What Is the Average Salary of an Aerospace Engineer?

Read on to learn more about your salary potential and job prospects as an aerospace engineer. Learn about salary info for aerospace engineers at different experience levels, as well as for those working in different regions of the country. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

Unlike astronautical engineers, who work with spacecraft, aerospace engineers are involved in the building, testing or maintenance of aircraft, spacecraft or even missiles. A few of the specialty fields include propulsion, thermodynamics and aerodynamics. Most companies will hire you for a specific area of aerospace engineering, such as guidance, navigation, instrumentation, aerodynamic fluid flow, or structural design. You can also specialize in different types of equipment, such as rockets, missiles, spacecrafts, fighter jets, commercial aircraft or rescue helicopters.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Licensure Available to experienced engineers
Key Skills Math, business, writing, critical-thinking, and analytical skills
Work Environment Mostly office environments
Similar Occupations Computer hardware engineer, industrial engineer, mechanical engineer

Salary Overview

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in May 2018 aerospace engineers had a median annual wage of $115,220 and a mean hourly wage of $56.30 (www.bls.gov). If you were in the top ten percent of wage estimates, you would have earned upwards of $78.95 an hour, or $164,210 a year. If you were in the bottom ten percent of wage estimates, you would have earned $34.44 an hour, or $71,640 a year, or less.

Salary by Location

According to May 2018 BLS figures, the District of Columbia was the top paying region for aerospace engineers at $138,480 a year, or $66.58 an hour. Other top paying states included Virginia, Maryland, California and Colorado. The lowest paying states had mean wages of $85,880-$100,080 and included Montana, Wisconsin, Indiana and West Virginia.

Salary by Industry and Employment

According to the BLS, the top paying industry for aerospace engineers in May 2018 was employment services, which had a mean wage of $115,220. Others with high mean wages included scientific research and development services ($128,980); navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control Instruments manufacturing industries ($122,430); technical and trade schools ($121,200); and other professional, scientific, and technical services ($121,160).

Mean wages for two top industries for employment were $115,130 for aerospace product and parts manufacturing and $115,160 for architectural, engineering and other related services.

Salary by Experience

PayScale.com reported in May 2019 that aerospace engineers with less than five years of experience earned salaries averaging about $74,823. Those with 5-10 years of experience earned about $89,844, and those with 10-20 years of experience were paid an average of approximately $106,340. Salaries averaged $132,156 for those with 20 years or more of experience.

Job Outlook

Job growth for aerospace engineers is expected to be as fast as average, with a six percent growth from 2016 to 2026, according to the BLS. You'll find demand is steady from companies interested in new aerospace design and technology, such as the military and aerospace companies.

The industries with the highest level of employment of aerospace engineers in May 2018 were aerospace product and parts manufacturing, architectural and engineering services, scientific research and development services, the federal executive government, and navigational instruments manufacturing. The highest concentration of aerospace engineers worked in Alabama, Kansas, Maryland, New Mexico and Arizona.

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