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Aerospace Engineers - What They Do


How to Advance (Advancement)
Beginning engineering graduates usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers and, in large companies, also may receive formal classroom or seminar-type training. As new engineers gain knowledge and experience, they are assigned more difficult projects with greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions. Engineers may advance to become technical specialists or to supervise a staff or team of engineers and technicians. Some eventually may become engineering managers or enter other managerial or sales jobs. In sales, an engineering background enables them to discuss a product's technical aspects and assist in product planning, installation, and use.

Numerous professional certifications for engineers exist and may be beneficial for advancement to senior technical or managerial positions. Many certification programs are offered by the professional societies listed as sources of additional information for engineering specialties at the end of this statement.

Employment
In 2008, engineers held about 1.6 million jobs. About 36 percent of engineering jobs were found in manufacturing industries, and another 30 percent were in the professional, scientific, and technical services industries, primarily in architectural, engineering, and related services. Many engineers also worked in the construction, telecommunications, and wholesale trade industries.

Federal, State, and local governments employed about 12 percent of engineers in 2008. About 6 percent were in the Federal Government, mainly in the U.S. Departments of Defense, Transportation, Agriculture, Interior, and Energy, and in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Many engineers in State and local government agencies worked in highway and public works departments. In 2008, about 3 percent of engineers were self-employed, many as consultants.

Engineers are employed in every State, in small and large cities and in rural areas. Some branches of engineering are concentrated in particular industries and geographic areas; for example, petroleum engineering jobs tend to be located in States with sizable petroleum deposits, such as Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Alaska, and California. Other branches, such as civil engineering, are widely dispersed, and engineers in these fields often move from place to place to work on different projects.

Job Outlook
Aerospace engineers are expected to have 10 percent growth in employment over the projections decade, about as fast as the average for all occupations.


Job Growth
New technologies and new designs for commercial and military aircraft and spacecraft produced during the next decade should spur demand for aerospace engineers. The employment outlook for aerospace engineers appears favorable. Although the number of degrees granted in aerospace engineering has begun to increase after many years of declines, new graduates continue to be needed to replace aerospace engineers who retire or leave the occupation for other reasons.



Earnings
Earnings for Aerospace Engineers vary significantly by education. The mean annual salary for Aerospace Engineers is $101,000.

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Academic Programs of Interest

Aerospace Engineering
Aerospace engineers design, develop, and test aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles, and supervise the production of these products. Those who work with aircraft are called aeronautical engineers, and those working specifically with spacecraft are astronautical engineers. Aerospace engineers develop new ...more
Aircraft Structural Technician
An Aircraft Structural Technician program will teach a student to repair, install, and manufacture parts and components of an aircraft. As an Aircraft Structural Technician you will also inspects and verify the installation and operation of the components affected using test and measuring equipment ...more
Aviation
Aviation encompasses all the activities relating to airborne devices created by human ingenuity, generally known as aircraft. These activities include the organizations and regulatory bodies as well as the personnel related with the operation of aircraft and the industries involved in airplane manufacture, ...more
Engineering Physics
Engineering physics is an academic degree, available mainly at the levels of B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. Unlike other engineering degrees (such as aerospace engineering or electrical engineering), Engineering physics does not necessarily include a particular branch of science or physics. Instead, Engineering ...more