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Advancement Opportunities for Aerospace Engineers

The next time you see an airplane in the sky, remember that there is an aerospace engineer somewhere that made it all possible. This article explains the requirements for aerospace engineers to take an advanced career path.

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Advancement Possibilities for Aerospace Engineers

Aerospace engineers are responsible for the design, creation, and testing of air and spacecraft, such as airplanes, satellites, and spaceships, similar to what was once known as 'rocket science'. This position involves writing codes for programs, field-testing materials and prototypes, and presenting research information to those in charge of the business side of things. There may come a time when an aerospace engineer feels the need to branch out in their career by gaining new skills, education, or work experience.

Job Title Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)* Licensing, Education or Experience
PE (Professional Engineer) Status $113,130+ (aerospace engineers) 6% (aerospace engineers) PE Licensing
Research and Development $120,170 (research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences) 6% (aerospace engineers) Master's Degree
Architectural and Engineering Manager $137,720 6% Engineering Experience

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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Career Information

Professional Engineer (PE)

For advancement to engineering roles with more independence or leadership qualities, aerospace engineers might want to consider earning professional licensure in the field. They can then pursue management positions, offer direct services to the public, and sign off on engineering projects. Beyond their engineering degree and experience in the field, passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and the Professional Engineering (PE) exams is required. According to the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), those engineers with professional licensing typically earn a higher median salary than their unlicensed counterparts.

Research and Development

Earning a master's degree could open up research and development opportunities for aerospace engineers. Fields for this development might include systems of defense, aviation, or even spacecraft. According to the BLS, some colleges offer a 5-year engineering program that awards both a bachelor's and a master's degree,

Architectural and Engineering Manager

Architectural and engineering managers are responsible for heading research and development projects, creating plans for new products, and hiring, training, and supervising employees. To be an architectural and engineering manager, you usually need at least a bachelor's degree in engineering or a master's degree in architecture and extensive work experience; however, some managers prefer that applicants achieve a master's degree in engineering, technical management or business administration.

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