job in this occupation, taking advanced math and science classes will help prepare you for the job. Trigonometry, calculus, computer science, physics, and chemistry all have applications in aerospace engineering.
There are currently 81,000 aerospace engineers in the United States, with 2,180 new aerospace engineer job openings created each year.
Aerospace Engineer jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Aerospace Engineer Salaries
Aerospace Engineer salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most aerospace engineers make between $81,200 – $125,300 per year, or $39.04 – $60.22 per hour.
Career in Aerospace – Description, Income, & Qualification
Aerospace Engineering, the branch of science behind rockets, aircrafts, and spacecraft, is destined to be one of the most popular career choices for the future generations. The 21st century is bound to see commercial space travelling and human colonization of other planets. This century is going to be dominated by the space industry. We are already seeing some tremendous growth and advancements in rocket science. Take Space X for an example, they are modernizing space travel by making reusable rockets. Their goal is to cut the overall cost of sending material or humans to space.
Aerospace isn’t just about making instruments and vehicles for space; the original term is Aeronautical engineering. It includes all kinds of jobs; for instance, maintaining aircrafts, building missiles and weapons, making software simulators, model designing using software, etc.
Similarly, aerospace engineering isn’t just the science of building rockets, this is a vast field. There are hundreds of different sub-branches. If you decide to have a career in aerospace, you should first find out exactly what you want to do. Below are few examples of jobs you can do as an aerospace engineer.
1. You can join the branch that deals in designing structures. They do research on how to make and improve spacecraft or space vehicles astronauts use. This branch deals with the physical aspect of aerospace engineering.
2. Space Math: if you are good in Math and love space, you can still have a career in aerospace. What we see on our television screen is a rocket blowing out gas to escape earth’s gravitational field, but there is a lot more happening, which most TV viewers don’t see and are unaware of. Space industry relies heavy on mathematicians. They perform crucial work that enables others to make a successful rocket launch.
Above are just two aerospace-fields you can specialize in, there are many more!
Work Conditions and Timings
Work conditions depend on the type of job you are doing. For instance, people whose job is to build simulators or design instruments using computer software spend most of their time inside offices. On the other hand, quality inspectors spend most of their time on field going from one location to another. They often need to travel across states to monitor work and to keep an eye on project development.
Like other jobs, the normal timings are 09:00AM to 05:00PM, that’s 40 hours of work a week. There are some contract base jobs too; the work timing of those varies.
Aerospace is an industry where completing projects in time is necessary and challenging as well. You will often find yourself in such situation and the only way to succeed would be to work overtime. This job might be fun but it is also very challenging.
To get any kind of job in the aerospace industry, you need full fledge education. The more education you have, the better job you can land. And off course, your grades matter too.
You can apply for aerospace jobs with a Higher National Diploma or Certificate, a foundation or any other internationally recognized degree in aeronautical or astronautical engineering. As mentioned before, aerospace engineering is a vast field so companies will also hire you if you have any other engineering degree that can enable you to do work in any aerospace field. If you have postgraduate, or masters, degree in physics or math, you can apply for specific aerospace jobs.
Prior experience in any kind of aerospace field can enable you to get a god-paying job quickly!
If you are in middle or high school and you want to pursue aerospace engineering as career, you can prepare yourself for future by taking classes in advance Math, Calculus, and Physics.
Below is a list of top institutions where you can study aerospace engineering. Check all degrees and courses each of these intuitions is offering.
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2. Stanford University
3. University of Cambridge
4. University of California
5. Imperial College London
6. University of Michigan
7. Harvard University
8. University of Oxford
9. Georgia Tech
10. University of Bristol
11. University of Bath
12. University of Surrey
You can find some useful information at Careers in Aerospace website.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting a two percent decline in the number of jobs in aerospace engineering from 2014 to 2024. However, many experts disagree because they believe employment opportunities in this field will soon kickoff mainly due to the near-future commercialization of the space industry.