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Engineering design

Aerospace engineer Green Job

Aerospace engineers design, test, build and maintain aeroplanes, spacecraft and satellites.

Annual Salary

£27,000 to £60,000

Average UK salary in 2023 was £34,963
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 40 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends; occasionally

Future employment

There will be 2.4% more Aerospace engineer jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

As an aerospace engineer, you could:

  • build and test prototypes using computer aided design (CAD) software
  • analyse test results to improve aircraft structures and aerodynamics
  • research new types of fuel and ways to reduce engine emissions
  • manage projects and supervise a team of engineers and technicians
  • develop new instruments and software for spacecraft
  • plan and supervise maintenance programmes

Working environment

You may need to wear protective clothing.

You could work in a factory, in an office, on an aircraft or in an aircraft hangar.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly

You could do a degree in aerospace engineering, avionics, or a subject like:

  • electrical or electronic engineering
  • mechanical engineering
  • manufacturing or product engineering
  • physics or applied physics
  • software engineering or mathematics

Postgraduate study

You may be able to do a master's degree in aeronautical or aerospace engineering if you've studied for a degree in a related subject, such as engineering.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and physics
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information

You could do a higher national certificate (HNC) or diploma (HND) in engineering before applying for a technician level job with an aerospace company.

Subjects include:

  • mechanical engineering
  • aeronautical engineering
  • electrical engineering

You would then do further training to become a fully qualified engineer.

For more information

You could do a Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship to begin your career in the aerospace industry. Apprenticeships include:

  • Aerospace Engineer
  • Aerospace Software Engineer
  • Electro-Mechanical Engineer
  • Materials Science Technologist

Some employers may offer other types of engineering apprenticeships, for example, a Power and Propulsion Gas Turbine Engineer Level 7 Degree Apprenticeship.

You'll combine workplace learning with study for a degree at university.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
For more information

You might be able to join a company as an aerospace engineering technician and do training on the job to qualify as an engineer.

Direct application

You can apply for aerospace engineering jobs if you've got relevant qualifications and experience. For example, you might have worked in mechanical, electrical or electronics engineering.

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the Royal Aeronautical Society for professional development, career resources and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about working in aerospace engineering from Careers in Aerospace.

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With experience, you could specialise in a particular field like:aerodynamics; fuel efficiency; space technology; air accident investigation

You could also become a project manager, consultant aerospace engineer, or move into technical sales.

You can find out more about careers in aerospace engineering from Careers in Aerospace.

Aerospace engineers design test and build the launch vehicles, payloads and propulsion systems that deliver everything into orbit.

Examples of post-16 courses you could study at a local school or college

  • Maths, Sciences A-levels
  • Level 2/3 Aircraft Maintenance Engineering 
  • Engineering and Manufacturing T-Level 

Find a local provider

Examples of post-18 courses you could study at a local provider in the South West

Search for a degree course

Apprenticeships you may be able to take with local employers

  • Level 2-3 Engineering Apprenticeship
  • Level 4 Engineering Manufacturing Technician

Search for apprenticeship vacancies

Employers in the South West 

  • Thales Alenia Space
  • Frazer Nash Consulting
  • Rolls Royce,GKN
  • GE Aviation
  • Moog
  • Jacobs
  • Airbus
  • Universities of Bristol, Bath and West of England (UWE)
  • SpaceForge
  • BAE Systems
  • Ministry of Defence

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • maths knowledge
  • design skills and knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of physics
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • operations analysis skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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