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Aerospace Engineering Careers, Jobs and Employment Information

Aerospace Engineering Career Overview

Aerospace engineers are responsible for creating exceptional machines—like airplanes which weigh more than half a million pounds to spacecraft which travel at a speed of more than 17,000 miles/hour. They are in charge of designing, developing and testing aircraft, spacecraft and missile systems as well as supervising the manufacturing process of these products. Aeronautical Engineers are those aerospace engineers who deal with airplanes, while Astronautic engineers are engineers who deal specifically with spacecraft.

Technologies developed by aerospace engineers are used in aviation, defense, and space exploration and aerospace engineers may specialize in structural designing, guiding, navigating and controlling, instrumentation and communication, or production methodology. Technology like computer-aided design (CAD) software, robotics, laser and advanced electronic optics are used by them. Specialization in commercial transport, military fighter planes, helicopters, spacecraft, missile or rockets within the aerospace product is also possible. Aerospace engineers might also specialize in aerodynamics, thermodynamics, celestial mechanic systems, propulsion systems, acoustics, or guidance and control systems.

These engineers usually gain employment in the aerospace product and parts industry, though the skills of such engineers are now being valued in different fields. An example of this is in the manufacture of motor vehicles, aerospace engineers are responsible for designing vehicles which have a low resistance to air and greater efficiency with regard to fuel consumption.

Job Outlook for Aero Spacer Engineers

The period through 2012 is projected to see a downfall in the demand for aerospace engineers. Competition from foreign firms and decrease in air travel are the major reasons for decrease in jobs related to designing and producing commercial aircraft. Yet, promising opportunities for aerospace engineers are expected to occur due to the fact that the degrees granted for this branch have gone down considerably due to the perceived lack of employment in this field. This means that the number of engineers trained in this field may not be sufficient to replace the large numbers of aerospace engineers who will retire during the 2002-20012 period. New jobs will also be created in industries such as motor vehicle manufacturing which were previously not associated with the aerospace industry.

Historical Earnings Information

In 2002, the median of annual earning of an aerospace engineer was $72,750. The middle 50 percent of aerospace engineers got salaries between $59,520 and $88,310. The lowest 10 percept earned about $49,640 or less, while the highest ten percent earned around $105,060 or more. The median annual earnings in industries employing the biggest quantity of aerospace engineers in 2002 were:

  • Federal government $81,830
  • Architectural, engineering, and related services 74,890
  • Aerospace product and parts manufacturing 70,920

A 2003 salary survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers projects that aerospace engineer with a bachelor’s degree get salaries which average around $48,028 a year, while those with a master’s degree receive $61,162 and those with a Ph.D. receive $68,406.