Are you feeling confused or worried of the career prospects of your aerospace degree? While being capable of claiming you are a rocket scientist next time you are at a party is certainly a big thing in and of itself, an aerospace degree can be much more than that. There are a great number of jobs where your degree is directly applicable and an even greater number of jobs where your degree and academic background would prove to be more than useful.
In this article, we will present you with our top picks for jobs you can get with an aerospace degree. It is important to know that our proposals do not cover the grand total of employment opportunities you will have after you graduate, but they are certainly going to provide you with plenty of food for thought.
Well, first, the obvious. Your natural career path will lead you to become an aerospace engineer, a job that involves working with the latest, cutting edge technology, big international companies or even the military itself. There are many specialization paths within the profession, like the areas of aerodynamics, avionics, materials and structures, propulsion and systems integration.
The job of an aerospace engineer is only as complex as it is glamorous and satisfying. You will be called to apply scientific principles and the newest technology to research, design, develop, maintain and extensively test military weapons and aircraft, civil aerocraft, satellites and spacecraft. You will be working to improve the flight safety, speed, weight and cost efficiency of these models. The past few years, there is an increasing eco-friendly component added to the profession: How to address and ultimately minimize the environmental impact of air travel.
The knowledge you will acquire with an aerospace engineer will allow you to expand on the broader mechanical engineer profession. A mechanical engineer is called to problem solve in a range of industries, such as construction, manufacturing, automotive and railway. The chief goal is to provide efficient and effective solutions to the development of new products and processes of all sizes and scopes, from the smallest component designs all the way to large machinery and vehicles.
Common across all industries, a mechanical engineer's duties will include the design and implementation of new equipment that will improve safety and reliability. There will be meticulous testing and evaluating of theoretical designs, using engineering principles and techniques. Strong analytical thinking, adept use of mathematical modeling and computer design are considered a given, as is the cooperation with other professionals, in and out of the engineering field.
An aerospace engineer will also allow you to work as a design engineer – the enabler of the transformation of ideas and concepts to actual, real products. A career as a design engineer is an excellent chance to combine your creativity and innovation potential with your technical, engineering expertise. You will study, research and develop brand new ideas and systems to create new products. You will work to modify and improve existing products or proceses, with a goal of making them more efficient and better performing.
A design engineer can pretty much work on every industry imaginable. You will often be called to assess whether a product has an adverse environmental impact, or the general safety of its design. Naturally, the profession involves plenty of computer design and computer assisted engineering software, so familiarity with them is a given. Often, a design engineer will have to collect and analyse data from prototype product and process testing, make the appropriate adjustments and retest them.
Inspector and Compliance Officer
An inspector and compliance officer is the expert who is responsible for ensuring those flying and those walking remain safe. It is they who enforce the various safety laws and regulations created to prevent any sort of design or performance flaw that could potentially endanger and hurt anyone. They monitor all the associated procedures, all the while keeping detailed progress logs.
An inspector and compliance officer can work in state and federal regulatory agencies, as well as developers, consultants and contractors. An aerospace degree will prove invaluable in this profession, but the additional knowledge of the latest compliance rules and procedures will be required in order to take this career path.
Mission Or Payload Specialist
Basically, these are crew member positions on space missions. Sounds amazing right? Now, admittedly, both types of jobs are usually short term but they are usually filled by researchers and other kinds of experts on the field of aerospace. A mission specialist is responsible for planning crew activities, delegating and regulating rations and managing the mission's operations. Excellent understanding of space craft systems and operation procedures, requirements, objectives and equipment of the mission is a strict requirement.
A payload specialist is a technical expert with a specific, scientific expertise that accompanies the standard crew for a specific mission. They are rigorously trained to transport and handle the complex equipment that is carried in a space shuttle and conduct the respective experiments with it in space. They are also expected to assist in managing and developing operational tactical guides and documents.
"I get to work on all kinds of projects that are in the news ..."
Perhaps the job prospects of an aerospace degree are best illustrated with this quote, by one of NASA's top female aerospace engineers, Jill Marlowe. According to her, her work is different day by day, and changes from year to year – a huge boon for her as she gets bored easily. What remains constant through these changes is the difficulty and challenging nature of her profession. She feels she works on things that really make a difference for people.
As you can tell, an aerospace degree is an excellent choice and will open multiple possibilities for diverse career paths. You will be able to find employment in other branches of engineering, where your expertise will be welcomed with open hand, or even expand to many other, peripherally related jobs.