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aerospace engineer

What does an Aerospace Engineer do?

Every day millions of people all over the world take to the skies in a wide range of aircraft, from single engine planes to gigantic shuttles designed to carry hundreds of passengers. Each of these planes was once only a vision deep inside an aerospace engineer’s mind, one which came into existence through the skilled work and testing of its creator.

An aerospace engineer has been trained to design airplanes, spaceships, new forms of aircraft, and even satellites and missiles for use by the military. They also test all prototypes to ensure they work as designed. Because of the work they do, aerospace engineers have taken us to the moon, have designed the devices that have taken flight beyond our solar system, and allow us to reach our destinations easily and comfortably through the use of their creations.

The profession is challenging and enjoyable, and has direct applications that can benefit humankind. Today, aerospace engineers have come to realize that the sky is no longer the limit and are looking for new and exciting ways to apply their knowledge to take us beyond the limits of what we know, making this one of the most sought after careers.

What sort of training and education will prepare me to become an aerospace engineer?

When you are looking to become an aerospace engineer, you will need to place a large focus on subject such as math, physics, aerodynamics, computer science, and chemistry during high school. As you enter college you will have to major in engineering, which will advance your skills in this area to prepare you for an advanced degree in aeronautical engineering.

Once you have graduated, you will very likely enter the workforce as a junior engineer, but experience and continued training will allow you to step up the ranks until you earn a position that will allow you to research and work on original products, giving way to breakthroughs in all areas of aeronautics and design. Being an aerospace engineer will require great knowledge of current and new technology, which is why it is said that you will never stop learning new things, making it one of the most satisfying careers in existence today.

What does a Rocket Scientist do?

If that easy, simple task you’re doing isn’t rocket science, then what is? What exactly does a rocket scientist do, and why has this field become so widely used as the common cliche?

Take your career to new, educational heights

The term “rocket scientist” is actually earthling-speak for “aerospace engineer.” These highly specialized scientists are responsible for the design, construction of, and science behind air crafts and spacecrafts. To become an aerospace engineer, you must complete a high level of education, undergoing a rigorous roster of coursework along the way that may include any of the following classes:

  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Computer science
  • Mechanical engineering

In order to be hired as an aerospace engineer, you’ll be expected to have earned at least a bachelor’s degree, though people with higher-level degrees such as a master’s or a doctorate might have an advantage in this field.

rocket scientist

Up, up, and away: where the rocket scientists are

Since this field is so specialized, you might have to relocate for a position in aerospace engineering. The highest concentration of available work in the aerospace engineering field is in the following U.S. states:

  • Washington
  • Kansas
  • Alabama
  • Connecticut
  • Maryland
  • California

As a “rocket scientist,” you may find yourself working for a university, a government agency, or a private company. Some aerospace engineers get to live out their childhood dreams and work for a NASA research center, though competition for those jobs can be fierce. The salary of an aeronautical engineer can vary, depending upon location and position.

Mission quest

NASA’s educational website NASA Quest features profiles of people who work as aerospace engineers, and it’s a great resource for down-to-earth information that’s straight from the rocket scientist’s mouth. For example, RubĂ©n Ramos, an aerospace engineer who designs communications systems, writes that a background in math in science is incredibly useful in his field.

With all of the hard work it takes to achieve your career goals, why would you want to become an aerospace engineer? Ramos writes: “I like knowing that we, at NASA, are doing some things that have never been done before, and that have the potential to benefit humanity.” Sounds like a pretty good reason to shoot for the stars.