Finding the Best Aerospace Engineering Jobs on the Market Today
In almost any elementary school around the country, when a teacher asks her students what they want to be when they grow up, several of them mention that they’d like to be astronauts.
Almost never, however, do children dream about becoming an aerospace engineer, an occupation that helps astronauts get to outer space. Despite the fact that aerospace jobs are growing and pay extremely well, very few people understand what an aerospace engineering definition is.
While less celebrated than being an astronaut and being able to travel to Mars and the Moon, an aerospace engineering career and jobs in aerospace will put anyone at the forefront of the technological world.
Not only will you benefit from the lucrative aerospace engineer salary, but you will also have the opportunity to participate in unique technological innovations that contribute to the advancement and progress of our civilization.
In this brief article, AdvisoryHQ will look at everything related to the aerospace engineering career. We begin by offering an aerospace engineering definition to help you understand the basics of what an aerospace engineer does.
Next, we look at a typical aerospace engineer salary and the aerospace engineering scope to see what types of opportunities are available to you in this line of work.
We also look at how competitive aerospace engineering jobs are and what type of education you will need to one day benefit from the aerospace engineer salary. By the end of the article, you will know everything there is to know about aerospace engineering to determine whether aerospace engineering jobs are for you.
What Is an Aerospace Engineering Career and an Aerospace Engineering Definition?
If you have ever heard someone say: “It’s not rocket science,” they were indirectly referencing the aerospace engineering career. Rocket science is the common and popular name for one branch of aerospace engineering jobs. Jobs in aerospace are commonly thought to be some of the most prestigious and intellectually demanding jobs on the market.
Wikipedia offers the following aerospace engineering definition: “Aerospace engineering is the primary field of engineering concerned with the development of aircraft and spacecraft. It has two major and overlapping branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering.”
Collegegrad.com, a website that explains different career choices, offers another aerospace engineering definition: “Aerospace engineers design primarily aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles. In addition, they test prototypes to make sure that they function according to design.”
In essence, the aerospace engineering career allows people to participate in the exciting work of designing, maintaining, and developing airplanes and spacecraft. Before the space age began, the aerospace engineering scope just included the design and development of different types of airplanes.
With our exploration of outer space, astronautical engineering became another exciting branch within this field of study.
An aerospace engineer is the person who makes sure that when you get in a plane, you can sleep during the flight without worrying that the plane will fall from the sky. Our ability to fly is no small feat and there are a number of different disciplines that go into an aerospace engineering definition.
When a plane, satellite, or space shuttle is built, there are usually experts from several specific engineering disciplines who make up a team.
These can include aerodynamics, propulsion, avionics, materials science, structural analysis, and manufacturing.
A more complete aerospace engineering definition, then, is that it is the interaction and relationship between these different branches of engineering technology.
Image Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
All-in-One Change Management Tools
Top Rated Toolkit for Change Managers.
Get Your Change Management Tool Today...
A Typical Aerospace Engineer Salary
Apart from the prestige of being able to call yourself a “rocket scientist,” learning about aerospace engineering also brings with it the added benefit of pulling in a pretty decent paycheck. Besides offering you a decent salary to live on, an aerospace engineer salary comes with a number of perks and opportunities to grow that we will explore below.
Image source: Pexels
The average aerospace engineer salary for 2014, according to College Grad, was just over $105,000. When compared to other introductory jobs, this is several times higher than most jobs college graduates can find. In 2015, the median aerospace engineer salary rose to over $107,000, showing that there is a high demand for these types of jobs and that the aerospace engineer salary can be expected to continue to climb.
Another benefit to the aerospace engineer salary are the bonuses and benefits that come with it. Payscale.com finds that “for aerospace engineers, bonuses and commissions account for a significant portion of income and add up to 500 percent of their $83K yearly pay.
In the world of Aerospace Engineers, total cash compensation can vary between $59K and $132K. Each package generally includes bonuses and profit sharing proceeds, and in exceptional cases, those amounts can reach heights of $10K and $22K, respectively.”
For people who are looking for a solid career option that will allow them to be at the forefront of technological innovation while still getting a decent paycheck, aerospace engineering jobs (and the aerospace engineer salary that goes with it) are a quality choice.
Aerospace Engineering Scope
Another of the added benefits to aerospace engineering jobs is the wide-ranging aerospace engineering scope. There are a number of different aerospace jobs out there in a diverse number of fields.
