Aerospace engineers design aircraft, satellites, spacecraft, and missiles. They need to make sure that the aircraft they design are safe, financially viable, and technologically possible. They'll often develop new technologies for aircraft that improve aerodynamics, navigation, communication, and propulsion. Since the aircraft they're designing need special computer hardware and software, they spend much of their time in an office environment. Plus, since they're usually working on a team to develop these new technologies, they must be able to communicate and work well with others.
Aerospace Job Education Requirements
Aerospace engineers must have at least a bachelor's degree to begin working in this field. These degree programs will typically take 4 to 5 years to complete and include classes in mechanics, general engineering principles, aerodynamics, and propulsion. Not only do these programs include work in the classroom, they also have work in the laboratory and in the field. Some colleges even have internships and cooperative programs where students can gain hands-on experience. Once they've completed the bachelor's degree, some choose to continue their education and earn a graduate degree.
Aerospace Job Market
Like industrial engineers, aerospace jobs are expected to grow slower than average. There are about 83,000 aerospace engineers employed in the country now. Over the next 10 years, it's predicted that this field will grow around 7 percent and add about 6,000 new jobs.
Much of the work done by aerospace engineers for national defense requires security clearances. This means these jobs will never be shipped overseas. Plus, as more workers in the field reach retirement age, this will create new openings for younger workers. Finally, as companies continue to push for aircraft that have faster engines, less pollution, and more fuel efficiency, they'll constantly be seeking bright minds to join their team.
Aerospace Job Salary Information
Typically, the starting salary for those in the aerospace field is around $71,000 a year. However, the median annual salary for those in aerospace is comparable to the salary earned by mechanical engineers. The average yearly salary for an aerospace engineer is $103,720.
While the lowest 10 percent in this field earned $65,450, the top 10 percent earned over $149,120. The federal government is the highest paying industry, since their aerospace engineers earn $110,860 a year. While almost all aerospace engineers work full-time, they occasionally have to work extra hours to check progress, measure aircraft performance, and make sure that all deadlines are met.