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Top 15 Aerospace Engineering Degree Jobs

By Agwaonye Samuel

Published:

Do you dream of soaring through the skies, exploring outer space, or designing the next generation of cutting-edge aircraft and spacecraft?

Aerospace engineering, a discipline that combines the marvels of science and technology, is your ticket to achieving these ambitious aspirations. As the world hurtles into an era of unprecedented technological advancement and exploration, aerospace engineers find themselves at the forefront of innovation, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

This article is your guide to the 15 Best Aerospace Engineering Degree Jobs, each offering a unique and thrilling journey into the world of aerospace. From designing spacecraft that venture into the cosmos to ensuring the safety and efficiency of commercial aviation, the aerospace engineering field encompasses a wide spectrum of opportunities.

  • Aerospace Engineer
  • Aerospace Technician
  • Academic Researcher
  • College Professor
  • CAD Technician
  • Inspector and Compliance Officer
  • Flight Test Technician
  • Aircraft/Spacecraft Designer
  • Mission or Payload Specialist
  • Data Processing Manager
  • Design Engineer
  • Materials Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Maintenance Engineer
  • Manufacturing Systems Engineer
degree guide aerospace engineering

1. Aerospace Engineer


Aerospace engineers are the architects of flight, responsible for designing, developing, and testing aircraft, spacecraft, and related systems. They play a crucial role in advancing aerospace technology and ensuring the safety and efficiency of aviation and space exploration.

As an Aerospace Engineer

You’ll be responsible for designing, developing, and testing aircraft, spacecraft, and related technologies. You’ll also work with multidisciplinary teams, conduct research, and use advanced computer software to model and analyze aerospace designs.

Benefits

  • Lucrative Compensation: You will earn competitive salaries as experienced aerospace engineers often earn significantly above industry averages.
  • Thrilling Projects: You will engage in exciting projects and participating in missions to explore outer space or enhance global aviation.
  • Career Progression: Working as an aerospace engineer gives you the opportunities for career growth and specialization in areas such as aerodynamics, propulsion, or avionics.
  • Premier Collaborations: You will get the chance to collaborate with leading aerospace companies and esteemed government agencies like NASA.
  • Job Demand: Highly robust industry means strong demand for skilled professionals with excellent job security and long-term career prospects.

Working Conditions

Aerospace engineers commonly work in offices, laboratories, or manufacturing plants. They may also engage in fieldwork in hangars, airfields, or test facilities. The role occasionally involves travel for client meetings, conferences, or supervision of testing procedures. Due to the nature of their work, aerospace engineers must comply with stringent safety regulations and procedures.

Further Studies

To excel as an aerospace engineer, consider:

  • Advanced Education: While not always mandatory, pursuing a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering or a related field can provide you with advanced knowledge and expertise. Consider programs that focus on areas like aerodynamics, propulsion, or aerospace systems design.
  • Certifications: Earning relevant certifications in aerospace engineering can showcase your expertise and commitment to excellence in the field. Consider certifications such as the Associate Safety Professional (ASP) or Certified Aerospace Engineer (CAE) to bolster your qualifications and gain a competitive edge in the job market.
  • Internships and Co-op Programs: Practical experience is invaluable in aerospace engineering. Seek out internships or cooperative education (co-op) programs with aerospace companies or research institutions. 
  • Continual Learning: Aerospace engineering is a field that is constantly evolving with advancements in technology and materials. Stay updated on the latest developments in aerospace technology, including advancements in propulsion systems, materials science, and space exploration.
  • Professional Organizations: Joining professional organizations like the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) can provide access to networking opportunities, conferences, and resources for aerospace engineers. Membership in such organizations can help you stay connected with the latest industry trends and research.

What Skills Make You A Strong Candidate

Aerospace engineers must have a variety of skills to be successful in their field. These include strong technical and engineering knowledge, problem-solving ability, analytical thinking, attention to detail, and excellent communication and interpersonal skills. They must also be proficient with computer software related to their field. 

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($122,270)
  • Job Outlook (6%)

The average annual salary for aerospace engineers is $122,270. The job outlook for this field is projected to grow by 6% with the aerospace industry’s ongoing innovation and expansion.  

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2. Aerospace Technician


Aerospace Technicians are the skilled professionals who keep aircraft, spacecraft, and related systems in peak operating condition. They play a crucial role in the aerospace industry by performing maintenance, repairs, and inspections to ensure the safety and efficiency of aerospace vehicles.

As an Aerospace Technician

You’ll perform inspections, diagnose and troubleshoot issues, conduct routine maintenance, and make repairs to various aircraft components such as engines, avionics systems, and structural elements. You’ll also collaborate in the assembly, testing, and modification of aircraft and spacecraft, ensuring safety regulations.

Benefits

  • In-Demand Skills: You stand to develop valuable skills in aircraft maintenance and repair, making you highly sought after in the aerospace industry.
  • Job Stability: This profession allows you to enjoy job stability, as aerospace technicians are in constant demand to ensure the safety and functionality of aerospace systems.
  • Potential for Advancement: You get opportunities for career growth and specialization, including roles in aircraft inspection or avionics maintenance.
  • Diverse Work Environments: Working as an aerospace technician gives you the chance to work in diverse environments, including hangars, airfields, and aerospace manufacturing facilities.

Working Conditions

Aerospace Technicians typically work in hangars, repair facilities, or maintenance centers. The job may involve working on-site to perform inspections and repairs. While the work can be physically demanding, it is essential to maintaining aerospace vehicles’ safety and reliability.

Further Studies

For those looking to advance their career as aerospace technicians, consider the following:

  • Pursue a master’s Degree  (Optional): While not mandatory, pursuing a master’s degree in aerospace technology, aviation maintenance, or a related field can open doors to more specialized roles and increased responsibilities. These programs provide in-depth knowledge of aerospace systems, maintenance, and repair techniques.
  • Certifications: Consider certifications such as the Aerospace Technician Certification or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certification to strengthen your credentials.
  • Apprenticeships: Participating in apprenticeship programs with aerospace companies or aircraft maintenance organizations can provide invaluable hands-on experience. 
  • Continual Learning: The aerospace industry is constantly evolving with advancements in technology and safety regulations. Stay updated on the latest developments in aerospace maintenance and repair techniques, as well as new aircraft systems and technologies.
  • Safety Training: Safety is paramount in aerospace maintenance. Consider additional safety training and certifications, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certification, to ensure compliance with safety regulations and best practices.

What Skills Make You A Strong Candidate

To pursue a career as an aerospace technician, individuals with an aerospace engineering degree must have s hands-on technical skills, strong attention to detail, and the ability to troubleshoot and problem-solve effectively. Communication skills and the ability to work in a team are essential for ensuring aerospace systems’ smooth operation.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($70,243)
  • Job Outlook (9%)

Aerospace Technicians earn an average annual salary of around $70,243. With a steady demand for aircraft and spacecraft maintenance, the job outlook for Aerospace Technicians remains positive, with a projected growth rate of 9% in the coming years.

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3. Academic Researcher


Academic researchers in aerospace engineering are at the forefront of advancing knowledge in the field. They engage in research and analysis to uncover innovative solutions and contribute to the development of cutting-edge aerospace technology. This role is pivotal in shaping the future of aerospace science and technology.

As an Academic Researcher

You’ll be conducting in-depth investigations, analysis, and exploration of specific subjects within their field of expertise. You’ll also contribute to the development of new theories, concepts, and technologies, and often collaborate with other researchers, universities, and industry partners to expand the boundaries of aerospace engineering knowledge.

Benefits

  • Knowledge Sharing: You get to share your insights and discoveries with students and the broader academic community.
  • Research Freedom: These professionals have the freedom to explore and investigate topics that align with their interests and expertise.
  • Career Development: You have opportunities to advance in academia, gain tenure, and potentially lead research projects at prestigious institutions.
  • Global Network: You can build an extensive network of fellow researchers, academics, and industry experts.

Working Conditions

Academic researchers typically work in universities, research institutions, or aerospace laboratories and often collaborate with other professionals on projects related to their expertise. Working conditions vary depending on the institution but generally involve long hours at a desk poring over reports, analysis, and other research materials.

Further Studies

To excel as an academic researcher, consider: 

  • Advanced Degrees: Pursuing a Ph.D. or postdoctoral research positions in your chosen field of study can provide you with advanced knowledge and expertise. These advanced degrees allow you to specialize in a specific area and conduct in-depth research.
  • Postdoctoral Research Engagements: Gain valuable experience through postdoctoral research positions. These roles expose you to diverse projects, enabling you to refine your research skills and establish a solid research portfolio.
  • Research Methods and Data Analysis: Enhancing your skills in research methods, statistical analysis, and data interpretation is crucial for academic researchers. Consider taking courses or workshops that focus on advanced research methodologies and data analysis techniques.
  • Participation in Research Projects: Engaging in collaborative research projects, especially those with a multidisciplinary approach, can enrich your research experience. Seek out opportunities to work on funded research initiatives.
  • Publication and Presentation Skills: Effective communication of your research findings is vital. Consider honing your skills in academic writing, presenting at conferences, and publishing your work in peer-reviewed journals.

What Skills Make You A Strong Candidate

A strong candidate for this role possesses a deep passion for aerospace engineering, strong research skills, and the ability to conduct in-depth, methodical investigations. Effective communication, both in teaching and publishing, is vital. Collaboration, adaptability, and problem-solving skills are essential for academic research.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Salary Range ($54,470 and $73,599)
  • Job Outlook (17%)

The salary for academic researchers varies depending on factors such as the academic institution and experience but typically between an average of $54,470 and $73,599. The job outlook for academic researchers in aerospace engineering is promising and set at 17%, particularly in institutions with strong aerospace programs, as aerospace engineering continues to be a dynamic and growing field.


4. College Professor


Aerospace college professors are educators and mentors who impart their knowledge and expertise in aerospace engineering to the next generation of engineers. They play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the aerospace industry by teaching, conducting research, and guiding students toward successful careers in the field.

As a College Professor

You’ll teach courses, mentor students, publish research papers, and participate in academic conferences. You’ll also be designing and updating course materials to reflect the latest advancements in aerospace technology and industry trends. Conducting research and contributing to the academic community will also be your responsibility.

Benefits

  • Job Flexibility and Stability: This is particularly for professors in reputable universities. You get to have flexible schedules for better work-life balance and enjoy job stability in the education sector. 
  • Competitive Salaries: You have the potential for competitive salaries and comprehensive benefits packages, including healthcare; retirement plans; education reimbursements; health club memberships; and other perks.
  • Professional Development: You enjoy opportunities for professional growth, including attending conferences, publishing research, and securing research grants.
  • Research Opportunities: You get to engage in cutting-edge research projects and contributing to advancements in aerospace technology.

Working Conditions

Aerospace college professors typically work in educational institutions, including universities and colleges. They split their time between teaching, research, and administrative responsibilities. The role may involve academic terms, grading, and research-intensive periods.

Further Studies

Individuals aspiring to become a college professor should consider:

  • Advanced Education (Masters or Ph.D.): Pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree in your chosen field of expertise is a common path for college professors. A Ph.D. is typically required for full-time, tenured positions at four-year colleges and universities. 
  • Teaching Excellence: Focus on developing excellent teaching skills. Employ innovative pedagogical methods, receive feedback from peers or students, and participate in teaching workshops to continually enhance your effectiveness in the classroom.
  • Postdoctoral Research: Engaging in postdoctoral research can be highly beneficial, especially if you aim to secure a faculty position at a research-intensive institution. Postdoctoral research allows you to work on cutting-edge research projects, publish academic papers, and build your academic reputation.
  • Pedagogy and Teaching Certifications: Invest in pedagogical training and teaching certifications. Courses or workshops in higher education teaching methods, curriculum design, and assessment can enhance your teaching skills and effectiveness in the classroom.
  • Professional Associations: Join academic and professional organizations in your field. Membership in organizations such as the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) or discipline-specific associations can provide resources, support, and opportunities for collaboration.
  • Publishing and Research: Focus on publishing your research in reputable academic journals and presenting at conferences. Developing a strong research portfolio is often a key criterion for academic advancement.

