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Aerospace engineer

Alternative titles for this job include Aeronautical engineer

Aerospace engineers design, test, build and maintain aeroplanes, spacecraft and satellites.

Average salary (a year)

£27,000 Starter

to

£60,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends occasionally

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become an aerospace engineer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly

University

You could do a degree in aerospace engineering, avionics, or a subject like:

  • electrical or electronic engineering
  • mechanical engineering
  • manufacturing or product engineering
  • physics or applied physics
  • software engineering or mathematics

Postgraduate study

You may be able to do a master's degree in aeronautical or aerospace engineering if you've studied for a degree in a related subject, such as engineering.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and physics
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information

College

You could do a higher national certificate (HNC) or diploma (HND) in engineering before applying for a technician level job with an aerospace company.

Subjects include:

  • mechanical engineering
  • aeronautical engineering
  • electrical engineering

You would then do further training to become a fully qualified engineer.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

More Information

Apprenticeship

You could do a Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship to begin your career in the aerospace industry. Apprenticeships include:

  • Aerospace Engineer
  • Aerospace Software Engineer
  • Electro-Mechanical Engineer
  • Materials Science Technologist

Some employers may offer other types of engineering apprenticeships, for example, a Power and Propulsion Gas Turbine Engineer Level 7 Degree Apprenticeship.

You'll combine workplace learning with study for a degree at university.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More Information

Work

You might be able to join a company as an aerospace engineering technician and do training on the job to qualify as an engineer.

Direct Application

You can apply for aerospace engineering jobs if you've got relevant qualifications and experience. For example, you might have worked in mechanical, electrical or electronics engineering.

More Information

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the Royal Aeronautical Society for professional development, career resources and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about working in aerospace engineering from Careers in Aerospace.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • maths knowledge
  • design skills and knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of physics
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As an aerospace engineer, you could:

  • build and test prototypes using computer aided design (CAD) software
  • analyse test results to improve aircraft structures and aerodynamics
  • research new types of fuel and ways to reduce engine emissions
  • manage projects and supervise a team of engineers and technicians
  • develop new instruments and software for spacecraft
  • plan and supervise maintenance programmes

Working environment

You could work in a factory, in an office, on an aircraft or in an aircraft hangar.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could specialise in a particular field like:

  • aerodynamics
  • fuel efficiency
  • space technology
  • air accident investigation

You could also become a project manager, consultant aerospace engineer, or move into technical sales.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Product Design Engineering Degree level 6 Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £22,112.00 Annually
  • Location: Bamber Bridge, Preston

Mechanical Engineering – Degree APPRENTICE (Level 6) Manufacturing Engineer

  • Wage: £22,112.00 Annually
  • Location: Bamber Bridge, Preston

Courses In England

L2 Aerospace and Aviation Engineering Competence Diploma

  • Provider: FAREHAM COLLEGE
  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Lee On Solent

Level 3 Programme In Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineering

  • Provider: FARNBOROUGH COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY
  • Start date: 09 September 2024
  • Location: Farnborough

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