What are Aerospace Engineers?
Aerospace engineers primarily work with missles, satellites, spacecraft, and aircraft. You can find aerospace engineers working in a variety of areas: research and development (R&D), analysis, design, and manufacturing.
Two major sectors comprise the aerospace industry: aeronautics (study of flight) and astronautics (study of travel beyond Earth’s atmosphere).
What Skills Do Aerospace Engineers Typically Have?
- Critical Thinking
- Mathematical Skills
- Communication (Speaking and Writing)
- Problem Solving
How Much Do Aerospace Engineers Make?
The latest Occupational Handbook lists the salary of aerospace engineers for 37 regions (35 states + District of Columbia + Puerto Rico). The chart below shows the data, but here are a few interesting facts:
Highest Salary: District of Columbia ($145,300)
Lowest Salary: Puerto Rico ($87,540)
Highest Salary in a State: Maryland ($136,900)
Lowest Salary in a State: Arkansas ($92,210)
What Degree(s) are Required to be an Aerospace Engineer?
You can begin work as an aerospace engineer with just an undergraduate degree in the United States, though you an pursue a masters degree, and later a Ph.D. if you want to pursue an area of research.
In addition to core math (e.g., calculus) and science (e.g., chemistry or physics), undergraduate students will take classes related to statics/dynamics, aerodynamics, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, propulsion, and controls. Many classes will overlap with those taken by mechanical engineers. In fact, you may find mechanical engineers in aerospace positions; or vice versa).
What Career Options are Available for Aerospace Engineers?
So what are some of the careers that the approximately 62,000 (in 2020) aerospace engineers have?
The obvious answer is an engineer. In addition to being an aerospace engineer, other engineering positions that graduates may take on include mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, automotive engineering, control/instrumentation engineer, and/or product review engineer.
Non-engineer careers (at least not titled as one, since graduates are always engineers) include various roles in product design/management, quality management/assurance and technical sales. Engineering degrees are always relevant for individuals looking to pursue law (especially patent attorneys).
It doesn’t have to be all rocket science.
What are some of the Companies that Hire Aerospace Engineers
You can expect to see aerospace engineers at the following companies: