Aerospace Engineering: 10 Steps to Becoming a Top Aerospace Engineer

An aerospace engineer designs and tests working prototype for aircraft and spacecraft. The highly technical discipline of aerospace engineering rewards workers with outstanding pay, benefits, and job satisfaction.  This post is your complete guide to a career in aerospace engineering, including aerospace engineering salary, job, universities and education requirements.

Who is an aerospace engineer?

For those working as aeronautical engineers, the following duties are typical:

  • Design, develop, and test technologies for use in space exploration or on airplanes
  • Examine ideas and suggestions for new technologies and decide whether they would result in goods that were either practical or functional.
  • To assure the usability, dependability, and safety of developed products, conduct and supervise testing.
  • Test components to determine which ones are malfunctioning.
  • Develop strategies for the design and development budget and timetable in collaboration with project management.

Where Can You Find an Aerospace Engineer?

Most of the time, aerospace engineers operate in an office environment with sophisticated software and cutting-edge hardware. An aerospace engineer might occasionally find themself working in a production setting so they can supervise the implementation of a design.

Full-time employees with set schedules are aerospace engineers. However, handling larger projects may necessitate working more hours, especially when deadlines are drawing near.

Aerospace Engineering Salary on the Average

The average annual income for aerospace engineers is $118,610. The median income for the bottom 10% is $72,770, while the median income for the top 10% is $171,220. A pay grade is frequently the product of managerial jobs.

Most Aerospace Engineers work for aerospace parts manufacturers, with smaller percentages working for private research facilities and engineering firms.

Jobs Demands in Aerospace Engineering

Between 2020 and 2030, there will be a projected 8% growth in the need for aerospace engineers. For the objectives of national defense, aircraft will always be needed. Additionally, the growing concern for environmental safety will need changes to plans in order to improve fuel efficiency.

Aerospace engineers can handle the problems that their line of work presents if they have the necessary training and experience. Candidates for the position of aeronautical engineer must be capable of performing the duties listed below and others like them, depending on their industry and company.

Senior positions in aerospace engineering are more likely to have administrative responsibilities such as:

  • Processes for developing and manufacturing aircraft
  • Aerospace system risk analysis
  • Make strategies and plans for risk reduction.
  • team cohesion, expenses, timeliness, and engineering team performance
    certificates submitted
  • Create presentations for your workgroup(s), clients, and outside business connections, then deliver them. Take up a leading position in activities relating to your industry.

What Academic Requirements to Become an Aerospace Engineer?

A bachelor’s degree, often in aerospace engineering, is needed to work as an aerospace engineer. Some academic programs at universities include 5-year options that let students complete both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in that time. The ABET has recognized all programs in aerospace engineering.

While there is no need for licensing for entry-level professions, more sophisticated Aerospace Engineering degrees will probably require a Professional Engineer (PE) certification.

State-specific criteria may differ, but the majority call for an accredited engineering degree, professional engineering test success, and job experience.

The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam and the Professional Engineering Exam must also be passed.

It frequently takes a lot of work experience and seeing an experienced aerospace engineer to land a managerial position in the field.

Read also: Aerospace Technician Salary and Job

10 Steps to Becoming an Aerospace Engineer

Aerospace engineering is a highly specialized discipline that requires highly trained professionals. The steps to start this career are as follows:

1. Enroll in high school math and science courses

Take advanced math and science courses including physics, trigonometry, calculus, computer programming, and chemistry to get ready for a career as an aircraft engineer. You can increase your chances of being accepted into a degree program by getting high grades in these classes.

If you previously graduated from high school and are seeking a job change, adult education classes may be necessary to make sure you have the information and abilities necessary to enter a suitable degree program. Even funding from your existing job may be available to advance your career. To find out what is accessible, try contacting management or human resources.

2. Pick appropriate extracurricular activities and hobbies

Take part in extracurricular activities and hobbies that are related to the aircraft industry. You can improve your analytical and problem-solving abilities as well as your knowledge and expertise in science by choosing the correct hobbies and interests.

Think of puzzle-solving, engineering projects, strategy games, and computer programming. Additionally, take advantage of any chances to go to engineering clubs or summer camps.

