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Engineering design

Aerospace engineer

Aerospace engineers design, build and maintain planes, spacecraft and satellites.

Annual Salary

£20,000 to £60,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends; occasionally

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Aerospace engineer jobs in 2025.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day duties will depend on your role but may include:

  • developing navigation, communications or weapons systems
  • researching ways to make fuel-efficient parts, such as wings, fuselage and engines
  • using CAD software for design
  • testing prototypes
  • collecting and analysing test data
  • planning and supervising the fitting of aircraft and components
  • signing off projects under strict industry regulations
  • scheduling and supervising maintenance

Working environment

You could work in an aircraft hangar, on an aircraft, at a client's business, in a factory or in an office.

Your working environment may be cramped.

You can get into this job through:

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

You can do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in aerospace engineering, avionics, or a related subject like:

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

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths
For more information
College

You can do a higher national certificate (HNC) or diploma (HND) in engineering before applying for a job with an aerospace company. Subjects include:

  • Level 4 HNC Diploma in Mechanical Engineering
  • Level 5 HND Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering
  • Level 5 HND Diploma in Electrical Engineering

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, a level 3 diploma or relevant experience for a level 4 or level 5 course
For more information
Apprenticeship

You can do a degree apprenticeship as an aerospace engineer.

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
Work

You can join a company as an engineering technician and do training on the job to qualify as an engineer.

Direct application

You can apply for jobs directly if you've got qualifications and experience, for example from working in electrical or electronics engineering.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about careers 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; investigating air accidents

You could also move up to become a project manager or consultant aerospace engineer.

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

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
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • science skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to read English
  • operations analysis skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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