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Aerospace Engineer

An aerospace engineer designs, tests, and manages the electronic manufacturing of aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles. They also test electronic prototypes to make sure they function properly according to design, and develop new technologies to be used in space exploration, aviation, and defense systems.

Aerospace engineers can specialize in a specific type of electrical aerospace product, such as missiles and rockets, military fighter jets, spacecraft, helicopters, or commercial aircraft. Or they may choose to specialize in specific areas, such as instrumentation and communication, navigation and control, electronic structural design, guidance, or production methods.

Aerospace Engineer

What does an Aerospace Engineer do?

Aerospace Engineer

Aerospace engineers design, analyze, test, troubleshoot and develop advanced technology in defense systems, spacecraft, and aviation. They develop the standards for quality control and design processes, identify issues for products that aren’t working properly, and try to find solutions to fix those issues.

Aerospace engineers may choose to specialize in areas such as aerodynamic fluid flow, structural design, guidance / navigation and control, instrumentation and communication, robotics, or propulsion and combustion. All of the specialties require electronics!

They can specialize in designing different types of aerospace electrical products, such as commercial and military airplanes and helicopters, remotely piloted aircraft and rotorcraft, spacecraft, including launch vehicles and satellites, and military missiles and rockets.

  • Design & Assemble Aircrafts

    Aerospace engineers direct, coordinate, produce and implement design, manufacture and test procedures. They measure and improve performance of aircraft, systems, and components. They assist in assembling aircraft and test, evaluate, modify and re-test products.

  • Project Finance

    They determine if projects are technically and financially feasible. These engineers also go over budgets, timescales, and specifications with clients.

  • Analyze & Interpret Data

    These engineers do theoretical and practical research for projects and provide technical advice. They also write reports, manuals and documentation.

  • Quality Assurance

    Aerospace engineers determine proposed projects will meet quality standards and result in safe aircraft and parts. They are responsible for inspecting malfunctioning or damaged products and identifying sources of problems and possible solutions.

Aeronautical Engineer

An aeronautical engineer uses his/her technical knowledge to study an aircraft’s aerodynamic performance. This includes the aircraft’s materials, propulsion system, and aircraft design.


Aeronautical engineers design, develop, manufacture and maintain both civil aircraft and military aircraft, aeronautical systems and aeronautical components in order to improve fuel efficiency and improve flight safety. They also keep in mind the importance of reducing costs and lowering the environmental impact of air travel.

Astronautical Engineer

Astronautical engineering deals primarily with overseeing the entire process for the development of spacecraft that functions outside the atmosphere of Earth (versus an aeronautical engineer who deals primarily with aircraft that functions inside the atmosphere of Earth).


An astronautical engineer, also known as a rocket scientist, studies spacecraft and focuses on areas that include thermodynamics, aerodynamics, celestial mechanics, propulsion, guidance systems, and flight mechanics.


Spacecraft may include products such as: rockets, remote sensing satellites, missiles, space launchers, space vehicles, navigational systems, planetary probes, and communication / direct broadcasting / reconnaissance satellites.



Aerospace engineers earn an average yearly salary of $118,610


Starting-level aerospace engineer earnings begin at:

$34.99 per hour
$72,770 per year

Senior-level aerospace engineer earnings begin at:

$71.43 per hour
$148,570 per year

Mid-level aerospace engineer earnings begin at:

$57.02 per hour
$118,610 per year

Top-level aerospace engineer earnings begin at:

$82.32 per hour
$171,220 per year

Junior-level aerospace engineer earnings begin at:

$43.98 per hour
$91,480 per year

These are 2021 national salary averages and may fluctuate based on location.

What does the workplace for an Aerospace Engineer look like?

Aerospace engineers work in offices, laboratories, or manufacturing environments where they design or build electronics for  aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, or systems for national defense. They work for either private companies or the federal government where they can engage in manufacturing, analysis and design, and research and development.

Typical employers include:

  • Aerospace and aero-engine companies

  • Airline operators

  • Research and development organizations

  • Contract agencies / Consultancies

  • Government agencies such as The Ministry of Defense

Aerospace engineers typically spend a considerable amount of time in office environments, working with computers and sophisticated software programs in order to assist with design elements. These software programs build virtual models, and it is up to the aerospace engineer to run test simulations and perform evaluations before the manufacturing process begins.

How to Become an Aerospace Engineer?

Aerospace Engineer

High school students interested in studying aerospace engineering should take courses in chemistry, physics, and mathematics, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.

Entry-level aerospace engineers usually need a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor degree programs in aerospace engineering are designed to take four years and include classroom, laboratory, and field studies in subjects such as general engineering principles, propulsion, stability and control, structures, mechanics, and aerodynamics (which is the study of how air interacts with moving objects).

Some colleges and universities offer cooperative programs, in partnership with industry, that give students practical experience while they complete their education. Cooperative programs and internships allow students to get valuable experience and to finance part of their education.

At some universities, a student can enroll in a five-year program that leads to both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree upon completion. A graduate degree will allow an engineer to work as an instructor at a university or to do research and development.

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