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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.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Operations Technician
Top Careers After Operations Technician
Hispanic or Latino11.8%
Black or African American0.6%
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University of Phoenix26.3%
Community College of the Air Force8.6%
University of Houston4.7%
University of Maryland - University College3.9%
Middle Tennessee State University3.5%
Pennsylvania State University3.5%
Texas A&M University3.4%
Northern Virginia Community College3.0%
Colorado Technical University3.0%
University of Missouri - Columbia2.8%
Indiana State University2.8%
Wake Technical Community College2.6%
Grand Rapids Community College2.6%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Director of Operations and Technology||Vital Intel Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Nov 05, 2016||$179,733|
|Director of Operations & Mems Technology||Sand 9, Inc.||Cambridge, MA||Sep 15, 2014||$167,300 -
|Director of Operations/Information Technology||Netready USA, Inc.||Weston, FL||Mar 23, 2016||$167,000|
|Manager, Operations Technology||Pacific Gas & Electric Company||San Francisco, CA||Jul 01, 2011||$146,433|
|Manager, Operations Technology||Pacific Gas & Electric Company||San Francisco, CA||May 15, 2011||$146,433|
|Procurement Operations IT Relationship Lead||AIG Employee Services, Inc.||Jersey City, NJ||Feb 15, 2016||$140,000|
|Manager, Operations IT||HSBC Securities (USA) Inc.||Jersey City, NJ||Jun 25, 2010||$140,000|
|FSO-PI-Insurance OPS Tech Enablement-Manager(Mult.Pos)||Ernst & Young U.S. LLP||Redwood City, CA||Aug 08, 2016||$136,618 -
|Director of Operations and Technology||Vital Intel Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Aug 01, 2015||$110,000|
|Head of Technical Operations IT||Shire Human Genetic Therapies Inc.||Lexington, MA||Sep 02, 2014||$94,910|
|Manager, Operations Technology||American Security Insurance Company||Springfield, OH||Jul 02, 2015||$88,000|
|Director, Operations and Technology||Anfield Group, LLC||Newport Beach, CA||Oct 21, 2010||$82,008|
|Associate Director, Operations/Technology||San Francisco State University||San Francisco, CA||Oct 15, 2009||$79,934 -
|Lead Operations Technician||Springbok Services||Englewood, CO||Jan 25, 2008||$78,033|
|Tech OPS Technician||Jpmorgan Chase & Co.||Newark, DE||Jul 26, 2016||$70,000|
|Ad Operations Technician||Cardomain Network, Inc.||Los Angeles, CA||Sep 06, 2011||$68,000|
|Fabrications Operations Technician||Adecco USA, Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Oct 14, 2014||$65,600|
|Operations Technician||Box, Inc.||Los Altos, CA||Sep 24, 2013||$58,500 -
|DIR. of Telecommunication Operations & Technology||Quantum Exilient Incorporated||San Andreas, CA||Jun 02, 2014||$53,914 -
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