What Skills Make You A Strong Candidate

A strong candidate for this role possesses a deep passion for aerospace engineering, excellent communication skills, and the ability to convey complex concepts effectively. Research expertise, mentorship abilities, and a commitment to academic excellence are essential.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($99,799)
  • Job Outlook (12%)

On average, aerospace college professors earn around $99,799 per year. The job outlook for college professors, including those in aerospace engineering, is stable, with a projected growth rate of 12%


5. CAD Technician


CAD (Computer-Aided Design) technicians are the digital architects of the aerospace industry, using advanced software to create detailed technical drawings and schematics for aircraft and spacecraft components. They play a critical role in the design process, creating plans for new aircraft and other aerospace components.

As a CAD Technician

You’ll be responsible for producing detailed designs and technical drawings using computer-aided design (CAD) software. You will also collaborate with engineers and other professionals to develop designs that meet specific requirements, perform simulations, and contribute to the overall product development process.

Benefits

  • Career Growth: You enjoy opportunities for advancement and specialization in CAD design within the aerospace industry.
  • Steady Demand: With experience and success, CAD (Computer-Aided Design) technicians can have stable job prospects in an industry that continually requires CAD expertise.
  • Technical Skill Development: You gain proficiency in advanced CAD software, which is a valuable skill in various engineering disciplines.

Working Conditions

CAD technicians in aerospace engineering typically work in offices, with the occasional visit to an aircraft hangar or other production facility. Most positions require a blend of both office and fieldwork, requiring you to travel to various sites for meetings or inspections. You may also be required to attend conferences and seminars, either at home or abroad, depending on your employer’s needs.

Further Studies

Some valuable areas to consider for further studies include:

  • Advanced Education (Optional): While not always required, pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree in Computer-Aided Design, Mechanical Engineering, or a related field can provide you with a deeper understanding of CAD principles and applications. These programs offer in-depth knowledge of design software, engineering concepts, and project management.
  • Consider Certifications: Earning relevant certifications in CAD can enhance your qualifications and demonstrate your expertise to potential employers. Consider certifications such as the Autodesk Certified Professional (ACP) or SolidWorks Certified Professional to strengthen your credentials and proficiency in specific CAD software.
  • Professional Associations: Joining professional organizations like the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) can provide access to networking opportunities, conferences, and resources for CAD technicians. Membership in such organizations can help you stay connected with the latest industry trends and advancements in CAD.
  • Portfolio Development: Continuously update and expand your design portfolio. Highlighting a diverse range of projects and demonstrating your ability to tackle different design challenges can make you stand out to potential employers or clients.
  • Practical Experience: Practical experience is paramount for career growth. Consider opportunities such as internships, project-based work, or on-the-job training to gain hands-on experience with real-world projects. This experience can provide valuable insights into industry practices and enhance your problem-solving abilities.

What Skills Make You A Strong Candidate

Pursuing a career as a CAD technician in aerospace engineering requires individuals with an aerospace engineering degree to possess proficiency in industry-standard CAD software like AutoCAD, SolidWorks, or CATIA is essential, along with the ability to create 2D and 3D models, conduct simulations, and generate technical drawings. Attention to detail, effective communication and strong technical knowledge is crucial.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($59,782)
  • Job Outlook (7%)

The average annual salary for CAD (Computer-Aided Design) Technicians in the aerospace industry is approximately $59,782. With the aerospace industry’s continued growth, job outlook for CAD technicians remain stable at 7%.


6. Inspector and Compliance Officer


Inspector and compliance officers in the aerospace field play a crucial role in inspecting and evaluating aerospace systems, components, and processes to ensure they meet safety, quality, and regulatory requirements.

As an Inspector and Compliance Officer

You’ll ensure adherence to regulations, standards, and quality control processes within various industries, including aerospace engineering. You’ll enforce compliance with industry standards, conduct inspections, perform audits, and collaborate with engineers and other professionals.

Benefits

  • Industry Stability: The aerospace industry’s continuous demand for rigorous inspection and compliance measures guarantees job stability and a growing need for qualified professionals.
  • Diverse Work Environments: You have the opportunity to work in aerospace manufacturing facilities, advanced testing laboratories, or conduct on-site inspections, making each day unique.
  • Competitive Compensation: The field offers competitive salaries with potential for career growth based on experience and expertise.

Working Conditions

Inspectors and Compliance Officers typically work in a variety of settings, including aerospace manufacturing facilities, laboratories, and on-site inspection locations. The role may involve frequent travel to perform on-site inspections, and working with diverse aerospace teams to maintain compliance.

Further Studies

Consider the following further studies:

  • Professional Certifications: Earning relevant certifications in areas such as quality control, safety compliance, or environmental compliance can enhance your qualifications and demonstrate your expertise to potential employers. Consider certifications like Certified Professional Compliance Officer (CPCO) or Certified Quality Inspector (CQI) to bolster your credentials.
  • Practical Experience: Consider opportunities such as internships, on-the-job training, or involvement in compliance-related projects to gain hands-on experience with real-world compliance challenges. These experiences will help you develop problem-solving skills and apply compliance principles in practice.
  • Continual Learning: Compliance regulations and standards are constantly evolving. Stay updated on the latest developments in your field by attending workshops, conferences, and industry-specific training programs. Continuous learning will ensure that you remain well-informed and adaptable in your compliance role.
  • Advanced Inspection Techniques Training: Stay abreast of advancements in inspection technologies and techniques. Training in the latest tools and methods ensures you are equipped to handle evolving compliance requirements.

