How Can I Find Jobs in the Aerospace Industry?

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in the aerospace industry. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and licensure information. Schools offering Aviation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information At a Glance

The aerospace industry includes a variety of jobs related to the design and manufacturing of not only airplanes, but space shuttles and missiles. The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Aerospace Engineer Aircraft Mechanics and Avionics Technicians
Degree Required Bachelor's degree Associate's degree, typical
Key Responsibilities Design electronic equipment
Analyze test data
Test/maintain equipment
Replace defective parts
Licensure/Certification Required Licensure available, not required Certification available, not required
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 7%* 2%*
Median Salary (2014) $105,380* $56,990 (for all aircraft mechanics/technicians)*; $56,910 (for all avionics technicians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Kind of Careers Are Available in the Aerospace Industry?

The aerospace industry comprises several professions, including engineering. As an aerospace engineer, you can design and test aeronautical vehicles, such as missiles, airplanes and space shuttles. You could develop schematics for airframes, fuselages, power plants and communication systems or specialize in a particular area, such as navigation, guidance systems or instrumentation design. You'd test for strength, flight behavior, operation safety and structural integrity of various aircraft. Some of your other responsibilities could include the following:

  • Analyzing data from tests
  • Designing electronic equipment
  • Compiling statistical data and rendering it in visual representations
  • Evaluating project proposals
  • Consulting with clients
  • Collaborating with researchers
  • Determining engineering specifications
  • Maintaining databases
  • Writing and enforcing safety regulations
  • Projecting budgets for aerospace projects

In addition to engineering, you could consider jobs in product manufacturing, aerospace technology, statistics, management or inspections. You could work in computer programming, finance, mathematics or aerospace administration. Some positions you could pursue include the following:

  • Operations manager
  • Logistician
  • Engineering manager
  • Aerospace software engineer
  • Avionics technician
  • Aircraft mechanic
  • Industrial machinery technician
  • Avionics inspector
  • Machinist
  • Structural and rigging assembler
  • Aerospace management analyst

What Training Do I Need for These Jobs?

If you want to be an aerospace engineer, you need at least a bachelor's degree in engineering, possible licensure and a few years of professional experience. Bachelor's degree programs in engineering typically take 4-5 years to finish. You'll take courses in calculus, computing for aerospace engineering, fluid dynamics, engineering physics and matrix methods. Other areas of study might include thermodynamics, aerospace structures, engineering materials, flight stability and space mechanics.

If you don't want to be an engineer, the educational requirements vary based on your career interests. You can qualify for many production jobs with an associate degree or even a high school diploma, though professional occupations require a bachelor's or graduate degree. For example, if you want to work as a general operations manager, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) could help secure a position at an airline, airport or aerospace manufacturing company. Several community colleges and universities offer a variety of programs for specific aerospace careers at undergraduate and graduate levels.

What Are My Job and Salary Prospects?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that aerospace engineers earned a median annual salary of $105,380 as of May 2014 (www.bls.gov). The BLS projected aerospace engineers to experience a seven percent increase in demand between 2012 and 2022, primarily in anticipation of improvements to aerospace technologies during that time.

If you're interested in aircraft mechanics, the BLS reported very little job creation, anticipating only a two percent increase between 2012 and 2022. In May 2014, the BLS reported aircraft mechanics and service technicians made a median annual salary of $56,990, and avionics technicians earned $56,910.

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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