Aerospace engineers design and create airplanes and other aircraft used in both commercial and military settings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 78,000 aerospace engineers employed in the United States in 2010. The salary information provided by the bureau indicates a wide range of pay that includes salaries earned by those with both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The salary for aerospace engineers with a doctorate degree will typically be near the top of the engineering pay scale.
Although the average salary for those working in the aerospace engineering field was $99,000 per year in 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the salary range goes much higher. The median salary for those working in this field was $97,480, but the upper 25 percent of the pay scale made salaries of $120,290 or more per year. The upper 10 percent made even more. These aerospace engineers made salaries of $143,360 or higher. Although doctorate-holding aerospace engineers tend to fall into these two upper salary ranges, other factors like experience and employer may also propel an aerospace engineer into the upper echelons of the pay scale.
The amount that aerospace engineers are paid also depends upon other factors, such as the specific industry in which they are employed. For instance, the BLS indicates that the highest-paying industry for aerospace engineers was the wholesale equipment field. These aerospace engineers made average salaries of more than $118,000 per year. Those working in non-scheduled air transportation made a little less at $114,000 per year, while those employed by the federal government made $111,000 on an annual basis.
Location also provides an indicator of the salaries earned by those in the aerospace engineering field. According to the BLS, aerospace engineers made salaries of $108,750 or more working the states of California, Alabama, Virginia and Maryland. Those working in the District of Columbia also earned salaries higher than this figure and were among the highest paying locations in which to work as an aerospace engineer. In other states like Texas and Washington offered average salaries that dipped just below $100,000 per year.
The aerospace engineering industry should continue to grow through 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics projections. The bureau indicates the number of jobs in this field should grow by somewhere in the neighborhood of about 10 percent, over and above its reported total for 2008. This means that the number of jobs in this industry should grow from about 71,600 to 79,100 during this decade.