Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more
- Education Required
- High school students interested in becoming aerospace engineering and operations technicians should take classes in math, science, and, if available, drafting and computer skills. Courses that help students develop skills collaboratively with machines also are valuable, because these technicians build what aerospace engineers design. In addition, technicians should have a basic understanding of computers and software in order to model or simulate products.
- Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 7% (As fast as average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
- Although not required for the job, certification is offered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Certification may be beneficial because it shows employers that a technician can carry out the theoretical designs of aerospace engineers.
- Median pay: How much do Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians make?
- $68,020 Annual Salary
- $32.70 per hour
Aerospace engineering and operations technicians operate and maintain equipment used in developing, testing, producing, and sustaining new aircraft and spacecraft. Increasingly, these workers are being required to program and run computer simulations tools and processes in their work, as well as advanced automation and robotics. Their work is critical in preventing the failure of key parts of new aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles. They also help in the quality assurance, testing, and operation of advanced technology equipment used in producing aircraft and the systems that go into the aircraft.
What do Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians do?
Aerospace engineering and operations technicians typically do the following:
- Meet with aerospace engineers to discuss details and implications of test procedures
- Build and maintain test facilities for aircraft systems
- Make and install parts and systems to be tested in test equipment
- Operate and calibrate computer systems so that they comply with test and manufacturing requirements
- Ensure that test procedures are performed smoothly and safely
- Record data from test parts and assemblies
- Install instruments in aircraft and spacecraft
- Monitor and ensure quality in producing systems that go into the aircraft
New aircraft designs undergo years of testing before they are put into service, because the failure of key parts during flight can be fatal. As part of the job, technicians often calibrate test equipment, such as wind tunnels, and determine the causes of equipment malfunctions. They also may program and run computer simulations that test the new designs.
Some aerospace engineering and operations technicians are beginning to specialize in three-dimensional printing, or additive manufacturing, as this technology becomes more common in the work they do.
Careers for Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians
- Altitude chamber technicians
- Flight data technicians
- Wind tunnel technicians