What Skills Make You A Strong Candidate

To be a strong candidate for the role of Inspector and Compliance Officer in the aerospace engineering field you must possess a robust understanding of aerospace systems, materials, and components. Attention to detail and strong analytical skills, keen eye for identifying potential compliance issues and communication skills are essential for this role.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($63,406)
  • Job Outlook (6.4%)

The average compliance inspector’s salary is $63,406 per year. With the aerospace industry’s continued growth and emphasis on safety and quality, job outlook in this field remain promising at 4.3%.


7. Flight Test Technician


Flight Test Technicians are essential members of aerospace teams responsible for conducting flight tests on aircraft and aerospace systems. They ensure that these machines meet safety, performance, and functionality standards, contributing to the continuous improvement of aerospace technology.

As a Flight Test Technician

You’ll work closely with flight test engineers and pilots to ensure the safe and accurate collection of data, monitoring systems, and instrumentation. Your tasks will include operating ground support equipment, monitoring flight test data, conducting pre-flight inspections, documenting results, preparing reports, and performing maintenance work.

Benefits

  • Career Growth Opportunities: Success as a Flight Test Technician can lead to career progression, potentially advancing to senior technician roles or specialization in specific aerospace domains.
  • Engaging Challenges: Daily involvement in flight tests presents dynamic and ever-changing challenges that make the work both exciting and rewarding.
  • Collaborative Teamwork: You collaborate closely with engineers and flight crews, fostering a sense of teamwork and shared accomplishment.

Working Conditions

Flight test technicians typically work in aircraft hangars, production sites, or other environments where flight tests are conducted. Due to the nature of their job, they must comply with safety requirements and wear appropriate PPE, such as protective eyewear and earplugs. They may also spend some time away from home while traveling for testing purposes.

Further Studies

  • Associate’s degree. Most positions require a minimum of an associate’s degree in aerospace engineering, aviation technology, or related field.
  • Practical Experience: Practical experience is invaluable for career growth in flight testing. Seek opportunities such as internships, apprenticeships, or on-the-job training with flight test organizations and aviation companies. 
  • On-the-Job Experience and Project Leadership: Gain extensive on-the-job experience in various flight test scenarios. As you accumulate experience, seek opportunities to take on leadership roles in flight testing projects.
  • Continued Education in Aircraft Systems: Stay updated on advancements in aircraft systems and technologies. This knowledge is vital for adapting to changes in the industry and understanding how new technologies impact flight testing procedures.
  • Certifications: Earning relevant certifications in flight testing can enhance your qualifications and demonstrate your expertise to potential employers. Consider certifications such as the Society of Flight Test Engineers (SFTE), Associate Fellow or the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) certification to strengthen your credentials.
  • Professional Associations: Joining professional organizations related to flight testing, such as the Society of Flight Test Engineers (SFTE), can provide access to networking opportunities, conferences, and resources. Membership in such organizations can help you stay connected with the latest industry trends and regulatory changes.

What Skills Make You A Strong Candidate

A strong candidate for this role possesses hands-on technical skills, attention to detail, the ability to adapt in dynamic environments, effective communication, and a commitment to safety and accuracy. A strong understanding of aerospace systems, flight mechanics, and aerodynamics is paramount.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($67,208)
  • Job Outlook (6%)

Flight Test Technicians earn an average annual salary of approximately $67,208. With the aerospace industry’s continuous development and the need for rigorous flight testing, job outlook in this field is promising and set at 6%.


8. Aircraft/Spacecraft Designer


Aircraft and spacecraft designers are the masterminds behind the creation of cutting-edge flying machines. They conceptualize, design, and oversee the development of aircraft and spacecraft, ensuring they meet performance, safety, and efficiency criteria.

As an Aircraft/Spacecraft Designer

You’ll be responsible for designing and optimizing the aerodynamics, structures, propulsion systems, and other components of aircraft or spacecraft. You’ll also need to understand the performance requirements of the aircraft/spacecraft, analyze test data, and make sure that the designs meet performance, safety, and regulatory requirements.

Benefits

  • Innovation: You have the opportunity to be at the forefront of aerospace technology, shaping the future of flight.
  • Varied Work Environment: You get to work in aerospace manufacturing facilities, design studios, and testing sites.
  • Career Advancement: Success in this role can lead to senior design positions or specialization in specific types of aircraft or spacecraft.
  • Creativity: You will engage in creative problem-solving and design, fostering continuous learning and skill development.
  • Team Collaboration: You have the chance to collaborate closely with engineers, technicians, and project managers, creating a sense of teamwork and shared achievement.

Working Conditions

Aircraft/spacecraft designers usually work in a comfortable office environment, although they may occasionally need to visit production facilities or test sites. They also frequently collaborate with other professionals, such as engineers and technicians, to ensure that the designs meet performance, safety, and regulatory requirements. Aircraft/spacecraft designers may have flexible working hours, allowing them to pursue hobbies and engage in other activities outside of work.

Further Studies

Check out the following further studies:

  • Advanced Education (Optional): While not always mandatory, pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or a related field can provide you with a deeper understanding of aircraft and spacecraft design principles.
  • Professional Certifications (Optional): While not commonly required, earning relevant certifications in aerospace or mechanical engineering can showcase your expertise and commitment to excellence in the field. Consider certifications such as the Professional Engineer (PE) license, which can be valuable for career advancement.
  • International Experience: Consider gaining international experience through collaborations or working for multinational aerospace companies. Exposure to different design practices and perspectives can enrich your skill set and make you a valuable asset in a global context. 
  • Advanced Design Projects: Engage in advanced design projects to showcase your creativity and problem-solving skills. Participating in real-world design challenges or competitions can help you build a strong portfolio.
  • Continual Learning: The aerospace industry is continuously evolving with advancements in technology and materials. Stay updated on the latest developments in aircraft and spacecraft design, including emerging technologies, materials, and safety regulations.

