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Become An Aeronautical Engineer

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Working As An Aeronautical Engineer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • $88,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Aeronautical Engineer Do

Aerospace engineers design primarily aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles. In addition, they test prototypes to make sure that they function according to design.

Duties

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 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; and propulsion and combustion.

Aerospace engineers can specialize in designing different types of aerospace products, such as commercial and military airplanes and helicopters; remotely piloted aircraft and rotorcraft; spacecraft, including launch vehicles and satellites; and military missiles and rockets.

Aerospace engineers often become experts in one or more related fields: aerodynamics, thermodynamics, celestial mechanics, flight mechanics, propulsion, acoustics, and guidance and control systems.

Aerospace engineers typically specialize in one of two types of engineering: aeronautical or astronautical.

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.

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How To Become An Aeronautical Engineer

Aerospace engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering or another field of engineering or science related to aerospace systems. Aerospace engineers who work on projects that are related to national defense may need a security clearance. U.S. citizenship may be required for certain types and levels of clearances.

Education

Entry-level aerospace engineers usually need a bachelor’s degree. High school students interested in studying aerospace engineering should take courses in chemistry, physics, and math, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.

Bachelor’s degree programs include classroom, laboratory, and field studies in subjects such as general engineering principles, propulsion, stability and control, structures, mechanics, and aerodynamics, which is the study of how air interacts with moving objects.

Some colleges and universities offer cooperative programs in partnership with regional businesses, which give students practical experience while they complete their education. Cooperative programs and internships enable students to gain valuable experience and to finance part of their education.

At some universities, a student can enroll in a 5-year program that leads to both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree upon completion. A graduate degree will allow an engineer to work as an instructor at a university or to do research and development. Programs in aerospace engineering are accredited by ABET.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Aerospace engineers must be able to identify design elements that may not meet requirements and then must formulate alternatives to improve the performance of those elements.

Business skills. Much of the work done by aerospace engineers involves meeting federal government standards. Meeting these standards often requires knowledge of standard business practices, as well as knowledge of commercial law.

Critical-thinking skills. Aerospace engineers must be able to translate a set of issues into requirements and to figure out why a particular design does not work. They must be able to ask the right question, then find an acceptable answer.

Math skills. Aerospace engineers use the principles of calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced topics in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Problem-solving skills. Aerospace engineers use their education and experience to upgrade designs and troubleshoot problems when meeting new demands for aircraft, such as increased fuel efficiency or improved safety.

Writing skills. Aerospace engineers must be able both to write papers that explain their designs clearly and to create documentation for future reference.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as an aerospace engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires:

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Advancement

Eventually, aerospace engineers may advance to become technical specialists or to supervise a team of engineers and technicians. Some may even become engineering managers or move into executive positions, such as program managers.

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Aeronautical Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

75.2%

Unknown

14.0%

Female

10.8%
Ethnicity

White

51.3%

Asian

17.0%

Hispanic or Latino

14.1%

Black or African American

11.7%

Unknown

5.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

35.0%

French

25.0%

German

10.0%

Arabic

10.0%

Italian

10.0%

Portuguese

5.0%

Korean

5.0%
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Aeronautical Engineer Education

Schools

Georgia Institute of Technology -

16.5%

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach

15.3%

Southern Methodist University

10.6%

Purdue University

7.1%

University of Central Florida

5.9%

Wichita State University

5.9%

Ohio State University

4.7%

University of Phoenix

3.5%

Southern Polytechnic State University

3.5%

University of California - Davis

3.5%

University of Texas at Arlington

2.4%

Arizona State University

2.4%

University of Washington

2.4%

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

2.4%

Florida Institute of Technology-Melbourne

2.4%

Villanova University

2.4%

Brigham Young University

2.4%

State University of New York Buffalo

2.4%

University of New Orleans

2.4%

California Institute of Technology

2.4%
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Majors

Aerospace Engineering

37.8%

Mechanical Engineering

24.9%

Engineering

5.3%

Business

4.3%

Systems Engineering

3.3%

Project Management

2.9%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.9%

Electrical Engineering

2.9%

Computer Science

1.9%

Aviation

1.9%

Physics

1.9%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.4%

Mathematics

1.4%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.4%

Management

1.0%

Finance

1.0%

Mechatronics And Robotics

1.0%

Industrial Technology

1.0%

Mathematics And Computer Science

1.0%

Computer Engineering

1.0%
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Degrees

Masters

42.4%

Bachelors

37.9%

Other

7.4%

Doctorate

7.0%

Certificate

2.5%

Diploma

2.1%

Associate

0.8%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$88,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$55,000
Min 10%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$141,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
L3 Technologies
Highest Paying City
Menlo Park, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
4.8 years
How much does an Aeronautical Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Aeronautical Engineer in the United States is $88,493 per year or $43 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $55,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $141,000.

