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Aerospace engineering and operations technicians operate and maintain equipment used in testing new aircraft and spacecraft. Increasingly, these workers are being required to program and run computer simulations that test new designs. Their work is critical in preventing the failure of key parts of new aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles. They also help in the quality assurance, testing, and operation of advanced technology equipment used in producing aircraft and the systems that go into the aircraft.Duties
Aerospace engineering and operations technicians typically do the following:
New aircraft designs undergo years of testing before they are put into service, because the failure of key parts during flight can be fatal. As part of the job, technicians often calibrate test equipment, such as wind tunnels, and determine the causes of equipment malfunctions. They also may program and run computer simulations that test the new designs.
Some aerospace engineering and operations technicians are beginning to specialize in three-dimensional printing, or additive manufacturing, as this technology becomes more common in the work they do.
Many employers prefer to hire aerospace engineering and operations technicians who have earned an associate’s degree in engineering technology. Prospective technicians also may earn certificates or diplomas offered by vocational or technical schools. Some aerospace engineering and operations technicians must have security clearances to work on projects related to national defense. U.S. citizenship may be required for certain types and levels of clearances.Education
High school students interested in becoming aerospace engineering and operations technicians should take classes in math, science, and, if available, drafting and computer skills. Courses that help students develop skills working with their hands also are valuable, because these technicians build what aerospace engineers design. In addition, technicians should have a basic understanding of computers and programs in order to model or simulate products.
Aerospace engineering and operations technicians typically need to earn an associate’s degree or a graduate certificate from a community college or vocational–technical school. Community colleges offer programs similar to those in technical institutes but include more theory-based and liberal arts coursework and programs. Community colleges typically award an associate’s degree. Vocational–technical schools include postsecondary public institutions that emphasize training needed by local employers. Students who complete these programs typically receive a diploma or certificate.
The Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET accredits programs that include at least college algebra, trigonometry, and basic science courses.
Many vocational and community colleges offer cooperative programs with work experience built into the curriculum.Important Qualities
Communication skills. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians receive instructions from aerospace engineers. Therefore, they must be able to understand and follow those instructions, as well as communicate any problems to their supervisors.
Critical-thinking skills. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians must be able to help aerospace engineers troubleshoot particular design issues. They must be able to help evaluate system capabilities, identify problems, formulate the right question, and then find the right answer.
Detail oriented. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians make and keep precise measurements needed by aerospace engineers. Consequently, they must make correct measurements and keep accurate records.
Interpersonal skills. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians must be able to take instructions and offer advice. The ability to work well with supervising engineers, other technicians, and mechanics is essential because technicians interact with people from other divisions, businesses, and governments.
Math skills. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians use the principles of mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting tasks in their work.
Mechanical skills. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians must be able to assist aerospace engineers by building what the engineers design. Mechanical skills are needed to help with the processes and directions required to move from design to production.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Although not required for the job, certification is offered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Certification may be beneficial because it shows employers that a technician can carry out the theoretical designs of aerospace engineers.
Both companies and the FAA seek to ensure the highest standards for the safety of the aircraft. SpaceTEC, the National Science Foundation’s Center for Aerospace Technical Education, coordinates a nationwide program through community and technical colleges to help students prepare for certification.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Process Safety Eng/Operations Readiness Technical Safety ENG||Shell Global Solutions (Us) Inc.||Houston, TX||Jan 19, 2015||$147,200|
|Software Engineer, Operations & Technology||Mastercard International Incorporated||San Carlos, CA||Nov 11, 2015||$140,000|
|Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians||SES Engineering (U.S.), Inc.||VA||Feb 21, 2012||$120,000|
|Senior Engineer-Operations Technology||Arcelormittal USA LLC||East Chicago, IN||May 10, 2015||$102,170|
|Tech Yahoo, Serivce Engineer OPS||Yahoo! Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Mar 23, 2015||$101,076 -
|Senior Engineer-Operations Technology||Arcelormittal USA LLC||East Chicago, IN||Jan 12, 2015||$98,325|
|Senior Engineer-Operations Technology||Arcelormittal USA LLC||East Chicago, IN||Apr 21, 2014||$98,325|
|Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians||Rolls-Royce North America Inc.||Fort Worth, TX||Jan 07, 2010||$85,905|
|Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians||SES Engineering (U.S.), Inc.||VA||May 01, 2013||$85,000 -
|Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians||SGT, Inc.||Sioux Falls, SD||Apr 01, 2010||$78,000|
|Engineer-Operating Technology||Arcelormittal USA LLC||Burns Harbor, IN||Aug 03, 2015||$76,875|
|Engineer-Operating Technology||Arcelormittal USA LLC||Burns Harbor, IN||Dec 31, 2012||$75,421 -
|Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technician||Goodrich Aerostructures Division||Chula Vista, CA||Aug 03, 2011||$71,115|
|Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians||Continental Airlines, Inc.||Houston, TX||Oct 15, 2010||$68,000 -
|Project Engineer-Operating Technology||Arcelormittal USA LLC||East Chicago, IN||Dec 31, 2012||$60,870|
|Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technician||Teledyne Technologies Incorporated||El Segundo, CA||Jan 14, 2010||$60,085|
|Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technician||Teledyne Technologies Incorporated||El Segundo, CA||May 20, 2010||$60,085|
|Aerospace Engineering and Operation Technician||Medical Care Development International||Silver Spring, MD||Nov 15, 2010||$54,080|
|Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians||Aeroframe Services, LLC||Lake Charles, LA||Dec 07, 2012||$53,186|
|Aerospace Engineer and Operations Technician||Moller International||Davis, CA||Jan 04, 2016||$48,001|
|Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technologist||Ar-Tech International, Inc.||Setauket-East Setauket, NY||Aug 20, 2015||$42,000|
|Aerospace Engineer and Operations Technician||Superior Air Parts, Inc.||Coppell, TX||Sep 30, 2013||$40,133|
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