What Skills Make You A Strong Candidate

An Aircraft and spacecraft designer must have a strong technical foundation, analytical prowess and adept problem-solving abilities are indispensable for addressing intricate design challenges. Attention to detail is of utmost importance in aircraft and spacecraft design, where precision reigns supreme. Creativity and an innovative mindset allow designers to venture into novel design solutions, adding uniqueness and adaptability to their work.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($86,320)
  • Job Outlook (6%)

On average, aircraft and spacecraft designers earn an annual salary of around $86,320. The aerospace industry’s continued growth and emphasis on innovation ensure promising job outlook estimated at 6% with opportunities for career advancement and specialization.


9. Mission or Payload Specialist


Mission or payload specialists, collectively known as astronauts, work on space missions as part of a crew or team, focusing on specific scientific experiments, research, or payload operations. They play a big role in mission success by ensuring that the objectives and timelines are met.

As a Mission or Payload Specialist

You’ll be planning, executing, and monitoring experiments, payloads, or instruments aboard spacecraft. Your tasks may include conducting research, operating scientific equipment, analyzing data, and collaborating with other astronauts and ground control.

Benefits

  • Dynamic Work Environments: The role may involve working in aerospace manufacturing facilities, flight test centers, and on-site test locations, providing diverse and stimulating settings.
  • Career Growth Opportunities: Success as a Flight Test Technician can lead to career progression, potentially advancing to senior technician roles or specialization in specific aerospace domains.
  • Engaging Challenges: You get engaged with daily involvement in flight tests presents dynamic and ever-changing challenges that make the work both exciting and rewarding.
  • Collaborative Teamwork: You collaborate closely with engineers and flight crews, fostering a sense of teamwork and shared accomplishment.

Working Conditions

Mission or payload specialists usually work in a clean, pressurized environment in space labs or mission control centers. They may be asked to travel for extended periods of time to fulfill certain missions. The job can be physically taxing, as mission specialists are required to wear special pressure suits and work in zero-gravity conditions.

Further Studies

  • Master’s degree. A Master’s degree, or equivalent, will give you a comprehensive overview of the principles and practices of aeronautics, propulsion systems, and spacecraft design. It’s also the basic requirement if you want to work for NASA.
  • Space Mission Planning Certification: Earning a certification in space mission planning can showcase your expertise in designing and executing space missions. Consider certifications such as the Certified Space Mission Planner (CSMP) to bolster your credentials and proficiency in mission planning.
  • Payload Development Certification: Obtaining a certification in payload development demonstrates your commitment to excellence in developing and managing payloads for space missions. Look for certifications specific to payload development, such as the Payload Systems Engineer Certification.
  • Research Contributions: Contribute to research in your field, either through publications, presentations, or involvement in relevant projects. Active participation in the academic community can enhance your professional reputation.
  • Gain Hands-on Experience: Internships, co-op programs, or entry-level positions with space agencies, aerospace companies, or research institutions are important. Hands-on experience in these areas is invaluable for honing your skills and understanding the intricacies of space missions.

What Skills Make You A Strong Candidate

A strong candidate for this role possesses exceptional problem-solving skills, analytical thinking, effective communication skills, attention to detail, and a deep passion for aerospace technology and mission success. Having strong research and analytical skills can help contribute to scientific investigations, evaluate experiment results, and provide insights that drive further exploration.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Salary Range ($100,000 and $228,800)
  • Job Outlook (1%)

Mission and Payload Specialists earn an average annual salary of approximately $100,000 and $228,800 respectively. The aerospace industry’s ongoing growth and the importance of missions and payload development ensure promising job prospects for specialists in this field projected at 1%, with opportunities for career advancement and specialization.


10. Data Processing Manager


Data Processing Managers are integral to organizations, overseeing the efficient handling, storage, and analysis of data. In the aerospace industry, these professionals play a crucial role in managing vast datasets generated from aircraft operations, research, and development.

As a Data Processing Manager

You’ll be working with computers, software, and other digital tools to monitor the flow of data throughout the organization. You’ll also analyze data sets for discrepancies or errors, develop methods to improve overall performance, document security protocols and procedures, and create reports for senior management.

Benefits

As a data processing manager you enjoy: 

  • Data-Driven Decisions: The opportunity to influence aerospace project success through data-driven decision-making.
  • High Demand: A strong demand for data experts in the aerospace industry, ensuring job stability and career growth.
  • Competitive Compensation: Attractive salaries, commensurate with the increasing importance of data in aerospace projects.
  • Advanced Technology: The chance to work with state-of-the-art data processing tools and technologies.
  • Diverse Applications: The ability to apply data processing skills in various aerospace domains, from satellite communications to aircraft design.

Working Conditions

Data processing managers in aerospace engineering typically work in aerospace companies, research institutions, or aerospace laboratories. The role may involve collaborating with multidisciplinary teams and ensuring data security and privacy.

Further Studies

  • Entry-Level Roles: Begin your career as a data processing manager or data scientist. Gain hands-on experience in data processing, analysis, and management by working on real-world projects. Look for opportunities in industries that align with your interests and career goals.
  • Certification in Data Management: While gaining experience, pursue a certification in data management, such as the Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP). This certification demonstrates your commitment to data management excellence and can enhance your qualifications for managerial roles.
  • Master’s Degree (Optional): Consider pursuing a master’s degree in Data Science, Information Systems Management, or a related field. Advanced education can provide a deeper understanding of data processing, data security, and advanced analytics techniques. It can also open doors to higher-level management positions.
  • Advanced Analytics Training: Enhance your analytical skills by taking courses in advanced analytics, predictive modeling, or data visualization. This can provide you with the ability to derive meaningful insights from large datasets.
  • Continual Learning: Stay updated on the latest data processing tools and technologies. Participate in training programs and workshops that focus on data management, data security, and emerging trends in the field.
  • Data Processing Manager Certification (Optional): Consider earning a certification specific to data processing management, such as the Certified Data Processing Manager (CDPM). This certification is tailored for professionals seeking managerial roles in data processing.