3. Earn a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering

A bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering is typically required by businesses. Choose a university that is approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology to complete this four-year degree program (ABET).

Some universities provide part-time courses for those who are currently employed. You might be able to enter engineering with less education if you already have a lot of work experience in the field. With your employer, go over your alternatives.

4. Choose a suitable minor

To increase your employability, pick a minor that is relevant. It’s crucial to enroll in additional classes as needed to advance your knowledge. Since you will be required to create reports and comprehend commercial processes in this sector, writing and business abilities might increase your employability in a cutthroat market.

5. Complete a co-op or internship program.

Even though it’s not required, an internship with an aerospace company can improve your abilities and your resume. Consider doing an internship to gain experience and begin networking inside the aerospace sector. Numerous degree programs collaborate with nearby companies to provide possibilities for job experience. If you’re already working, see if you can shadow an engineer to better grasp what they do.

6. Earn a graduate degree in aerospace engineering

Even though you are not required to have a graduate degree, think about getting one to improve your employability. A five-year curriculum that combines a bachelor’s and master’s degree is offered by some universities. If you already hold a bachelor’s degree in a related field like physics, you might be able to enter a master’s program in aeronautical engineering.

7. Submit applications for entry-level jobs and apprenticeships.

To improve your credentials, look for internships and entry-level jobs. Think about submitting an application to the business where you completed your co-op or internship. Additionally, it is important to take into account local, state, and federal aerospace companies and organizations.

You must be a citizen of the United States or be eligible for permanent residency to work for a government organization like NASA. You require a security clearance to operate in the defense industry, including on contracts related to defense in the private sector.

8. Work in a related job

If you are unable to immediately land the engineering employment you desire, consider working in a related field. Because aerospace engineering is so hard, finding job could take some time. However, a similar position like an aerospace technician can help you expand your contacts and industry knowledge. You might be qualified for an aircraft engineering employment after gaining some worthwhile experience.

9. Join a professional organization

Consider becoming a member of a professional organization in this area. You can benefit from several chances for networking and education by joining organizations like the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

10. Obtain a license.

To grow in your career and become a professional engineer, obtain a state license, even though it is not required for an entry-level employment. In general, you need a degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program, a passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, and a passing score on the Professional Engineering exam.

Exact criteria differ from state to state. Additional relevant job experience is required. Usually, it takes four years or more.

Read also: The Best 3 Online Aviation Degree in the USA

Skills for Aerospace Engineering

The field of aerospace engineering calls for a wide range of talents. You need the following abilities to thrive in this career:


The capacity to apply mathematics to solve issues on a daily basis is referred to as numeracy skills. This ability is used by aerospace engineers for a variety of tasks, including computer-aided design and form modeling. They also use it for work-related troubleshooting.

Analytical skills:

Having analytical skills means you’re able to simplify information into smaller bits of information in order to draw various conclusions. This ability is used by aerospace engineers to see potential design flaws and come up with workable alternatives.

Business skills:

This describes your capacity to comprehend both organizational and customer behavior and to use this understanding to support a company’s success. Aerospace engineers use their commercial savvy to assist them adhere to regulations set forth by the federal government. You must be knowledgeable about accepted business procedures and commercial legislation in order to satisfy these standards.

What Kind of Societies and Professional Organizations Do Aerospace Engineers Have?

For helpful resources, aerospace engineers can look through these businesses and websites:

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s biggest organization of professionals devoted to aerospace engineering. This company was founded in the United States but has since expanded internationally. Through events, ongoing education, and advocacy work for topics pertaining to the sector, they serve as the top aerospace publisher in the world and serve as a place for professional discussion.

Over 138,000 engineers and designers who work in the transportation industry are members of SAE International. Most of these participants are employed by the aerospace sector. The SAE offers databases of industry-specific journals, conferences that keep engineers current on emerging technology, and a useful career center for those wishing to broaden their horizons.

An honors organization designed exclusively for students majoring in aerospace engineering is called Sigma Gamma Tau: National Aerospace Engineering Honor Society. Students who have excelled academically and attended an ABET-accredited program are admitted to the society. Aerospace engineers who have made a major contribution to the industry are also allowed to join.

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