About the Career
Aerospace engineers may develop new technologies for use in aviation, defense systems, and spacecraft. They often specialize in designing different types of aerospace 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.
On the job you will:
- Direct and coordinate the design, manufacture, and testing of aircraft and aerospace products
- Assess proposals for projects to determine if they are technically and financially feasible
- Determine if proposed projects will result in safe aircraft and parts
- Evaluate designs to see that the products meet engineering principles, customer requirements, and environmental challenges
- Develop acceptance criteria for design methods, quality standards, sustainment after delivery, and completion dates
- Ensure that projects meet quality standards
- Inspect malfunctioning or damaged products to identify sources of problems and possible solutions
Other specialized areas of interest include aerodynamic fluid flow; structural design; guidance, navigation, and control; instrumentation and communication; robotics; or propulsion and combustion.
Aerospace engineers often become experts in one or more related fields: aerodynamics, thermodynamics, celestial mechanics, flight mechanics, propulsion, acoustics, and guidance and control systems. On comprehensive and long-term projects, an entire team of these kinds of engineers may work together to complete a task.
Education and Training
Aerospace engineers must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering or some other field of engineering or science related to aerospace systems. Some aerospace engineers work on projects that are related to national defense and thus require security clearances. A master's degree will make aerospace engineers more valuable to prospective employers and expand practical applications of their education.
U.S. citizenship may be required for certain types and levels of clearances.
Information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Descriptions are based on general guidelines and industry standards and job duties may vary by employer and specific industry. Labor projections utilize data for the North Central Texas region and may vary from national statistics.