What Skills Make You A Strong Candidate

To thrive as a data processing managers you must possess excellent data management, analysis, and interpretation skills. They must have a deep understanding of data processing tools and methodologies. Strong leadership, communication, and problem-solving abilities are essential for managing data teams and supporting aerospace projects.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Salary Range ($59,000 and $137,000)
  • Job Outlook (16%)

Data processing managers in aerospace engineering earn competitive salaries, typically ranging between $59,000 and $137,000 annually depending on experience and the complexity of the role. Job outlook for data processing managers in aerospace engineering remain promising and expected to increase by 16%, given the growing reliance on data-driven decision-making in the aerospace industry.


11. Design Engineer


Design engineers are the creative minds behind the conception, planning, and development of aircraft, spacecraft, and aerospace systems. They shape the future of aerospace technology, ensuring that innovative designs meet safety and performance standards.

As a Design Engineer

You’ll be responsible for designing and developing new components, systems, and products. You’ll use your specialized skills to create innovative solutions that shape the future of aviation and space travel. Overseeing the creation of prototypes and participating in testing and evaluation to validate design concepts will be your responsibility. 

Benefits

  • Innovation: You’ll have the opportunity to contribute to the creation of cutting-edge aerospace technology.
  • Satisfaction: Success in this field comes from seeing your designs come to life and play a vital role in aerospace projects.
  • Diverse Projects: You have the chance to engage in a variety of projects, from aircraft to spacecraft, ensuring a dynamic and stimulating career.
  • Career Growth: Opportunities for advancement to senior design roles and leadership positions will be at your fingertips

Working Conditions

Aerospace design engineers typically work in aerospace companies, research institutions, or manufacturing facilities. The role involves a combination of office-based design work, collaboration with engineering teams, and, in some cases, overseeing prototyping and testing. They may need to visit manufacturing sites for inspection and testing. There’s also the possibility of working from home, but this depends on the employer.

Further Studies

Consider the following: 

  • Post Graduate Degree. A degree related to aerospace engineering is helpful when applying for a design engineer position. A master’s or doctoral degree in the fields of aeronautics, astronautics, and space systems can be useful when applying to more senior positions.
  • Certifications (Optional): While not always necessary, earning certifications related to design engineering can enhance your qualifications. Look into certifications like the Autodesk Certified Professional (ACP) or other software-specific certifications to demonstrate your proficiency in design tools.
  • Project Leadership Roles: Seek opportunities to take on project leadership roles or lead design teams. Managing design projects and teams will develop your leadership and project management skills.
  • Participate in Design Competitions: Engage in design competitions to showcase your skills, gain recognition, and build a portfolio of successful projects. This can attract attention from potential employers and open doors to advanced design roles.
  • Continual Learning: Stay updated on the latest design software, tools, and industry best practices. Attend design-related workshops, conferences, and training programs to stay informed about emerging trends in design engineering.
  • Collaborate with Multidisciplinary Teams: Seek opportunities to work in multidisciplinary teams. Collaborating with professionals from different fields enhances your ability to integrate diverse perspectives into your design solutions.

What Skills Make You A Strong Candidate

To be successful in this field, you must have a strong technical background combined with excellent problem-solving and analytical skills. You should also have experience working on complex projects and managing multiple tasks at once. Familiarity with CAD/CAM software and 3D printing can make you stand out from the competition, as well as experience in avionics testing. Being able to effectively communicate with other departments is also a plus.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($143,239)
  • Job Outlook (3%)

Design engineers earn competitive salaries, with the average annual salary of $143,239, depending on experience and specialization. The job outlook for aerospace design engineers remain stable at 3%, driven by the continuous demand for innovative aerospace systems and technology.


12. Materials Engineer


Materials engineers in aerospace engineering are responsible for developing and testing materials used in aircraft, spacecraft, and aerospace systems. They play a crucial role in ensuring that materials are safe, durable, and meet the specific requirements of aerospace applications.

As a Materials Engineer

You’ll be responsible for evaluating current materials, testing them for properties such as strength and durability, and finding ways to improve existing materials. Additionally, you may be called upon to work on research and development projects to develop new materials for aerospace applications.

Benefits

  • Technological Advancements: You’ll have the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art materials, contributing to the continuous advancement of aerospace technology.
  • Critical Role: Your role will be pivotal in ensuring the safety and reliability of aerospace systems and vehicles.
  • Diverse Applications: You’ll work with materials used across various aerospace applications, spanning from aircraft to spacecraft.
  • Problem-Solving: You’ll actively address complex material challenges, working to enhance aerospace performance and longevity.
  • Industry Opportunities: Your expertise will open doors to employment in aerospace companies, research institutions, and government agencies.

Working Conditions

Materials engineers often work in a lab or office environment but can also be required to visit production sites for inspection and testing. Their job duties may involve research, design, analysis, production, and testing of materials in both the laboratory and field settings. They work closely with other departments such as research & development and production to ensure the successful implementation of new materials into products or systems.

Further Studies

  • Gain Practical Experience: Start your career as a materials engineer by gaining practical experience in roles related to materials testing, research, and development. Work with different materials, processes, and industries to expand your knowledge and skills.
  • Master’s or Ph.D. (Optional): Consider pursuing a master’s or Ph.D. in Materials Engineering or a related field. Advanced degrees can provide in-depth expertise and open doors to research and development leadership positions.
  • Professional Certifications: Obtain certifications that are relevant to materials engineering, such as the Certified Materials and Metallurgical Engineer (CMME) or Certified Materials Professional (CMP). These certifications can demonstrate your commitment to excellence in the field.
  • Industry Internships and Collaborations: Explore internships or collaborations with industry partners. Practical experience in real-world applications of materials engineering can provide valuable insights and enhance your problem-solving skills. 
  • Advanced Materials Research: Stay abreast of advancements in materials science and engineering by participating in conferences, workshops, and seminars. Engaging with the broader materials science community keeps you informed about emerging trends.