Real Aeronautical Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Aeronautical Engineer-Research & Development Spectral Sky Henderson, NV Nov 28, 2016 $140,000
Aeronautical Engineer Quiet Wing Aerospace LLC Redmond, WA Apr 01, 2015 $123,000
Aeronautical Engineer Triumph Engineering Corp. Cincinnati, OH Sep 21, 2009 $110,251
Aeronautical Engineer Inventory Inspector Banyan Air Services, Inc. Fort Lauderdale, FL Nov 04, 2013 $100,429
Aeronautical Engineer SGT, Inc. Fieldbrook, CA Dec 15, 2011 $100,006
Engineer, Aeronautics Element Technica, LLC Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2010 $100,000
Aeronautic Engineer 4 L-3 National Security Solutions, Inc. Houston, TX May 16, 2012 $98,384
Aeronautical Engineer Aircrafters, LLC Watsonville, CA Oct 01, 2009 $95,125
Aeronautical Engineer Structural Integrity Engineering Mukilteo, WA Nov 12, 2014 $89,960
Lead Aeronautical Engineer Aerocine Ventures Inc. New York, NY Aug 25, 2016 $85,010
Aeronautical Engineer Triumph Engineering Corp. Cincinnati, OH Jul 02, 2010 $83,200
Aeronautical Engineer Sky Creation, Inc. Long Beach, CA Oct 01, 2011 $80,955
Aeronautical Engineer Sky CR Gardena, CA Oct 01, 2011 $80,955
Aeronautical Engineer Sky Creation, Inc. Gardena, CA Oct 01, 2011 $80,955
Aeronautical Engineers Air Elements, Inc. Torrance, CA Oct 01, 2010 $80,266 -
$38
Aeronautical Engineer Desktop Aeronautics, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Oct 01, 2009 $80,000
Aeronautical Engineer Fraunhofer USA, Inc. Plymouth, MI Jan 29, 2010 $72,000
Aeronautical Engineer Design, Analysis and Research Corporation Lawrence, KS Sep 14, 2013 $72,000
Aeronautical Engineer Aerosonic LLC Clearwater, FL Jan 09, 2016 $70,000
Aeronautical Engineer Castor Aviation Ltd. Wasilla, AK Oct 01, 2013 $63,570
Aeronautical Engineer Cessna Aircraft Company Wichita, KS Aug 28, 2013 $63,107
Associate Aeronautical Engineer Sonnet Technologies, Inc. Irvine, CA Sep 22, 2016 $63,086
Aeronautical Engineer Atlantic Aviation Group, Inc. Miami, FL Oct 01, 2012 $62,000
Aeronautical Engineer National Aerotech Aviation, Inc. Hampton, GA Nov 12, 2012 $60,335
Aeronautical Engineer Design, Analysis and Research Corporation Lawrence, KS Jun 08, 2011 $60,000
Aeronautical Engineer Design, Analysis and Research Corporation Lawrence, KS Jun 13, 2011 $60,000

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Top Skills for An Aeronautical Engineer

  1. Catia
  2. Launch Vehicle
  3. Engineering Department
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Wire Harness installation: Designed wire routing for F16 program for Production and Retrofit programs using E3D, CATIA V4.
  • Reassessed analysis documents from launch vehicle providers.
  • Developed engineering department ISO9001 standard operating and quality control procedures.
  • Worked in airframe and systems aircraft design, field & production support, and new product development.
  • Led 30 flight test events as a Test Conductor to expand F-35 BF4 ordinance capability at subsonic and supersonic speeds.

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Top 10 Best States for Aeronautical Engineers

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Virginia
  3. Texas
  4. Alabama
  5. Maryland
  6. California
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Georgia
  9. Alaska
  10. Louisiana
  • (152 jobs)
  • (691 jobs)
  • (746 jobs)
  • (138 jobs)
  • (309 jobs)
  • (1,760 jobs)
  • (314 jobs)
  • (302 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)
  • (62 jobs)

Top Aeronautical Engineer Employers

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