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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:
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.
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:
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.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Aerospace Engineer, Senior||ADEX Aerospace, Inc.||Anaheim, CA||Nov 27, 2015||$159,224|
|Research Aerospace Engineer||SGT, Inc.||Fieldbrook, CA||Jan 18, 2016||$155,002|
|Aerospace Engineer||559185 Ontario Limited||Savannah, GA||Jun 08, 2015||$149,760|
|Aerospace Engineer||Zee.AERO Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Jan 08, 2016||$148,500|
|Aerospace Engineer||Facebook, Inc.||Menlo Park, CA||Apr 07, 2016||$138,125|
|Aerospace Engineers||CTS Technical Services, Inc.||Bellingham, WA||Jul 30, 2013||$136,802|
|Aerospace Engineer IV||AAI Corporation||Huntingtown, MD||Mar 06, 2016||$130,000|
|Aerospace Engineer||Zee.AERO Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Aug 01, 2013||$125,000|
|Aerospace Engineers||Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation||Savannah, GA||Sep 11, 2014||$124,426|
|Aerospace Engineers||Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation||Savannah, GA||Aug 19, 2014||$124,426|
|Aerospace Engineer||Quest Global Services-Na, Inc.||Riverside, CA||Dec 03, 2016||$124,000|
|Aerospace Engineers||Onward Technologies Inc.||Rosemont, IL||Aug 21, 2014||$123,011|
|Aerospace Engineer (Loads)||CTS Technical Services, Inc.||Savannah, GA||Sep 01, 2014||$121,046|
|Aerospace Engineers||Fastcol Inc.||Miami, FL||Aug 26, 2013||$120,931|
|Aerospace Engineer||Advanced Rotorcraft Technology, Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Dec 01, 2014||$105,477|
|Aerospace Engineer||Advanced Rotorcraft Technology, Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||May 01, 2013||$105,123|
|Aerospace Engineer||Advanced Rotorcraft Technology, Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Sep 01, 2013||$105,123|
|Aerospace Engineers||SGT, Inc.||Fieldbrook, CA||Oct 31, 2013||$105,123|
|Aerospace Engineers||SGT, Inc.||Fieldbrook, CA||May 09, 2013||$105,123|
|Aerospace Engineers||Volt Management Corp.||Everett, WA||Oct 25, 2013||$104,350|
|Aerospace Engineers||Colorado State University||Fort Collins, CO||Aug 11, 2014||$104,000|
|Aerospace Engineers||Advanced Technology Innovation Corporation||Wrentham, MA||Jun 21, 2016||$102,000 -
|Aerospace Engineers||Recaro Aircraft Seating, Inc.||Fort Worth, TX||Jan 09, 2013||$88,192|
|Aerospace Engineers||Recaro Aircraft Seating, Inc.||Fort Worth, TX||Jul 08, 2013||$88,192|
|Aerospace Engineers||Aerometals||El Dorado Hills, CA||Jun 04, 2013||$88,109|
|Aerospace Engineer||Cascade Engineering Services, Inc.||Redmond, WA||Jan 10, 2016||$88,006|
|Assistant Professor-Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering||Syracuse University||Syracuse, NY||Jan 04, 2016||$88,000|
|Aerospace Engineers||SGT, Inc.||Fieldbrook, CA||May 09, 2013||$87,901|
|Aerospace Engineer||Planet Labs Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Jan 20, 2016||$87,500|
|Aerospace Engineer||Planet Labs Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Sep 15, 2016||$87,500|
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