Careers

Aerospace Engineer

What is an Aerospace Engineer?

Films like Top Gun and Snakes on a Plane would never have happened if not for aerospace engineering. A world where people can fly away on holiday wouldn’t exist, either. Aerospace engineers put all their love and attention into aircraft, and they also work on space vehicles and satellites - it's not just a case of 'the sky's the limit', but 'space is the limit' - if Richard Branson ever gets space tourism happening for real, you could play a part in making that happen! If you're interested in a sky-high career path, you can also check out flight engineering.

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What does an Aerospace Engineer do?

Aerospace engineers design things that fly! The technologies they dream up could be used in anything from aviation to defence systems (missiles) and spacecraft. Typically, they do the following:

  • Direct and coordinate the design, manufacture and testing of planes and other aircraft – including those that fly into outer space. Yes, really. You could be able to say you build spaceships for a living.
  • Look over designs to make sure the items being created will be great, safe, genuinely useful and environmentally-friendly
  • Come up with guidelines that everyone has to stick to for design methods, quality standards, sustainment after delivery and completion dates.

Read on for the nitty gritty details of areas you could specialise in and the fields where you could become a total expert! Warning: long words alert, but it's stuff you'll have to know one day...

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What skills are important?

  • Investigative

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    Recommended: 100%
  • Engineering

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    Recommended: 100%
  • Working indoors all the time

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    Recommended: 99%
  • Attention to detail

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    Recommended: 91%
  • Dependability

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    Recommended: 88%
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How much could I earn?

Average salary

£45,760

Example: Electronics engineers, 2015

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How to become an Aerospace Engineer

Not all engineering careers need a degree, but in this case you'll need to study for a degree in maths, physics, aerospace engineering or another type of engineering. Alternatively, you could do a three or four-year apprenticeship with an airline like Airbus or Monarch.

What kind of qualifications do you need to get started? Well, as an example, Monarch asks for applicants to have GCSEs at passing grades in maths, English, science and one practical subject.

For more information on the range of apprenticeships available in your area, check out the National Apprenticeship Service. It's a treasure trove of apprenticeship ideas and opportunities!

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