FAQ: What Is Aerospace Engineer Training And How Long Is It?
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 27 July 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Becoming an aerospace engineer can be a rewarding career for those interested in math, science and technology design. The field is full of interesting technologies and concepts you can learn to advance in your career. Learning about the training process for an aerospace engineer can help you determine if it is the right science speciality for you. In this article, we discuss what aerospace engineer training is, how long it takes to complete, the job duties you may encounter and more frequently asked questions about aerospace engineering.
What Is Aerospace Engineer Training?
Aerospace engineer training is a process you engage in that includes classes and programmes to help you learn the skills and information to become an aerospace engineer. Training for this program can include schooling and extracurricular activities like engineering summer programmes or internships and apprenticeships with universities, businesses and government agencies. Aerospace engineer training usually includes a school curriculum with a focus on math, physics, computer programming and chemistry. That is typically followed by a bachelor's degree from a university with an engineering programme. Related degree programmes include mathematics and experimental psychology. Some coursework may include:
Aerodynamic vehicle design
Aircraft propulsion and power
Flight software systems
Vibration and elasticity
If you hope to advance your career to a leadership position or transition into research, you may choose to get an advanced degree, such as a master's or a doctorate. You can earn these degrees consecutively after your bachelor's or choose to return to school after being in the field for some time. Some subjects and areas of study for advanced degree programmes include:
Aviation safety management systems
Computational fluid mechanics
Dynamics of incompressible fluids
Environment of aviation
Mixed-methods research in aviation
Non-linear control systems
Thermal systems engineering
Turbulent shear flows
How Long Is The Training?
The length of your aerospace engineer training can vary depending on the level of education you want to get. Typically, aerospace engineers have at least a bachelor's degree in fields such as mathematics, engineering or physics. First, you can complete your 12th year of schooling and then you can pursue a university degree. Some professionals choose to pursue a master's or doctorate degree to increase their skills, knowledge and potential earnings as an engineer.
On average, students spend four years in a bachelor's degree programme, one to two years in a master's degree programme and up to six years in a doctorate programme. This can account for up to 12 years of education.
What Does An Aerospace Engineer Do?
An aerospace engineer designs spacecraft, aircraft, missiles and other objects that go airborne inside and outside the earth's atmosphere. There are two primary areas of study within aerospace science, including:
Aeronautical aerospace engineering: Deals with aircraft within the Earth's atmosphere like aeroplanes and helicopters
Astronautical aerospace engineering: Deals with aircraft that can travel outside the Earth's atmosphere, such as rockets and satellites
In either speciality, some daily job responsibilities of an aerospace engineer may include:
Analysing equipment and product specifications
Conducting managerial responsibilities such as risk assessment, presentations and certification submissions
Creating prototypes and designs
Developing and troubleshooting all phases of hardware creation, implementation, integration and analysis
Developing standards and guidelines for tasks
Ensuring all products meet ethical, environmental, quality and safety standards
Evaluating the designs of other engineers
Evaluating new technologies
Overseeing equipment or designing building processes
Performing modelling and predictions using statistical tools
Planning testing schedules
Providing technical expertise to non-engineers
Researching information for designs and test structures
What Skills Do Aerospace Engineers Need?
Below is a list of skills aerospace engineers use during their duties:
Communication is an important skill for aerospace engineers because it helps them inform other professionals about tasks and progress during projects. This can include assigning tasks to professionals, sharing ideas about how to create aerospace designs and finding professionals with experience in specific areas of aerospace engineering and construction. You can develop communication skills by practicing them in your workplace, reading about how others use their communication skills and observing professionals use their communication.
Aerospace engineers may encounter challenges in their work. These challenges can include engineering problems, funding and conflict among professionals. Being able to create solutions for challenges as and before they arise can make you a valuable asset to any engineering team. For example, taking technical documentation and helping other professionals follow the guidelines can show you have important skills to help people around you. You can develop problem-solving skills by thinking of scenarios where you can use your abilities to solve problems. These scenarios can be both large and small challenges that occur during your work.
Aerospace engineers often work on time-sensitive projects, meaning a potent ability with time management is important. Time management encompasses both tasks you do daily and long-term tasks that can take weeks, months or years to complete. When you practice this skill, you typically use short-term tasks because it is easier to understand how your ability to set goals and timetables is important for them. One way to develop time management skills is to consider different tasks and how you can complete them most efficiently. Another way is to set deadlines for each of your minor tasks.
Aerospace engineers use math and physics as part of their daily roles. Being able to come to conclusions through deduction and logical reasoning can help you with other skills important to aerospace engineers, such as problem-solving and communication. For example, explaining the reasoning behind a process can help professionals in conflict to see why the process is important and minimises feelings of frustration within the workplace. Similarly, logical reasoning can help you find and solve challenges with physical designs and processes for creating aerospace technologies.
Where Do Aerospace Engineers Work?
Aerospace engineers typically work in office settings or in a manufacturing environment to oversee the construction process for their designs. They may spend much of their time working on computers with technical software programmes or with testing equipment. Engineers typically work traditional full-time, 40-hour workweeks, but they might work overtime when supervising a project or when an important deadline approaches. Aerospace engineers usually work for national defence companies or businesses that deal with aircraft, satellites or other related transportation sectors.
What Is The Difference Between An Aerospace Engineer, Technician And Scientist?
Jobs related to the aerospace engineer role include aerospace technician and aerospace scientist, which have different job responsibilities and education levels than engineers. Below are descriptions of the three positions and how they differ:
Aerospace scientists are professionals who design and create advanced technologies for the aerospace industry. They are often pursuing knowledge within the field, rather than building technologies. Their responsibilities include finding new ways to apply existing concepts, creating new principles to follow and sharing their discoveries with aerospace engineers. Many aerospace scientists have a PhD in physics or engineering, placing them at the forefront of discoveries in the aerospace industry.
Aerospace engineers often take the designs of aerospace scientists and create plans to build them in real life. For example, a scientist can create a new aeroplane design, and an engineer can create models and blueprints to create that design, including the materials it uses. Aerospace engineers can have a wide variety of degrees, ranging from a bachelor's degree to a PhD. They often study fields such as mathematics, engineering and physics to get the roles they want in the aerospace industry.
Aerospace technicians are professionals who actually construct technologies. They may work as part of a team that has an engineer or scientist as its leader. Their responsibilities include testing designs for flaws, following plans for construction and developing ways to test the success of new technology. An aerospace technician may have a university degree, ranging from an associate's degree to a master's degree.
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