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What Does an Aerospace Engineer Do? (The Ultimate Guide 2023)


Are you interested in designing and building flying machines? 

If you have technical skills and knowledge, becoming an Aerospace Engineer could be perfect for you. This role involves designing, testing, and managing the creation of aircraft and aircraft components. This is a very specialized field of engineering, and you need to learn the necessary skills. You also need to be willing to invest several years in higher education to learn the specifications of different machinery. 

So, if you are still wondering, ‘what does an Aerospace Engineer do?’, then it’s time to find out…

Duties And Responsibilities

Duties And Responsibilities

This type of role revolves mainly around design and analysis, testing, and manufacturing. While the duties can vary depending on where you work, there are certain set tasks you will perform regularly. Here are the main duties and responsibilities that typically go with this role.


You will be charged with testing different prototypes to make sure they are functioning correctly. This involves taking careful notes and making the necessary adjustments. You need to make sure that all elements meet the strict quality standards.

Managing projects

You may need to take the lead on particular projects. You will need to assess different proposals and work out if they are technically feasible. This includes evaluating designs to determine if they meet environmental regulations, engineering principles, and customer requirements.


You will be charged with directing and coordinating the design, manufacture, and testing of new aircraft. And most likely, specialize in the design of a certain type of aerospace product. This can include remotely piloted aircraft, military airplanes, spacecraft, and helicopters.

What Does An Aerospace Engineer Do? – Specializations

There are two main types of Aerospace engineering you can specialize in as part of your career. It is best to choose yours as early as possible and start developing the necessary skills. Let’s take a look at these two fields and what they involve.

Aeronautical Engineer

This specialization involves studying the aerodynamic performance of aircraft. These professionals design, develop, manufacture, and maintain different types of aircraft. A key focus is reducing the environmental impact of air travel while also reducing costs. 

Astronautical Engineer

These professionals are also known as rocket scientists and focus on aircraft that leave the Earth’s atmosphere. Their areas of study are aerodynamics, thermodynamics, flight mechanics, celestial mechanics, and guidance systems. This can include working on projects involving missiles, space vehicles, remote-sensing satellites, and navigational systems. 

Important Skills And Attributes

Before embarking on your career path, you need to make sure you have the right stuff. In addition to technical skills, you need to work on your soft skills, which relate to the way you approach tasks. Here are some of the main skills and attributes you will need to possess. 

Analytical skills

Analytical skills

You need to be able to identify and isolate different design elements as well as any elements that do not meet the project requirements. You will then create alternatives that improve the performance of the elements. 


You are likely to work with other types of engineers and scientists on different projects. Be comfortable sharing your ideas and knowledge with other people. This includes knowing when you need to take the lead and when you should step back a little. 

Problem-solving skills

You will often be charged with troubleshooting problems and coming up with creative solutions. Remember to keep the needs of the project firmly in mind at all times. You will then determine a few solutions and select the best option for your clients. 

Communication skills

It is essential to be able to express your ideas and instructions clearly when working with a team, both verbally and in writing. You also need to be able to create detailed reports while following established engineering and scientific procedures. 

The Work Environment

The Work Environment

Most Aerospace Engineers spend a large amount of time working with computers in an office environment. Sophisticated software is used to build virtual models of potential designs. This is usually a nine-to-five job, although it may occasionally be necessary to work on weekends. 

Work can also take place in a laboratory or a manufacturing environment. You are likely to either work for the federal government or a private company.

Typical employers include:

  • Aerospace Companies
  • Research and Development Organizations
  • Contract Agencies
  • Airline Operators
  • The Civil Service
  • The Armed Forces
  • Government Agencies 
  • Universities

Qualification Requirements 

You need to gain the necessary skills and knowledge before scoring an entry-level job. This means working on projects connected to the national defense, which may need a security clearance. It takes at least four years to gain the necessary experience to work on advanced aeronautical projects. 


You need a strong foundation in chemistry, advanced math, computer programming, and physics while in high school. This will give you the base knowledge for your bachelor’s degree. 

The degree program will include subjects like general engineering principles, stability and control, propulsion, structures, mechanics, and aerodynamics. Lessons feature a mixture of classroom instruction, field studies, and laboratory work. 

An internship can be very beneficial!

Some universities offer a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree program. These programs typically last for five years and allow you to work in research and development. It is important to make sure that the course you choose is accredited by ABET.

Complete an internship while studying for your degree. This provides valuable hands-on experience and insight into the industry. The connections that are made during internships can lead to entry-level roles in the future. 

Licenses and certifications 

Licenses and certifications 

You will need to obtain a Professional Engineering license from a certified body like the National Society of Professional Engineers. This will allow you to take the lead on different types of projects and oversee work. You also need to get state licensure, which varies between different areas of the United States.

Be A Part Of The Space Travel Future!

Wouldn’t it be exciting to have a part in this amazing venture? Well then, find out more about the companies who are already making a contribution by checking out the Tesla Mission And Vision Statement, the SpaceX Mission And Vision Statement Analysis, and the Raytheon Mission And Vision Statement Analysis for 2023.

Or, find out about the Best Technology Companies, along with the most frequently asked Elon Musk Job Interview Questions. If you’re applying to Castparts which manufactures engines and components for aerospace, then please check up on Does Precision Castparts Hire Felons if you have a criminal record.

Lastly, we have a few more engineering guides in case you’re interested, starting with the Top Highest Paying Engineering Jobs, followed by our Civil Engineer Job DescriptionMechatronics Engineer Job Description, and Network Engineer Job Description.

What Does An Aerospace Engineer Do? – Final Thoughts

It generally takes at least four years to gain the knowledge necessary to work as an Aerospace Engineer. You need to make sure that you keep up to date with continual developments and can work with the latest technology. Once you gain work experience and the necessary skills, you can earn at least $100,000 per year. 

Specializing in a particular field is a good way to boost your earning potential. This will allow you to supervise a team of engineers or become a technical specialist. Once you advance to the role of engineering manager, you could command an annual salary of at least $150,000.

Good luck in your career as an Aerospace Engineer!

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