Aerospace engineers design, develop, and test aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles, as well as supervise the manufacture of these products.
Sample of Reported Job Titles
Aerospace Engineer, Flight Test Engineer, Design Engineer, Systems Engineer, Structures Engineer, Test Engineer, Aeronautical Engineer, Aerospace Stress Engineer, Avionics Engineer, Flight Systems Test Engineer
Aerospace engineers may develop new technologies for use in aviation, defense systems, and spacecraft. They often specialize in areas such as aerodynamic fluid flow; structural design; guidance, navigation, and control; instrumentation and communication; robotics; or propulsion and combustion.
Aerospace engineers typically do the following:
- Direct and coordinate the design, manufacture, and testing of aircraft and aerospace products
- Assess proposals for projects to determine if they are technically and financially feasible
- Determine if proposed projects will result in safe aircraft and parts
- Evaluate designs to see that the products meet engineering principles, customer requirements, and environmental challenges
- Develop acceptance criteria for design methods, quality standards, sustainment after delivery, and completion dates
- Ensure that projects meet quality standards
- Inspect malfunctioning or damaged products to identify sources of problems and possible solutions
Aerospace engineers typically are specialized in one of two types of engineering, aeronautical engineering or astronautical engineering:
- Aeronautical engineers work with aircraft. They are involved primarily in designing aircraft and propulsion systems and in studying the aerodynamic performance of aircraft and construction materials. They work with the theory, technology, and practice of flight within the earth’s atmosphere.
- Astronautical engineers work with the science and technology of spacecraft and how they perform inside and outside the earth’s atmosphere.
Aeronautical and astronautical engineers face different environmental and operational issues in designing aircraft and spacecraft. However, the two fields overlap a great deal because they both depend on the basic principles of physics.
Aerospace engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering or some other field of engineering or science related to aerospace systems. Some aerospace engineers work on projects that are related to national defense and thus require security clearances. U.S. citizenship may be required for certain types and levels of clearances.
Median Salary 2018
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of an Aerospace Engineer in 2018 was $115,220.
Want to know more?
- Bureau of Labor Statistics-Aerospace Engineers
- Science Buddies-Aerospace Engineers
- O*NET-Aerospace Engineers
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