What's the Employment Outlook in the Aerospace Industry?

The aerospace industry contains people who work with air and spacecraft, including those who design, manufacture, repair and operate equipment. Read on to learn whether job opportunities in this area are expected to increase in the near future. Schools offering Aviation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Aerospace Industry Outlook Overview

Employment in the aerospace industry is expected to be mostly stagnant between 2012 and 2022. This is due mainly to the use of more efficient air and spacecraft, the streamlining of airplane routes and improving technologies. Employment outlook does vary by individual role, however, and tends to be better for those with more experience and/or higher education.

Important Facts About Aerospace Careers

Aerospace EngineersAerospace Engineering TechniciansAircraft Mechanics
Median Salary (2018)$115,220$67,010 $62,920
Licensure/Certification Experienced engineers typically earn Professional Engineer licensure Voluntary Voluntary; very common
Key Skills Analytical, business, critical thinking, math, writing, communication and teamwork Communication, critical thinking, attention to detail, interpersonal, math, mechanical Agility, dexterity, observational, troubleshooting, attention to detail
Work Environment Most employed in manufacturing; most time spent in office, working with computers Most employed in manufacturing; physical activity required Most employed in air transportation; physically demanding tasks leading to higher than average rate of injury and illness

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Overview

Most aerospace engineering positions require individuals to have at least a bachelor's degree. According to the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), there is a shortage of people earning the technical degrees necessary for the industry. Aerospace technicians may require an associate's degree, and aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians usually go to an FAA-approved training school. Other positions in the industry may emphasize on-the-job training.

Employment Outlook for Aerospace Engineers

Employment for aerospace engineers should increase by 6% between 2016 and 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is as fast as average for all jobs across the country. Opportunities will be best in current high-demand areas of research, including aircraft fuel efficiency and safety. National defense projects are also expected to be stable employment areas. However, some areas, such as manufacturing, are expected to grow slower than the rest of the field.

The BLS predicts that job opportunities will be best for engineers familiar with collaborative engineering tools and modeling processes. Additionally, several members of this occupation are expected to retire over the next decade, creating room for new people.

Employment Outlook for Technicians and Other Aerospace Workers

Most non-engineering aerospace positions will see slower than average growth between 2016 and 2026, according to the BLS, including the following positions:

  • Aircraft mechanics
  • Avionics equipment mechanics
  • Aircraft pilots
  • Air traffic controllers

Opportunities for airline and commercial pilots are expected to increase by 4% between 2016 and 2026. Of the above positions, aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians will see the most growth, with a gain of 5%. This stagnation is due to aircraft becoming more efficient and reliable and employers already having the necessary employees to deal with an expected increase in air traffic.

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