You’ve heard of an aerospace engineer. Now find out what professionals in this incredible career actually do, what they earn, and how you can become one.
Aerospace engineer might be the perfect career for you if you love to design and create things.
What They Do:
As an aerospace engineer, you get to design aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, and satellites. You help develop new technology to build products and design totally new aerospace products, as well. You’ll receive proposals for projects and evaluate them to see what could be improved.
STEM Type: Designer
Designers envision and plan products, solutions, and projects. Designers take ideas and turn them into real things. They often use specialized computer software and are highly trained.
Don’t know your STEM Type? Take our quiz to find out your natural skills and what STEM careers would be your perfect match.
If you want to become an aerospace engineer, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering (unsurprisingly) or a related science or engineering field. Schools like Andrews University and the University of Central Missouri offer aerospace engineering programs.
What They Earn:
Aerospace engineers earn a median salary of $109,6500.
High School Classes to Take:
Engineers use a lot of science and math every day. If your high school offers them, take AP science and math classes to prepare for college courses. If your school doesn’t offer any advanced STEM classes, see whether your local community college or community center offers any classes or workshops to improve your skills.
What to Do Now:
It’s never too early to network or learn more about your future career. If you know any aerospace engineers or companies that hire them, ask questions. Many professionals are happy to help younger people aspiring to their jobs. If possible, see if you could shadow someone for the day to get a feel for what life as an aerospace engineer is like.
Richard Truly is goals. He’s served as a Vice Admiral in the U.S. Navy, worked as an astronaut with NASA, and served as the space agency’s eighth head administrator. In an oral history for NASA, Truly said he loved airplanes as a kid but never thought it would be a possible career path. He studied engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology with plans of becoming an engineer. Because of his Navy scholarship, he went to flight school. His entire career continued this way – him not thinking opportunities were possible to have them practically fall in his lap as he continued to take the next step in front of him. Truly joked he never officially filled out an application to work for NASA, saying he was “the only person who has ever flown in space that never applied.”
Do you want to have a STEM career but don’t think aerospace engineering is for you? Check out our other STEM job spotlights. From fashion designers to food stylists to web developers, there’s a place in STEM for everyone. Remember to take the STEM type quiz to get started on your path to finding your perfect career.