Can You Plan Out A Career in the Aerospace Industry?
Aerospace engineers use creativity and scientific know-how to design and evaluate various types of flying crafts, from airplanes to satellites.
These professionals need to think about many different factors when designing and testing, including safety, fuel efficiency, speed, environmental impact and cost. Most aerospace engineers concentrate on a specific area of aerospace, like avionics, propulsion or aerospace materials development.
Becoming an Aerospace Engineer
For the high school student aspiring to be an aerospace engineer, physics, mathematics and physics are critical subjects to study. College students typically enter either a specific aerospace engineering program, or an engineering program that is related.
Most employers prefer their aerospace engineers to have a master's degree and earning one will significantly boost an engineer's career prospects. Some people pursue a master's degree in aerospace engineering after earning a bachelor's degree in a related field.
While education is critical, most successful aerospace engineers will say they learned the most through on-the-job experience. So, for those entering the field, internship programs are invaluable.
Entry-level aerospace engineers can move up to supervisory jobs. While these jobs are technically considering aerospace engineering positions, people working in these roles are often referred to as project engineers.
The Typical Day
Aerospace engineers generally spend their day working with computer software tools in offices and technical laboratories. Some engineers may spend a significant amount of their day in production facilities, while others participate in flight-test programs. Often, aerospace engineers are expected to travel for work, possibly to locations outside the United States.
While the work environment of the typical aerospace engineer isn't hectic, these professionals often deal with deadline-related stress. Many aerospace engineers are employed by the federal government or aerospace companies that have been contracted by the government to develop and make aerospace products.
Most aerospace engineers work weekdays during normal working hours, and the job usually doesn’t involve working late nights, on weekends or during holidays. However, some positions may require being "on call" in the event of urgent repairs or an aerospace-related accident.
Employers are upfront about working hour expectations. For those who want to dictate their own hours, there are many opportunities for self-employment in this field.
Salary Expectations and Job Prospects
According to PayScale, the average salary for an entry-level aerospace engineer is $71,000, which is much higher than the average salary for most entry-level jobs. This is reflective of the fact that aerospace is one of the highest-paying industries in America. Accordingly, the average salary for aerospace engineers with two decades or more of experience is $128,000.
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics has said that the number of aerospace engineer jobs will decrease by 2 percent through 2024. However, the BLS also predicts that there will be a sustained demand in the area of aerospace research and development, which will translate to health career prospects for professionals in this area.
We Can Drive Your Aerospace Success
At Quanta, we often work with engineers and others in the aerospace industry. Please contact us today to find out how we can support success in your aerospace career.