A Career as an Aerospace Engineer

By Quinn Seys

Career Over view

Aerospace engineers use computer-aided design (CAD) systems to design, test, and modify aircraft and spacecraft. When a design is complete, engineers develop a model or prototype.

To test, aerospace engineers conduct operational, environmental, or stress tests. They compare the results with industry standards, environmental laws, and customer needs. They may change designs to improve speed or reduce pollution.

They estimate cost, environmental impact, and time needed to complete the project. Engineers may also manage production of the aircraft or spacecraft.

They write handbooks to explain the equipment and troubleshoot equipment problems. They also write reports and keep detailed records.

There are two types of aerospace engineers. Aeronautical engineers work on aircraft that stay inside the Earth's atmosphere. Astronautical engineers work on spacecraft that travel outside the Earth's atmosphere.

Some engineers create new products or systems to reduce the impact of aircraft on the environment. For example, they test biofuels for use in aircraft engines. They may also invent new materials to reduce weight and fuel use.

Career Working Conditions

Have a moderate level of social contact. Communicate with coworkers and customers daily by phone, e-mail, and in person. Work on teams. Are responsible for the health and safety and work outcomes of people on their design teams. Write letters and memos monthly. Usually work indoors. Are sometimes exposed to loud sounds and noise levels that are uncomfortable. Ear protection is worn when needed. May wear other protective gear as necessary. Must be very exact in performing their job. Designs often include very tiny measurements. Rarely consult a supervisor before making decisions. They are free to set most goals and priorities on their own. Meet strict deadlines weekly. Work in an environment that is moderately competitive. Make decisions weekly that have major effects on the company, customer, and coworkers. Repeat the same mental tasks. Usually work a regular 40-hour week. May travel to other work sites. They may also travel to visit manufacturers.

Career Wages and Outlook

Wages vary by employer. For example, engineers who work for aircraft manufacturers generally earn more than those who work for the federal government or for guided missile manufacturers. Engineers with more experience earn more than those who are just starting out. Those with a Ph.D. earn more than those with a master's or bachelor's degree.

Most engineers who work full time also earn benefits. Typical benefits include health insurance, paid vacation, sick leave, and a retirement plan.

Minneapolis- $ 94,630 Small Employment

USA- $ 103,720 Outlook Medium employment

related occupations

Program Overview

Aerospace, aeronautical, and astronautical engineering programs prepare people to design aircraft and spacecraft.

Program Admissions

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

  • Computer Science and Programming
    •English Composition
  • Program Typical Course Work

    This program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

  • Aerodynamics
    •Aerospace Propulsion
    •Aerospace Structural Dynamics
    •Aerospace Structures
    •Electronic Circuits
    •Engineering Physics
    •English Composition
    •Introduction to Computer Science
    •Linear Algebra
    •Linear Differential Equations
    •Senior Design Project
    •Space Vehicle Dynamics
    •Strength of Materials
  • Graduate study in this field typically includes:

  • Required courses
    •Master's thesis (which usually takes the form of a significant project)
    •Preliminary exams (doctoral degree only)
    •Dissertation and dissertation defense (doctoral degree)
  • Related Programs

    Schools that offer my program

    University of Michigan

    University of Minnesota

    College Choice

    University of Minnesota

    • Minneapolis, MN
    • Urban (in a large city)
    • 34,469 undergraduate students
    • 17,384 graduate students
    • Admissions: Very difficult (about 60% of all applicants accepted)
    • In-state tuition: $13,620
    • Out-of-state tuition: $19,870
    • Public
    • Applications due: Priority deadline December 15. After this date, admission becomes more competitive and applications are reviewed on a space-available basis.

    My Informational Interveiw

    I really liked Dean and He was really nice but I don't think taxes would be a very fun job. The office was nice though and his hours weren't bad.

    Plans to Reach Your Goal

    • I could get an internship with a company.
    • I could get a part time or temporary job
    • I could use career networking