What Skills Make You A Strong Candidate

A strong candidate for this role possesses a deep understanding of materials science, strong analytical and problem-solving skills, and meticulous attention to detail. Effective communication, teamwork, and a passion for innovation are key ingredients for success in materials engineering.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($83,701)
  • Job Outlook (6%)

The salary for materials engineers in aerospace engineering varies based on experience and location but they typically earn an average base pay of $83,701. The job outlook for these professionals is set at 6%, as materials engineers are essential for ensuring the safety and performance of aerospace systems. 


13. Mechanical Engineer


Mechanical engineers in aerospace engineering are the driving force behind the design, development, and maintenance of aerospace systems. They play a pivotal role in ensuring that aircraft, spacecraft, and aerospace components are not only efficient but also meet rigorous safety and performance standards.

As a Mechanical Engineer

You’ll be responsible for analyzing the performance of existing components or systems, and designing new components or systems to improve performance. You’ll also be involved in testing the performance of existing and new components or systems.

Benefits

  • Cutting-Edge Technology: You’ll work with state-of-the-art technology and contribute to the continuous advancement of aerospace systems.
  • Vital Role: You’ll play a vital role in ensuring the safety, efficiency, and reliability of aerospace systems.
  • Diverse Applications: You’ll be involved in designing and maintaining systems used across various aerospace applications, from propulsion to avionics.
  • Problem-Solving: As a mechanical engineer, you’ll tackle complex engineering challenges to enhance aerospace performance.
  • Industry Opportunities: Your expertise will open doors to employment in aerospace companies, research institutions, and governmental agencies.

Working Conditions

Mechanical engineers like you work in various environments, including aerospace manufacturing facilities, research institutions, and aerospace companies. The role may involve a combination of office work, hands-on testing, and collaboration with other engineers and experts. Their job duties may involve research, design, analysis, production, and testing of mechanical systems in both the laboratory and field settings. 

Further Studies

  • Engineer-in-Training (EIT) or Engineering Internship: Consider obtaining your Engineer-in-Training (EIT) or Engineering Intern (EI) certification. This demonstrates your commitment to the profession and can open doors to more advanced engineering positions.
  • Master’s Degree (Optional): Pursue a master’s degree in mechanical engineering or a related field to deepen your knowledge and expertise. This advanced degree can be beneficial if you aspire to take on leadership roles or specialize in a specific area of mechanical engineering.
  • Professional Engineering (PE) License: Obtain your Professional Engineering (PE) license. This is a crucial step if you plan to work as a consulting engineer, take on senior roles, or sign off on engineering projects. It requires passing the PE exam and meeting specific experience requirements.
  • Continual Learning: Stay updated on the latest advancements in mechanical engineering, including emerging technologies and software tools. Attend industry conferences and workshops to remain informed about industry trends and best practices.
  • Advanced Software and Technology Skills: Stay updated on the latest software and technologies relevant to mechanical engineering. Proficiency in advanced tools and software can make you a valuable asset in your organization.
  • Professional Associations: Join professional organizations like the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) to network with fellow engineers, access resources, and stay connected with the mechanical engineering community.

What Skills Make You A Strong Candidate

Mechanical engineers with an aerospace engineering background make great candidates for the aerospace industry due to their knowledge of mechanical systems and mastery of complex systems. Candidates must have excellent problem-solving, analytical, and communication skills in order to be successful. Experience with design software such as Solidworks or Catia is essential. Familiarity with 3D printing tools can make you stand out from the competition. Knowledge of avionics testing or machine operations is also beneficial.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($95,300)
  • Job Outlook (10%)

Mechanical engineers earn an average base pay of $95,300 per year based on experience and location. The job outlook is promising with an estimated employment growth of 10% from 2021 to 2031, as mechanical engineers are essential for designing and maintaining aerospace systems.

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14. Maintenance Engineer


Maintenance engineers in aerospace engineering are responsible for ensuring the safe and efficient operation of aircraft, spacecraft, and aerospace systems. They play a critical role in maintaining and troubleshooting complex aerospace equipment to prevent failures and ensure continued reliability.

As a Maintenance Engineer

You’ll be responsible for troubleshooting, diagnosing, and repairing existing components or systems on aircraft and other aerospace products. You’ll also work with teams to ensure that all maintenance requirements are met in a timely manner. Maintaining meticulous records of maintenance activities, inspections, and equipment status for regulatory compliance and reference is among your responsibilities. 

Benefits

  • Continuous Learning: You’ll have the opportunity to keep learning and adapting to the ever-evolving world of aerospace technology.
  • Essential Role: You’ll play a vital role in ensuring the safety and reliability of aerospace systems, which is crucial for passenger safety and the success of missions.
  • Diverse Work Environments: You’ll work in various settings, from maintenance hangars to aerospace facilities and airfields.
  • Problem-Solving: You’ll actively tackle complex technical challenges, improving aerospace performance and minimizing downtime.
  • Career Advancement: You’ll find opportunities for career growth, potentially advancing to leadership roles within maintenance departments.

Working Conditions

Maintenance engineers typically work in maintenance hangars, aerospace facilities, or on airfields but can also be required to visit production sites for inspection and testing of mechanical systems. They work closely with other departments, such as research and development (R&D), production, and manufacturing, so that implementation of new technologies could go smoothly. Their job duties may involve troubleshooting, maintenance, and repairs of mechanical systems in both the laboratory and field settings.