As an aerospace engineer, you can get a job designing and working on civilian aircraft for the aviation industry. However, there are also a number of government-related jobs within the aerospace engineering career.
Due to our politically unstable world, the government is always offering jobs in aerospace to help design and develop defense systems. Furthermore, as more and more private companies begin to venture into space, there is expected to be an increase in aerospace engineering jobs with those private companies.
The most famous example is Elon Musk’s company SpaceX. This private company has plans to send humans to Mars and eventually create a long-term human colony. Obviously, such a venture entails thousands of aerospace engineering jobs. Plus, being sent to Mars is a pretty unique job benefit.
One of the downsides of the aerospace engineering industry is that it is responsible for huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions that are a major cause in global warming and climate change. Aircraft of all kinds are extremely dependent on fossil fuels and emit large amounts of pollution.
As global climate change has become more obvious and problematic, there is a push to try and make aviation “greener.” Many of the new aerospace engineering jobs are to be found in helping companies find ways to produce more fuel-efficient aircraft.
Additionally, since airplanes cause noise pollution in major cities, another of the main aerospace engineering jobs in the future is to be found in making more silent airplanes.
While some estimates find that between 2014 and 2024 the demand for aerospace engineering jobs will actually decrease by close to 2%, those figures might be incorrect if the private space industry begins to take off and if the “greening” of the aviation industry adds jobs to the economy.
How Competitive Is It to Find Jobs in Aerospace?
One would think that any job where the average salary is over $100,000 would be ultra-competitive, and the same is true for aerospace engineering jobs. And that 2 percent decline predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will likely cause this industry to increase in competitiveness.
Despite the expected loss of jobs over the next decade, the quality aerospace engineer salary is enough of an incentive to draw many people into the field.
Image Source: Aerospace Engineering Schools
However, as older aerospace engineers move toward retirement, there should be more jobs in the aerospace industry available. Forbes magazine finds that over 25% of people with aerospace engineering jobs are over the age of 55, meaning that thousands of aerospace engineering jobs should become available in the coming years.
Furthermore, there is expected to be a loss of government jobs for the aerospace engineer since governments around the world are trying to reduce their defense spending budgets. However, as the do-it-yourself drone movement begins to take off, you might even be able to create your own job in the aerospace industry.
What Type of Education Do You Need to Become an Aerospace Engineer and Find Aerospace Jobs?
Though you might think that aerospace jobs would require you to have several post doctorate degrees, the reality is that you can get your start in an aerospace engineering career with only a bachelor’s degree.
Obviously, the aerospace engineer salary will improve as you increase your education, but you can get your start in this promising field with only four years of college education.
If you are looking to become an aerospace engineer, you will need to first find a college or university that has an aerospace engineering undergraduate program. There are dozens of universities with quality aerospace engineering programs. Some even offer a five year program of study where you can get both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree as an aerospace engineer.
Whichever course of study you choose, you need to make sure that the program is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Once you complete your studies you will also need to get a certificate before you can apply for aerospace engineering jobs.
If you are planning to work for the U.S. government for certain defense-related projects, you may need to be a U.S. citizen and also receive special clearance for these high profile aerospace engineering jobs.
Conclusion – Everything You Need to Know About Aerospace Engineering and Aerospace Engineering Jobs
Learning about aerospace engineering can lead to you one of the most fascinating and exciting careers out there. Besides being able to tell your friends that you are a rocket scientist, you will also be in the midst of one of the most technologically advanced industries.
As humans venture further into space, jobs in aerospace will not only continue to grow, but will put you at the forefront of the challenge of making us a truly space-traveling species.
Furthermore, the aerospace engineer salary is one of the best on the market for engineers and also offers a number of unique bonuses and benefits that can push your salary upward. At $100,000 a year, the average aerospace engineer salary is one of the best entry-level salaries for recent college graduates.
If you are considering becoming an aerospace engineer, the first thing you will need to do is find a college or university with a bachelor’s program in aerospace engineering. During your course of study, you will be able to settle on any number of specializations according to your own particular interests.
This specialization will allow you to become an important part of an aeronautics or astronautics research and development team.
Whichever direction you choose within the industry, there are dozens of unique specializations in an aerospace engineering career. Any of the possible aerospace engineering jobs will give you a lifetime of interesting work with a pretty decent paycheck as well.
AdvisoryHQ (AHQ) Disclaimer:
Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info.
Note: Firms and products, including the one(s) reviewed above, may be AdvisoryHQ's affiliates. Click to view AdvisoryHQ's advertiser disclosures.