Aeronautical Engineer Job Profile

What Does an Aeronautical Engineer Do?

Aerospace engineering has two closely related and overlapping branches of aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering. They are both referred as science and technology of designing, constructing, improving and flying aircraft. But the main difference is that aeronautical engineers deal with flight vehicles and their performance within our planet‘s atmosphere while astronautical engineers analyze how spacecraft work within Earth‘s atmosphere as well as outer space.

Aeronautical engineers generally are a part of large multidisciplinary team and their job duties can be described as:

  • accomplishing theoretical and practical research,
  • designing civil and military aircraft, spacecraft, missiles,
  • development of aircraft, their components and systems,
  • examining the performance of aircraft, implementing test procedures,
  • analyzing and interpreting data,
  • assembling aircraft,
  • agreeing budgets, organizing projects, planning work,
  • writing reports, preparing manuals, documentation,
  • consulting other aviation professionals, giving technical advices.

Nowadays aeronautical engineers use their technical knowledge to solve such globally important problems as flight safety, environment and noise pollution of air travel. They also search for methods to increase speed of aircraft, reduce costs, improve fuel efficiency. There is no doubt that aeronautical engineer job has many challenges to cope with and will greatly impact our future.

Aerospace engineers spend most of their time in offices because modern aircraft design and testing procedures are accomplished with the aid of innovative computer technologies. Normally engineers work full time (standard 40 hours a week) but overtime can be necessary in order to fulfill aircraft requirements and meet deadlines. In addition to this, you should take into account that aeronautical engineer job may involve short trips to aircraft workshops and maintenance hangars as well as abroad travels to attend conferences, courses and practical training. Career progression in aeronautical engineering is dependent on your personal skills, education and professional background. Achieved expertise can move you up the career ladder to a more respectable position in team management, budget control, project coordination or training new staff members.


How to Become an Aeronautical Engineer?

At first, to become an aeronautical engineer you should be extremely good at:

  • exact sciences (mathematics, physics),
  • computer technologies,
  • innovative, analytical thinking,
  • problem solving,
  • project and time management,
  • keeping up with constant technical developments,
  • working under pressure and meeting deadlines,
  • paying attention to details (as even minor human factor can have crucial consequences).

What is more, aeronautical engineers are expected to keep safety issues as a priority and perform their tasks in the most attentive manner. To link your career with aerospace industry, besides full determination you will need to achieve a baccalaureate in engineering or other related specialty. Following this principal education, you should step forth and pursue a master‘s degree in a more specific aeronautical or astronautical engineering area. Engineering academic degrees are granted by colleges and universities, duration of bachelor‘s studies varies from three to four years while the length of master‘s course normally is one or two years. Some universities also offer integrated 5-year programs to their students which ensure both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree upon completion. 

Aerospace engineering study programes chiefly include these basic subjects:

  • aerodynamics,
  • structural design of aircraft,
  • stability and control of aircraft,
  • computational mechanics,
  • propulsion systems,
  • aircraft materials,
  • avionics,
  • fundamentals of research,
  • management of engineering projects,
  • aviation law,
  • rocket technology,
  • space environment.

After graduation from your chosen engineering institution, you will become a desirable aeronautical engineer by various employers like aerospace companies, airlines, government agencies, universities, aeronautical laboratories. Employment is projected to grow 8% from 2016 to 2026 for all engineering fields, this way, with aerospace engineering you will always have a guaranteed workplace in aviation and aerospace market. There is an option to enter this profession through apprenticeship, too. Trainees end up working as engineering technicians, mechanics, fitters. However, most employers look for highly qualified engineers with at least a bachelor‘s degree.


Aeronautical Engineer Salary

Do you wonder how much does an aeronautical engineer make? Since aeronautical engineering along with astronautical engineering falls in the same aerospace jobs category, salaries for these two career paths are typically assimilated. Therefore, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has calculated that average annual pay for aerospace engineer reaches $113,030. Median wage per hour is estimated to be around $54. On the other hand, based on 740 anonymously to Glassdoor submitted salaries, national medium in the United States is considered lower with a counted sum of $89,195 per year. And according to Glassdoor, the range of aeronautical engineer salary usually fluctuates from $55,000 to $107,000 yearly but depends much on employee‘s seniority and company he or she works for. For example, salaries at NASA can be even up to $143,809 if aerospace engineers have more than 15 years of experience.

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