What Is Aerospace Design?

The field of aerospace design involves creating airplanes or spacecraft, along with developing new techniques and materials for flight. Learn about aerospace design and the education and careers available in this high-tech sector by reading below. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Industry Defined

Aerospace design is a part of aerospace engineering, which is the science of creating aircraft, spacecraft, and other projectiles. A job in aerospace design would require you to determine the necessary parts and components of an aircraft and then apply them so that the machine properly works under specific flight conditions. Aerospace design is a complex field that requires a lot of balance, detail, and patience. If you enter this area, you'll need to work and compromise with team members in order to take a project from a model to an actual flying machine.

Important Facts About a Career in Aerospace Design

Work EnvironmentOffices, research and development laboratories, test sites, government facilities
SpecializationsAeronautical and Astronautical
Key SkillsTechnical/cost evaluations of design proposals, gauge system safety, ensure environmental suitability, validate system quality, diagnose issues,
Similar OccupationsMechanical Engineers, Electrical Engineers, Computer Hardware Engineers, Industrial Engineers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education

You can find both bachelor's and master's degree programs in aerospace engineering. Associate's degree programs are also available in aerospace or aeronautical engineering technology, but these are usually designed to prepare you for a bachelor's degree program. A bachelor's degree is necessary for most entry-level engineering and technician positions, while a graduate degree is needed for managerial or consulting jobs. Coursework that you can expect to take during an aerospace program includes physics, thermodynamics, flight dynamics, propulsion, and aerodynamics.

Career Opportunities

There are two major career paths in aerospace design. The first is as an aerospace engineering technician. These workers help clean, maintain, and test aircraft materials and equipment. You might use wind tunnels to actively test aerospace devices or use computer equipment to create simulations that test new designs in a safe environment. After a test is performed, you'll need to report the results to the engineers above you.

A more advanced career choice is to become an aerospace engineer. These workers oversee and manage aerospace engineering and operations technicians. As an engineer, you would carry out the more complicated designs for aircraft, missiles, and spacecrafts. Typically, you'll work on one particular project for an extended period of time before taking on a new one. Specializations are possible in this career and usually allow you to focus on producing specific machines like jets, spacecrafts, or commercial aircraft.

Job Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of aerospace engineering and operations technicians was projected to grow 4% from 2014-2024, slower than the national average, due to advances in computer simulations that have made some technician jobs unnecessary (www.bls.gov). Aerospace engineering technicians made a median yearly salary of $63,780 in 2014, per the BLS.

Aerospace engineer jobs were expected to experience a two percent decline from 2014-2024, which was clearly below the predicted average for other job sectors. The BLS reported that these types of engineers will remain in demand, since new flight technologies are constantly evolving. The median annual salary for aerospace engineers was $105,380 as of May 2014.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools