High earners in aeronautics are typically aerospace engineers, also known as aeronautical engineers. Aerospace engineers are responsible for the design and construction of aircraft, spacecraft, military hardware and systems. The average salary of aeronautical engineers is substantially higher than the national average.
Get a bachelor's degree -- most aeronautical engineers have at least a bachelor's. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 77 percent of aeronautical engineers in 2010 had a bachelor's degree, compared with 14 percent with a master's degree and 8 percent with some college education, but no degree. Pursuing further education beyond the bachelor's level, however, can increase future earnings prospects. A degree in engineering is mostly composed of courses in mathematics and science. Some engineering degrees offer specialization in aeronautical engineering, which would again prove to be an advantage when entering the aeronautical field.
Train as a new aeronautical engineer. New aeronautical engineers will begin their careers by working under the guidance of a more experienced aeronautical professional. Classroom instruction, in addition to on-the-job training, is common. With enough experience, aeronautical engineers will gain more managerial and supervisory roles, and will be charged with leading new aeronautical designs. Salaries increase along with further experience.
Gain employment in the right sector. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the average salary of aeronautical engineers was $96,270 a year. By sector, the highest wages for aeronautical engineers were found in the "other professional, scientific and technical services" sector, with average salaries of $116,980 a year in 2009. The second highest salaries were in the federal executive branch, averaging $108,820. The federal executive branch was also the third biggest employer of aeronautical engineers in 2009. The third highest average annual salaries were in the scientific research and development services sector at $108,760, followed closely by the communications equipment manufacturing sector.