Aerodynamicist: Career, Salary & Education

Aerodynamicists primarily work to increase the stability and efficiency of vehicles in the aerospace industry. Read the article to know more about the position, its job outlook, and salary stats.

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Career Definition of an Aerodynamicist

Aerodynamicists are engineers who are responsible for researching the most stable and efficient ways to design and construct airborne or, in some cases, land vehicles for companies. The research is aimed at improving the performance of a machine to the maximum level. However, the work is not limited to just the research part as these professionals are also required to prepare the technical designs of vehicles before they are constructed. They also do the testing of various prototypes to analyze how they react to specific simulated environments.

Aerodynamicists need to be very intricate and precise in their work due to the risk factors involved. A spacecraft is subjected to extremely harsh conditions, which is why these professionals need to ensure that the vehicle is robust and efficient to very high standards.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Top class math and science aptitude, high attention to detail, problem-solving skills, innovation, and good decision-making skills under pressure
Median Salary (2019)** $72,729 (aerodynamicists)
Job Outlook, 2016-26* 6% (aerospace engineers)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

Required Education

Aerodynamicists, much like aerospace engineers, must have at least a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering or another relevant field of engineering like aeronautical engineering, mechanical engineering, etc. A candidate who has pursued additional courses in computer studies and technical drawing could be ideal for the position as the job requires extensive technical designing and drawing. Those who have taken high school courses in subjects like chemistry, physics, advanced math, and computer studies could be in an advantageous position.

Required Skills

An aerodynamicist should possess a very high level of aptitude in subjects like math and science. The person should be a natural problem solver to facilitate the complex processes involved in the field of aerospace engineering. Since the work has no margin for error, an aerodynamicist is required to have expert attention to detail as well. He/she should be an innovator who thrives at solving the problems with new and better approaches. Good decision making and critical thinking skills are among other skills desired in aerodynamicists.

Career Outlook and Salary

As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), aerospace engineers, an occupational group that includes aerodynamacists, are projected to see their employment prospects increase by 6% between 2016 and 2016. The rise is about as fast as the average and is expected to result in around 4,200 new jobs in the mentioned timeframe. According to, aerodynamicists earned a median annual salary of $72,729 in the U.S. as of 2019. The top 10% of these professionals had an annual salary of more than $110k, while the bottom 10% earned below $58k.

Related Careers

Aerodynamicists are engineers who have job profiles and duties similar to numerous related careers. You can read about some of them by clicking on the links below.

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