Job type

Aerospace engineer

£20k - £60k

Typical salary

39 – 41

Hours per week

Aerospace engineers design, build and maintain planes, spacecraft and satellites.

More info

  • Be part of the team that develops major aircraft and spacecraft projects
  • Learn to apply scientific principles in complex engineering projects
  • Work for some of the world's leading companies or government agencies

As an aerospace engineer you'll work with the latest technology to research, develop, build and maintain aircraft or the systems that keep them in the air. It's a highly technical role where you'll become an expert in what you do and develop in-demand skills. You may also have the chance to work for high profile companies or organisations that are pushing the boundaries of science and technology.

You'll be concerned with improving flight safety, fuel efficiency, speed and weight, as well as reducing system costs and using developing technologies to meet customer needs. The role increasingly addresses the environmental impact of air travel.

DAY-TO-DAY DUTIES

  • Create navigation, communications or weapons systems
  • Research ways to make fuel-efficient parts such as wings, fuselage and engines
  • Use CAD software for design
  • Test prototypes
  • Collect and analyse test data
  • Plan and supervise the fitting of aircraft and components
  • Sign off projects under strict industry regulations
  • Schedule and supervise maintenance
  • Estimate project costs and timescales
  • Write technical reports and manuals
  • Give presentations

DAY-TO-DAY ENVIRONMENT

You could work in an aircraft hangar, on an aircraft, at a client's business, in a factory or in an office. Your working environment may be cramped.

You'll need

You'll usually need an HNC, HND, foundation degree, or degree in aerospace engineering, avionics, or a related subject like electrical or electronic engineering, mechanical engineering, manufacturing or product engineering, physics or applied physics, software engineering, or mathematics.

To get a place on these courses you may need to have studied specific subjects like maths and sciences at GCSE and/or A Level (or gained equivalent qualifications). It's best to check the entry requirements for individual colleges and universities if you're thinking of going down this route.

If you prefer to learn while you're working you could do a degree apprenticeship as an aerospace engineer, or join a company as an engineering technician and complete further training and qualifications to qualify as an engineer.

CAREER PROSPECTS

With experience, you could specialise in a particular field like aerodynamics, fuel efficiency, space technology or investigating air accidents. 

You could also move into aerospace project management, become a consultant aerospace engineer, or work as a researcher or lecturer at a university.