Further Studies

Consider the following further studies:

  • Implementation of Maintenance Software: Gain expertise in the implementation and use of computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) or other maintenance-related software. Proficiency in such tools can streamline maintenance processes and contribute to more efficient and effective operations.
  • Certification in Maintenance: Pursue a maintenance-related certification, such as the Certified Maintenance and Reliability Technician (CMRT) or Certified Maintenance Manager (CMM). These certifications validate your expertise in maintenance practices and can enhance your qualifications for leadership positions.
  • Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree (Optional): Depending on your career aspirations, consider pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Maintenance Engineering, Industrial Engineering, or a related field. Advanced education can provide a deeper understanding of maintenance strategies and management.
  • Professional Development Programs: Attend workshops and professional development programs focused on emerging technologies, best practices in maintenance, and management skills. This ongoing learning ensures that you are well-versed in the latest industry trends and innovations.
  • Continual Learning: Stay updated on the latest maintenance technologies, software, and best practices. Attend industry-specific workshops, seminars, and training programs to expand your knowledge and stay informed about industry trends.
  • Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP) Certification (Optional): If you aspire to hold a higher-level maintenance management role, consider earning the CMRP certification. This certification is tailored for professionals seeking to manage maintenance operations effectively.

What Skills Make You A Strong Candidate

Maintenance engineers with an aerospace engineering background make great candidates for the aerospace industry due to their knowledge of mechanical systems and mastery of complex systems. They must have excellent problem-solving, analytical, and communication skills. These skills are important for troubleshooting complex systems and ensuring that all safety regulations are met.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($76,510)
  • Job Outlook (5%)

Maintenance engineers in aerospace engineering typically earn an average annual salary of approximately $76,510. The job outlook is stable, as ongoing maintenance is integral to the aerospace industry’s functioning, with a projected growth rate of 5% in the coming years.

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15. Manufacturing Systems Engineer


Manufacturing systems engineers in aerospace engineering are responsible for designing, optimizing, and maintaining manufacturing processes and systems. They play a crucial role in ensuring efficient, cost-effective, and high-quality production of aerospace components and systems. This is a specialized field that involves the design and implementation of production systems across all levels of an organization.

As a Manufacturing Systems Engineer

You’ll be responsible for developing efficient and effective processes to increase production speed, quality, and cost-effectiveness. Your duties may include designing parts for fabrication, overseeing the manufacture of products from concept to completion, as well as testing and evaluating the finished goods. You’ll be at the heart of integrating advanced automation and robotics solutions to streamline manufacturing operations. 

Benefits

  • Innovation: Your role gives you the chance to pioneer innovation in manufacturing processes and systems within the ever-evolving aerospace industry.
  • Key Role: You play a pivotal role in ensuring the aerospace industry’s cost-efficiency, reliability, and top-notch quality.
  • Diverse Projects: Your work spans a wide range of projects, from aircraft components to spacecraft systems, keeping your job dynamic and engaging.
  • Automation Advancements: Get involved in implementing cutting-edge automation and robotics solutions that push the boundaries of manufacturing efficiency.
  • Career Growth: The sky’s the limit when it comes to career advancement. You could find yourself moving into roles like production manager or manufacturing engineering manager as your experience and expertise grow.

Working Conditions

Manufacturing systems engineers typically work in manufacturing plants, aerospace production facilities, or engineering offices. Your role blends office work, collaborative efforts with production teams, and on-site visits to assess and optimize manufacturing processes. They work closely with other departments, such as research & development, production, and manufacturing to ensure successful implementation of new technologies.

Further Studies

To excel in this role, consider the following: 

  • Certification in Lean Six Sigma: Pursue certification in Lean Six Sigma, such as the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt or Black Belt. This certification demonstrates your proficiency in process optimization and continuous improvement, which are vital skills for manufacturing systems engineers.
  • Master’s Degree (Optional): Consider pursuing a master’s degree in Manufacturing Systems Engineering, Industrial Engineering, or a related field. Advanced education can provide in-depth knowledge and open doors to senior roles and research opportunities.
  • Global Perspective and Cultural Competence: Develop a global perspective and cultural competence, especially if you are involved in international manufacturing projects. Understanding diverse business practices and cultural nuances can be advantageous in a globalized manufacturing environment.
  • Advanced Training in Automation and Robotics: Stay updated on the latest advancements in automation, robotics, and Industry 4.0 technologies. Advanced training in these areas will enhance your expertise in modern manufacturing systems.
  • Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration: Engage in cross-disciplinary collaborations with professionals in fields like data science, artificial intelligence, and materials science. Integrating insights from multiple disciplines can lead to innovative solutions and enhance your problem-solving capabilities.

What Skills Make You A Strong Candidate

Manufacturing systems engineers must have excellent problem-solving, analytical, and communication skills in order to be successful. They also need to have experience with design software such as Solidworks or CATIA, and must be knowledgeable in 3D printing tools. Having a strong understanding of production planning, supply chain management, and logistics can be beneficial for those looking to pursue a career as a manufacturing systems engineer.

Salary and Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($105,000)
  • Job Outlook (10%)

The average salary for a manufacturing systems engineer is $105,000 per year. The job outlook is stable and set at 10%, as these professionals are integral to the aerospace industry’s efforts to achieve cost-efficient and high-quality production.

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Making the Right Career Choice

An aerospace engineering degree opens the door to an array of exceptional career opportunities that span the skies and beyond. From aircraft designers to flight test technicians, the 15 best jobs for degree holders in this field offer a dynamic blend of technical expertise, creativity, and innovation. The aviation and space industries continue to advance, and the demand for skilled aerospace engineers remains steady, making this an exciting and rewarding career path.

So, as you contemplate these diverse international business roles, consider how they align with your unique qualities and the impact you wish to make on the global stage. This self-assessment will be your guiding star, leading you toward a fulfilling and successful international business career that harmonizes with your individual strengths and aspirations.


Agwaonye Samuel

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