Best Jobs for Aerospace Engineers

Updated on March 14, 2024

Aerospace engineering is a dynamic field that encompasses the design, development, testing, and production of aircraft and spacecraft. With advancements in technology and a growing demand for innovative transportation solutions, aerospace engineers have a broad spectrum of career opportunities. Here, we explore some of the best jobs in this field, outlining their roles, average salaries, responsibilities, and required education.

Commercial Aerospace Engineer

Commercial aerospace engineers are at the forefront of designing and manufacturing aircraft for civilian use. They focus on enhancing the comfort, safety, and efficiency of air travel.

  • Average Salary: $116,500 per year
  • Job Description: These engineers work on various aspects of aircraft design and testing, including prototypes and stress tests, and also investigate failed components.
  • Responsibilities: Designing aircraft systems, conducting stress tests, and ensuring aircraft safety and efficiency.
  • Required Education: A bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering or a related field is typically required.

Military Aerospace Engineer

Military aerospace engineers play a crucial role in maintaining and managing military aircraft and support equipment, contributing to national defense.

  • Average Salary: Varies with rank; for example, an O-1 second lieutenant earns a minimum of $39,445 per year, while an O-6 colonel earns at least $83,174 per year.
  • Job Description: They are involved in the design, development, and testing of systems used on military aircraft, along with supervising maintenance and repair work.
  • Responsibilities: Designing and testing military aircraft systems, overseeing maintenance and repair.
  • Required Education: A bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering is required, with additional military training and clearance.

Spacecraft Engineer

Spacecraft engineers contribute to humanity’s exploration of space by designing and developing spacecraft capable of enduring the harsh conditions of space.

  • Average Salary: $73,710 per year
  • Job Description: Designing, developing, and testing spacecraft and their components, focusing on overcoming the unique challenges of space exploration.
  • Responsibilities: Developing spacecraft systems, overseeing construction and testing, ensuring integration of components.
  • Required Education: A bachelor’s degree in engineering, with a preference for a master’s degree and experience in the aerospace industry.

Aerospace Inspector

Aerospace inspectors ensure the safety and compliance of aircraft and spacecraft with regulatory standards and industry best practices.

  • Job Description: Inspecting aircraft and spacecraft to ensure they meet safety standards and regulations.
  • Responsibilities: Conducting inspections, identifying issues, ensuring compliance with standards.
  • Required Education: A detailed education requirement is not provided, but a background in aerospace engineering or a related field is likely necessary.

Flight Test Engineer

Flight test engineers are vital in ensuring that aircraft and spacecraft perform as expected under various conditions.

  • Average Salary: $106,653 per year
  • Job Description: Working on aircraft and spacecraft to conduct safety checks and test new technologies for aviation.
  • Responsibilities: Conducting flight tests, analyzing data, ensuring safety and performance standards.
  • Required Education: A bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering or a related field is required, with a master’s degree preferred by many employers.

Propulsion Systems Engineer

These engineers specialize in designing and testing the engines and propulsion units of aircraft and spacecraft.

  • Average Salary: $102,136 per year
  • Job Description: Designing and testing engine components and propulsion systems for various types of aircraft and spacecraft.
  • Responsibilities: Developing and testing turbines, gas generators, and propulsion systems.
  • Required Education: A bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering with at least five years of experience in propulsion engineering.

Aerodynamics Engineer

Aerodynamics engineers focus on the study and application of air flow around aircraft and spacecraft, crucial for efficient design.

  • Average Salary: $104,649 per year
  • Job Description: Designing and testing the aerodynamic properties of aircraft, missiles, and other vehicles.
  • Responsibilities: Evaluating new designs, modifying existing vehicles, conducting wind-tunnel tests.
  • Required Education: A bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering or a related field is typically required, with higher degrees needed for some positions.

Final Thoughts

The aerospace engineering field offers a diverse range of exciting career opportunities, from designing commercial and military aircraft to exploring the final frontier with spacecraft. These roles not only require a strong foundation in engineering principles but also creativity, problem-solving skills, and a commitment to safety and innovation. As the aerospace industry continues to evolve, driven by technological advancements and the increasing exploration of space, the demand for skilled aerospace engineers is set to remain strong.

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I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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