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How Much Do Aerospace Engineers Make?

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Designing the Aircraft of the Future

Were you the kind of kid who drew airplanes and spacecraft all over your English papers? A career as an aerospace engineer could fit you perfectly since these professionals design and test aircraft, spacecraft, satellites and missiles for a living, and a very good living at that. Aerospace engineers make enough for a working mother to send her kids to private schools, with a median salary of $109,650.

Job Description

Aerospace engineers design machines that fly above the earth, every type of craft from missiles and airplanes to space shuttles and satellites. Aerospace engineers also develop the defense systems of the nation. They test their products, not by traveling to space but through computer modeling.

Education Requirements

You'll need to go to college to work in this career. Aerospace engineers must have at least a bachelor's degree and often receive it in some type of engineering, either mechanical, electric or aerospace. It's pretty difficult to get into this major at a good university, so make sure your high school academic career was strong, with good grades in geometry, trigonometry, physics, chemistry, information technology and English.

A bachelor's degree will get you an entry-level position. You'll get better jobs and may earn a higher salary if you have a master's or doctorate in similar subjects. According to Salary.com, those with master's degrees earn about $1,000 more than those with bachelor's degrees. Aerospace engineers with Ph.D.s, M.D.s or J.D.s earn about $1,000 more a year than those with only a master's degree. However, the most important factor affecting compensation is career duration. After that, the company you work for and the state you work in are the next more important factors.

The median salary for an aerospace engineer, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $109,650. Median means that half of the aerospace engineers working in this country earn more than this, while half earn more.

About the Industry

Aerospace engineers work in industries that design or build aircraft, missiles, systems for national defense or spacecraft. They usually find jobs in aerospace products and parts manufacturing, analysis and design, scientific research and development services, and the federal executive branch.

Years of Experience

According to PayScale, the range of salaries for aerospace engineers is $59,201 to $133,088. Entry-level salaries are 13 percent below average, while those with a few years of experience earn 8 percent more than the average salary. Experienced engineers can make 28 percent more, while those with many decades in the field can earn 62 percent more.

Job Growth Trend

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for aerospace engineers over the next decade is in positive territory. It's projected to grow 6 percent, about as fast as the average for all occupations.