Inside Aerospace Engineer Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"On Job Training...
I was surprised at how much I didn't use what I learned in school. Apparently engineering jobs almost always train you to meet their needs rather than hiring someone with specific skills." (Engineer; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Kansas, male
School: Studied Aerospace Engineering at University Of Kansas in Kansas; completed Bachelor degree in 2010

"Continuous Education And Development...
I was surprised with the engineering leadership program. The company funded my Master's education while working full-time." (Gas Turbine Operability Engineer; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied Aerospace Engineering at University Of Cincinnati in Ohio; completed Master degree in 2011

"One of the surprising aspects of my career is the amount of human interaction that I have experienced. I had once envisioned an engineer as sitting at a drafting table, making calculations and producing drawings supporting design work. In reality there are a number of collaborative processes that require meetings and two or more people involved in producing new ideas and making changes." (Systems Engineer; 2013)

Career: 20 years of experience, currently based in Texas, male
School: Studied Aeronautical And Astronautical Engineering at University Of Illinois in Illinois; completed Bachelor degree in 1985

"It is a lot less technical than I thought it would be, after spending so much time learning theory in school. Professors spent years drilling information and equations into our heads, but in reality it was just them teaching us to be able to think, rather than teaching material." (Engineering Analyst; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, female
School: Studied Aeronautical Engineering at The Ohio State University in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Aerospace Engineer: "The best part of my career is getting to see my designs fly. It is amazing to see something that I created working and functioning as intended. Occasionally, I get to fly in the aircraft as well, which is a very nice bonus. The worst part of my career is the paperwork. When I got into this industry, I thought I would be drawing airplanes and working with computer-aided design software all day every day. Unfortunately, there is a lot of paperwork that comes with good engineering." (2011)

Career Background

Aerospace Engineer

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Finding A Technical Job In The Modern World...
Undertake coop's/internships while in school. It teaches valuable real-life experience while getting a foot in the door for full time employment after school. GPA is not everything. Develop inter-personal skills to enhance your technical skills because communication is just as important." (Gas Turbine Operability Engineer; 2013)

"Resume Boosters...
Internships always look very good for work experience. Anything showing leadership roles stands out as well." (Engineer; 2013)

"Design Is Just One Career Path For Engineers...
Try to get an internship with an aircraft design company as soon as you can. There are many facets to aerospace engineering, and designing is just one of them. Talk to several engineers and try to figure out what interests you the most. For design engineers, courses on aircraft design and customer relations are the most important, but the advanced mathematics and physics classes aren't used very much. Have a fun hobby and don't let it go. Engineering can be a demanding and stressful job. Having a hobby that is unrelated to your field can be a great way to relax." (Aerospace Engineer; 2011)