What Training Do I Need for a Career in Aerospace?

Aerospace careers include manufacturing and professional positions supporting and conducting air and space flight. No matter what the position, an aerospace career requires extensive training either in college or on the job. Schools offering Aviation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Aerospace Overview

The aerospace industry encompasses atmospheric and space flight, and careers are broadly divided between manufacturing and professional tracks. Manufacturing careers concentrate on fabricating vehicles and equipment, while professional careers concentrate on designing and flying it.

Important Facts about Aerospace Careers

Work Environment Primarily office settings, work with other professionals in a team setting, work primarily with firms and with the federal government
Key Skills Math, critical-thinking, and analytical skills
Median Salary (2018) $115,220 (for aerospace engineers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 6% growth (for aerospace engineers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Manufacturing Positions

Manufacturing positions in the aerospace field are primarily in the product and parts area, employing operations technicians. Many technical positions require an associate's degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), while some production positions only require a high school diploma or certificate. Individuals without postsecondary education increase their skills through experience and formal training sessions.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) offers a certification for technicians that may be beneficial when seeking employment. While not a requirement for employment, this certification will show the employer that the technicians has been tested and is capable of doing the work.

Professional Positions

Most entry-level positions for professional aerospace careers, such as aerospace engineers, require a bachelor's degree, according to the BLS. Some positions even require a master's or doctoral degree.

There are two types of aerospace engineers: aeronautical engineers and astronautical engineers. Aeronautical engineers design and build aircraft, while astronautical engineers design and build spacecraft. While aerospace engineers help build various aircraft, some aerospace engineers become astronauts.

To become an astronaut, individuals must have a bachelor's degree in engineering, math or science and at least three years of experience in their field, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Astronauts who pilot spacecraft need excellent vision and at least 1,000 hours of experience flying aircraft.

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