How to become an Aerospace Engineer

Are you interested in airplanes? Do you like to build things? How about a career designing, building, and testing aircraft? Imagine creating the next commercial airliner, designed for carrying hundreds of passengers. Or working on the fastest, stealthiest military plane. These are two projects an aerospace engineer might work on.

An aerospace engineer designs and develops aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles. They use principles of physics and materials science to create and test prototypes, analyze data, and make improvements. Aerospace engineers work in a variety of industries, including government agencies, defense contractors, and commercial airlines.

They must have strong problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work in a team. A bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering or a related field is typically required for entry-level positions.

Aerospace Engineer Facts for Kids

  • Aerospace engineers design planes and spacecraft.
  • They use physics and maths a lot.
  • Some specialize in airplanes (aeronautics).
  • Others focus on rockets (astronautics).
  • They create and test prototypes.
  • They work on improving flight safety.
  • They solve problems in-flight systems.
  • They may work on satellites too.
  • Their work helps explore space.
  • Aerospace engineering began in the 19th century.

Aeronautics and Astronautics

Aerospace engineering consists of two main branches: aeronautics and astronautics. Aeronautics involves designing, building, and testing aircraft like airplanes and helicopters, while astronautics deals with spacecraft for outer space exploration.

Kids interested in this field can learn about flying machines, rockets, and robots for planetary study. This career requires math, science, and technology to solve complex problems and create innovative solutions for efficient travel through the skies and beyond.


Avionics focuses on designing, developing, and implementing electronic systems in aircraft, satellites, and spacecraft. It combines technology and flying, making it an ideal field for kids who love both. Aerospace engineers create advanced communication, navigation, and control systems for pilots and astronauts.

They develop instruments like autopilot, radar, and GPS for smooth flights. Avionics engineers improve air travel safety and promote space exploration, making it an exciting career for those who dream of soaring in the skies or venturing into the universe.

Propulsion Engineering

Propulsion engineering is a branch of aerospace engineering focusing on designing engines and systems for aircraft and spacecraft. This field attracts children’s interest as engineers work on various projects, from fuel-efficient airplane engines to powerful rocket engines for space travel.

These engineers apply physics, chemistry, and materials science knowledge to develop innovative propulsion technologies, enabling faster, higher, and farther flights. Notable propulsion engineering achievements include commercial airplane jet engines and the Saturn V rocket engines used in Apollo missions. Propulsion engineers significantly contribute to these remarkable engineering feats.

Flight Dynamics

Did you know that aerospace engineers play a crucial role in understanding and designing the flight dynamics of airplanes, helicopters, and spacecraft? Flight dynamics is the science of how objects like aircraft and rockets move through the air and space. Aerospace engineers need to take into account factors such as lift, drag, thrust, and weight to ensure these flying machines can soar safely and efficiently.

They use their knowledge of aerodynamics, propulsion, and control systems to create and test new designs and improve existing ones. These engineers also develop advanced technology and devices to help pilots navigate and control their aircraft more accurately. So, the next time you see an airplane flying high in the sky, remember that aerospace engineers have worked hard to make that flight possible!

Space Systems Engineering

Aerospace engineering focuses on designing and building machines that can fly within Earth’s atmosphere and outer space. For kids interested in space systems engineering, a branch of aerospace engineering, this involves working on advanced technologies for space exploration and travel. These engineers develop spacecraft, satellites, and space stations.

They also create systems to communicate with astronauts or control interplanetary robots. By studying physics, mathematics, and engineering principles, space systems engineers help explore the universe and unlock mysteries of outer space. Their innovative work allows us to learn more about our solar system, discover distant galaxies, and potentially live on other planets.

Structural Analysis

Aerospace engineers are vital in designing and building aircraft, spacecraft, and satellites for extreme conditions. They focus on structural analysis, examining the materials and components of these vehicles. Using advanced tools and techniques, they ensure safety and reliability through testing and analysis. This enables humans to explore the skies and space.

Aircraft Design

Aerospace engineers play a crucial role in aircraft design. They use their knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to create amazing flying machines! Aerospace engineers study aerodynamics and use computer programs to design aircraft that can fly higher, faster, and more efficiently.

They also ensure these flying machines are safe for passengers by conducting tests and improving their designs. From massive jumbo jets to tiny unmanned drones, aerospace engineers are the creative minds behind the incredible technology that makes flight possible.


Aerodynamics is a field in aerospace engineering that focuses on air movement around objects like airplanes and rockets. Engineers use physics, math, and fluid mechanics to design and improve these flying machines’ shapes and structures.

They also work on understanding and reducing air resistance. Thanks to their work, airplanes, and rockets can travel with speed and efficiency. So when you see an airplane or rocket in action, remember that aerodynamics and aerospace engineers play a vital role in making it possible!

Materials Science in Aerospace

Materials science is vital in aerospace engineering, teaching kids the significance of selecting the appropriate materials for constructing aircraft and spacecraft. For instance, aluminum alloys are often used due to their lightweight, strength, and corrosion resistance. Recently, advanced materials such as carbon fiber composites and ceramic matrix composites have been developed, offering lighter and stronger options.

These materials allow engineers to create more fuel-efficient and eco-friendly aircraft. Furthermore, materials science is necessary for developing heat-resistant materials for spacecraft re-entry, as they need to endure extreme temperatures. Kids interested in aerospace engineering should recognize the importance and excitement of materials science, as it drives innovation and contributes to cutting-edge aerospace technologies.

Control Systems

Aerospace engineers play a crucial role in designing and creating advanced control systems for various aircraft and spacecraft. These control systems are essential for understanding, as they help ensure the safe and efficient operation of flying machines.

In simple terms, control systems are like the brains of an airplane or a rocket, helping the pilot or autopilot maintain a steady course. Aerospace engineers work with complex mathematical models, computer simulations, and cutting-edge technology to develop these systems. They must consider factors like aerodynamics, propulsion, and stability to create control systems that can respond to changing conditions in the air or in space.

For aspiring engineers, learning about aerospace control systems can inspire them to dream big and reach for the stars.

Fun Facts

  • Aerospace engineers work on airplanes, space shuttles, satellites, and even missiles. They need advanced training in mathematics and physics. Aerospace engineering is one of the most challenging engineering fields.
  • In addition to designing and engineering aircraft, engineers must test the crafts for safety. Simulations with small models allow engineers to evaluate a design’s potential flaws.
  • Aerospace engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics engineering or a similar field. Thirty percent of aerospace engineers have a master’s degree.
  • Aerospace engineers earn an average of $58.00 per hour, higher than most fields. Annually, engineers can expect to earn between $73,000 and $143,000, depending on their experience and education.
  • Jobs are limited for this field since the air and space industry is a small one. Companies like Boeing need only a few airplanes designed.
  • Aerospace engineers usually work for the federal government or manufacturing industries. A few work for NASA. Engineers generally work in an office environment.


Questions and Answers

Question: What should I do if I think I want to become an aerospace engineer?

Answer: If you think you might like to be an engineer, start learning about science and math now. Have fun building projects and learning to think critically. When you get to high school, take every science and math class offered, as well as some business classes.

Learn More

Visit Jobs in Aviation to learn more about being an aerospace engineer.