Aerospace Technician: Career Profile, Occupational Outlook, and Education Requirements

Explore the career requirements for aerospace technicians. Get the facts about job duties, employment outlook, salary and education requirements to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Aviation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is an Aerospace Technician?

Technicians in the aerospace field work closely with aircraft and spacecraft engineers to maintain and operate the equipment. Many aerospace engineer technicians utilize the latest in computer programming to check designs and simulations. The work of aerospace technicians is critical to the safety of equipment that runs missiles and spacecraft, and they assist engineers in ensuring that aircraft and spacecraft are safe and function properly. The following chart gives an overview of what you need to know to enter this profession.

Degree Required Associate's or bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Aerospace technology
Key Skills Help engineers create plans for new spacecraft & aircraft, perform maintenance & repairs, calibrate testing equipment, record test results
Job Growth (2014-2024) 4% for all aerospace engineering and operations technicians*
Average Salary (2015) $66,180 for all aerospace engineering and operations technicians*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Would I Do as an Aerospace Technician?

Job duties for an aerospace technician can include preparing drawings and models, recording data from computer or wind tunnel simulations, calibrating testing equipment and troubleshooting equipment problems. As an aerospace technician, you'll inspect aircraft and spacecraft structures and components after manufacture, as well as assist in their repair and maintenance. You may work in a laboratory and assist engineers in conducting research. You can specialize in a particular area, such as communications, quality control or flight testing.

What Can I Expect the Job Outlook to Be?

Aerospace technicians are expected to experience 4% in job growth over the 2014-2024 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Increases in productivity using automation and robots may temper the demand for new aerospace technicians. To increase your odds of finding employment, consider earning an associate's degree or completing some other form of postsecondary training like an internship at a private aerospace company. The BLS also reports that aerospace technicians earned an average annual salary of about $66,180 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov).

What Educational Requirements Do I Need?

Although it is sometimes possible to obtain employment without formal education, to become an aerospace technician, you must generally earn an associate's degree in aerospace technology or a related subject. In terms of content, an associate's degree program in aerospace technology can include courses in math, science, propulsion structures, aircraft assembly and use of manufacturing equipment. While not always required, you can transfer to a 4-year university to earn a bachelor's degree after completing your associate's degree, which can give you a competitive edge in the workforce. Many programs offer internship opportunities that you can take advantage of over the course of your studies. Alternatively, you may complete a 5-year apprenticeship program at a NASA field center.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Aerospace technicians are closely related to technicians in other engineering fields, including mechanical, electro-mechanical and industrial engineering. Mechanical technicians work in testing tools, engines and machines. Electro-mechanical technicians work with the electrical guts of the machines, and industrial technicians handle the machines within stores, industries or other companies. All these fields require at least an associate's degree to enter. Many aerospace technicians can further their education and become aerospace engineers who not only test but also design aircraft and spacecraft. Engineers require a bachelor's degree to start with.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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