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What Does it Take to Be an Aerospace Engineer?

Example of Aerospace Engineer Job 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.

A Day in the Life of an Aerospace Engineer

  • Design or engineer filtration systems that reduce harmful emissions.
  • Write technical reports or other documentation, such as handbooks or bulletins, for use by engineering staff, management, or customers.
  • Plan or conduct experimental, environmental, operational, or stress tests on models or prototypes of aircraft or aerospace systems or equipment.
  • Evaluate and approve selection of vendors by studying past performance or new advertisements.
  • Maintain records of performance reports for future reference.
  • Direct or coordinate activities of engineering or technical personnel involved in designing, fabricating, modifying, or testing of aircraft or aerospace products.

Aerospace Engineer Required Skills

When polled, Aerospace Engineers say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.

  • Propulsion Engineer
  • Vibration Engineer
  • Design Engineer
  • Field Engineer
  • Master Lay Out Specialist

Are There Job Opportunities for Aerospace Engineers?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 69,600 jobs in the United States for Aerospace Engineer. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 6% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 4,200 new jobs for Aerospace Engineer by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 4,600 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Aerospace Engineers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Aerospace Engineer are Wisconsin, Utah, and Nevada. Watch out if you plan on working in Washington, West Virginia, or Kansas. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Do Aerospace Engineers Make A Lot Of Money?

The salary for Aerospace Engineers ranges between about $71,640 and $164,210 a year.

Salary Ranges for Aerospace Engineers

Aerospace Engineers who work in District of Columbia, Hawaii, or Virginia, make the highest salaries.

How much do Aerospace Engineers make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $115,820
Alaska $112,890
Arizona $107,230
California $125,540
Colorado $124,070
Connecticut $106,790
District of Columbia $138,480
Florida $105,460
Georgia $114,160
Hawaii $121,100
Illinois $108,520
Indiana $95,390
Iowa $110,770
Kansas $105,540
Kentucky $98,650
Louisiana $117,170
Maryland $127,330
Massachusetts $119,700
Minnesota $113,350
Mississippi $110,760
Missouri $114,570
Montana $91,940
Nebraska $115,120
Nevada $91,850
New Jersey $115,850
New Mexico $114,340
New York $115,420
North Carolina $100,080
Ohio $112,480
Oklahoma $92,460
Oregon $109,250
Pennsylvania $108,300
Tennessee $88,180
Texas $122,570
Utah $105,320
Virginia $127,390
West Virginia $90,710
Wisconsin $85,880

What Tools do Aerospace Engineers Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Aerospace Engineers:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Python
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Microsoft Project
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Microsoft Visio
  • The MathWorks MATLAB
  • Linux
  • Microsoft Visual Basic
  • Extensible markup language XML
  • UNIX
  • National Instruments LabVIEW
  • C
  • Dassault Systemes CATIA
  • Practical extraction and reporting language Perl

Becoming an Aerospace Engineer

What education is needed to be an Aerospace Engineer?

Aerospace Engineer Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Aerospace Engineer Work Experience

Where Aerospace Engineers Work

Aerospace Engineer Sectors

Below are examples of industries where Aerospace Engineers work:

Aerospace Engineer Industries

Those thinking about becoming an Aerospace Engineer might also be interested in the following careers:


Image Credit: Michel Villeneuve via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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