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Aerospace Engineers Career

Career Description

Perform engineering duties in designing, constructing, and testing aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft. May conduct basic and applied research to evaluate adaptability of materials and equipment to aircraft design and manufacture. May recommend improvements in testing equipment and techniques.

What Job Titles Aerospace Engineers Might Have

  • Aerospace Engineer
  • Design Engineer
  • Flight Test Engineer
  • Systems Engineer

What Aerospace Engineers Do

  • Formulate mathematical models or other methods of computer analysis to develop, evaluate, or modify design, according to customer engineering requirements.
  • Plan or conduct experimental, environmental, operational, or stress tests on models or prototypes of aircraft or aerospace systems or equipment.
  • Formulate conceptual design of aeronautical or aerospace products or systems to meet customer requirements or conform to environmental regulations.
  • Plan or coordinate activities concerned with investigating and resolving customers' reports of technical problems with aircraft or aerospace vehicles.
  • Write technical reports or other documentation, such as handbooks or bulletins, for use by engineering staff, management, or customers.
  • Direct or coordinate activities of engineering or technical personnel involved in designing, fabricating, modifying, or testing of aircraft or aerospace products.
  • Evaluate product data or design from inspections or reports for conformance to engineering principles, customer requirements, environmental regulations, or quality standards.
  • Develop design criteria for aeronautical or aerospace products or systems, including testing methods, production costs, quality standards, environmental standards, or completion dates.
  • Analyze project requests, proposals, or engineering data to determine feasibility, productibility, cost, or production time of aerospace or aeronautical products.
  • Maintain records of performance reports for future reference.
  • Diagnose performance problems by reviewing performance reports or documentation from customers or field engineers or inspecting malfunctioning or damaged products.
  • Direct aerospace research and development programs.
  • Research new materials to determine quality or conformance to environmental standards.

What Aerospace Engineers Should Be Good At

  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

What Aerospace Engineers Should Be Interested In

  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

What Aerospace Engineers Need to Learn

  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Leaf iconThis career is a green occupation.
Median Salary: $109,650

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.