What Does an Aerospace Technologist Do?

Explore the career requirements for an aerospace technologist. Get the facts about key training and certification options 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 Technologist?

Aerospace technologists, also called aerospace engineers, are professionals who design and test new flight technologies. Depending on their area of interest in the field, they may develop systems and parts for aircraft, spacecraft, satellites and missiles. Some choose to specialize in a particular subfield, such as aeronautical or astronautical engineering. When designing and testing aerospace technologies, they account for a wide range of considerations, including financial feasibility, customer satisfaction and government regulations.

The chart below gives an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering
Key Responsibilities Solve problems, design projects, draw up reports and proposals, review aerospace designs and suggest improvements
Licensing License as a Professional Engineer optional
Job Growth (2014-2024) -2%* (for aerospace engineers)
Average Annual Salary (2015) $110,570* (for aerospace engineers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Aerospace Technologist Job Duties

Primarily performing engineering tasks, these professionals can work in manufacturing, systems design and engineering, security, automation or electronics fields that support the aerospace industry. They might design and test space or aircraft or work on creating new parts for this equipment.

Job duties could include solving manufacturing or engineering problems, designing projects, creating and presenting reports, performing research, developing proposals or reviewing designs. They might review existing aerospace systems to verify current designs are working or to suggest improvements.

Some job titles an aerospace technologist might have include staff technologist, lead or senior technologist or quality control technologist. Since work experience is critical in this industry, technologists might find themselves mentoring new workers in addition to their regular duties. These technologists often work closely with aerospace engineers or project managers.

Requirements

Technologists generally need a bachelor's degree in aerospace or mechanical engineering or a related field. Some advanced positions might require a master's degree in an engineering or math field. Experience requirements vary, but you could need at least 4 years of experience prior to starting work as an aerospace technologist. While a license isn't required to work as aerospace technologist, you can utilize your work experience to earn a license and become a Professional Engineer. Licensure requirements include earning a bachelor's degree, acquiring work experience and taking two exams.

Aerospace Technician Job Duties

Requiring less training than a technologist, these professionals are responsible for the maintenance of airplane and spacecraft testing equipment. Their duties include building test facilities for airplanes, making test parts, calibrating equipment and testing systems. They might utilize drafting technologies or computer simulations or draw prototypes and record testing data.

Education and Skills

Aerospace technicians can get started in this field with just a certificate, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, employers might prefer applicants who have earned associate's degrees in engineering technology. You can find degree programs that offer internships or co-operative learning opportunities to help you get practical experience in this field.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Instead of working as an aerospace engineer, you might be interested in another job within the field of engineering. For instance, as a civil engineer, you would design and implement infrastructure projects like the construction of roads, bridges and dams. You would need at least a bachelor's for an entry-level civil engineering job. Alternatively, if you want to work in the aviation industry, you could become an airline pilot, which involves flying planes for major airline companies that transport people from one destination to another. Airline pilots must also have a bachelor's degree.

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