The aerospace industry is made up of both public and private sector jobs. Many employment opportunities within the industry will work to develop spacecrafts, missiles, tanks, and aircrafts. Half of the aerospace industry comes from working on defense projects. The aerospace sector is considered one the most powerful and influential markets in the United States. It directly employs 500,000 workers and indirectly creates an additional 700,000 jobs. Around 1/4th of aerospace positions are engineers, scientists, and technicians. Within aerospace, aviation is a rapidly developing industry. It increased at a rate of 14% year over year.
Most aerospace positions will require at least a bachelor’s degree. Those desiring to work within the aerospace industry will obtain a degree in one of the following fields: aerospace engineering, computer science, software engineering, mechanical engineering, and physics. Those within the aerospace industry also may obtain a professional engineering license which gives them a competitive edge when applying for upper-level positions. To obtain a professional engineering license four years of work experience is generally required. In order to obtain the license, two separate exams must be passed. Furthermore, obtaining a master’s degree in aerospace engineering or a related field will increase the chances of landing a more prestigious aerospace position. Additionally, internships are a key component in becoming a desirable candidate. At certain universities, students can participate in a 5-year program that will give them a bachelor and master’s degree upon completion. It is important that programs in aerospace are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
What to Expect
Aerospace engineers make an average salary of just over $100,000 per year. Most engineers will spend a majority of their time in the office working with different types of design software. They can generally expect to work regular schedules which would consist of 40 hours per week, Monday-Friday. Engineers may work extra hours if the project they are working on is time sensitive. Specific job duties within the aerospace industry include but aren’t limited to: determine if a project meets safety standards, inspect malfunction equipment and identify solutions, assess project proposals to determine if they are feasible. Overall, those working in aerospace will be responsible for coordination, design, and testing of newly developed aerospace products. The field requires professionals to be able to communicate well and work with others on multiple projects. Those wishing to advance within the aerospace field may become engineering manager as well as program managers after acquiring job experience.