Are you good at physics and maths and interested in working with air and spacecraft? Then, you can pursue a career as an Aerospace Engineer.
Aerospace Engineers use the theory and principles of mathematics, aerodynamics, and physics to design, build and test space aircraft. They also supervise the designs of other engineers to ensure that they meet specific safety, ethical, and environmental standards.
To become an aerospace engineer in Australia, you need a bachelor's degree in aerospace or aeronautical engineering. A relevant postgraduate degree makes you more appealing to potential employers.
This blog provides an overview of the career. It discusses the responsibilities and roles, degrees, courses, qualifications, career trajectories, study paths, salary, the steps to becoming an Aerospace Engineer, and more.
1. What Is An Aerospace Engineer?
Aerospace Engineers research, design, analyse and build propulsion units, test structures, and control subsystems for spacecraft, aircraft, or missiles.
They apply technological and scientific principles to estimate the performance of designs and the possibilities of their failure.
There are two types of Aerospace Engineers. The first is Aeronautical engineers. They work with aircraft like helicopters and fighter jets in the Earth's atmosphere.
The second one is astronautical engineers. They design and build spacecraft for various companies and industries.
2. What Do Aerospace Engineers Do?
Design spacecraft, aircraft, parts, missiles, satellites, and support equipment based on drawings and mathematical computations
Perform computer analysis and mathematical design models as per customer engineering requirements
Assess product designs to ensure that it meets engineering standards
Create and test prototypes to make sure that they function according to design.
Investigate mechanical systems, flight characteristics, products, or equipment to identify aircraft performance issues and other aviation failures
Introduce modifications to air or fuel conditioning systems and plan installation procedures
Oversee the airframes, engines, and instruments
Develop procedures to repair aviation parts
Coordinate and lead engineering professionals
Conduct flight test programs to compute take-off distances, stand speeds, rate of climb, manoeuvrability, and landing capacities to ensure the aircraft can meet operational conditions.
Collaborate with aero-engine specialists in the designing and building of aircraft
Provide technical advice and expertise to non-engineers in solving complicated engineering issues
Conduct surveys of equipment and airframes to identify structural faults
Troubleshoot the hardware development, application, integration, analysis, and assessments
Create risk mitigation strategies
Prepare and present presentations to employees, customers, and clients.
3. Aerospace Engineer Skills
Aerospace Engineers need both technical skills and soft skills to work in various areas in the global aerospace industry:
Sound knowledge of mathematics, computer science, technology, physics, technical design, materials science, electronics, and engineering
Able to work in adherence to aircraft safety and regulations
Understanding aerodynamics and the properties of the materials used in developing spacecraft and aircraft.
Enjoy technical and engineering activities
Good written and oral comprehension
Able to work unsupervised
Normal colour vision
4. Aerospace Engineer Qualifications In Australia
To become an Aerospace Engineer in Australia, you need a formal qualification. An engineering degree with a major in aerospace or aeronautical engineering, including an honours year, is the minimum requirement to work in this profession.
Consider completing a 4-year full-time Bachelor of Engineering (Aerospace Engineering) (Honours) from a university.
To enter the aerospace engineer degree course, you must complete Year 12 education in one or more subjects such as English, mathematics, physics, and chemistry.
Gaining membership in Engineers Australia can be advantageous.
Work experience in designing and repairing aircraft and troubleshooting computer algorithms is beneficial.
5. Steps To Become An Aerospace Engineer In Australia
Step 1: Study For an Engineer Degree
Aspiring aerospace engineers must complete an engineering qualification, majoring in aerospace or aeronautical engineering, with an honour's year (4th year).
The aerospace engineer course helps build a strong base in programming, problem-solving, reasoning, reading and writing for risk assessments, and the technical design skills to complete practical design objectives.
High school graduates can attend this course at top universities such as RMIT, UNSW, and the University of Melbourne.
Students who complete at least one year of an approved university course in engineering can join the Undergraduate Scheme in the Royal Australian Navy or Royal Australian Air Force.
Step 2: Seek Work Experience
Graduates can gain work experience by applying for internships or partnership programs to boost their career prospects.
It helps gain practical industry experience and build professional connections with leaders and mentors.
Step 3: Join Professional Associations
After graduating with an aerospace engineering degree in Australia, candidates can apply for membership with Engineers Australia.
Gaining professional membership helps you stay updated on industry developments and job opportunities. It also improves the chances of landing an entry-level role.
6. Aerospace Engineer Courses In Australia
The Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Aerospace Engineering) is the ideal course that combines practical learning and industry experience to prepare you for an exciting career in aerodynamics and aerospace.
You will learn the following: aerodynamics, aerospace systems, design, materials and structures, thermodynamics, dynamics and propulsion.
In this course, students will learn about the following:
Design and assemble a single-engine aircraft
Development of propulsion systems
Testing new engines and the production of air and space flights
Maintenance and operation of aircraft
Working with flight simulators
Building and operating drones
Undertaking flight operations training
Learn ways to improve flight safety, operational systems, fuel efficiency, and the environmental impact of air travel
This industry-focused degree helps students gain specialist skills in the design, operation, and analysis, of sophisticated aerospace hardware and software.
After you graduate, you can work in any of these areas in aerospace:
Design and manufacturing
Research and development
Possible Designations Include:
Navigation systems engineer
Aircraft engineer or Automotive designer
You May Work In A Variety of Settings:
General aviation organisations
Defence forces such as the Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force, and Royal Australian Navy
Renowned design and manufacturing companies include Boeing Australia, Lockheed Martin, Qantas Airlines, BAE Systems Australia, Airbus, and Australian Aerospace.
Airworthiness organisations, such as the Department of Defence or Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Government aerospace laboratory
With a manufacturer that contracts with the aerospace sector to develop technologically advanced sports gears
Defence organisations, such as Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group and Defence Science and Technology Group
Formula One teams
Graduates can consider upskilling and specialising in specific fields of the defence industry, such as military aircraft, satellites, helicopters, and rockets.
Here Are The Top Nationally Recognised Universities For This Degree
Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Aeronautical) – The University of Sydney
Study mode: On-campus
Study type: UGCW
Location: Camperdown/Darlington campus
Duration: 4 years full-time for Domestic and International students
Bachelor of Engineering (Aerospace Engineering) (Honours) – RMIT University
Aerospace engineering ATAR score: 78.40
Study Mode: Full-time
Duration: 4 years
Delivery: On Campus (Bundoora, Melbourne City)
Fees: Commonwealth-supported places
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Aerospace Engineering) - UNSW
Aerospace engineering UNSW degree features:
Delivery Mode: Face-to-face (includes blended)
Award: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
Duration: 4 Years (Full Time)
With a focused curriculum on airborne vehicles and 60 days of approved industry training, the degree prepares you for aerospace engineering fields such as aerodynamics, propulsion, structures, and flight mechanics.
7. How Long Does It Take To Become An Aerospace Engineer?
Aerospace Engineers need at least a 4-year bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering to enter the field. Some universities offer five-year double degree courses that combine bachelor's and master's degrees.
Though you don't need licensing for an entry-level role, more advanced Aerospace Engineering positions require work experience and a Professional Engineer license.
To work in a managerial position in Aerospace Engineering, you need extensive work experience and an aerospace engineering qualification.
Thus, it takes around 4 -5 years to get started in the Aerospace Industry in Australia.
8. Working Conditions For Aerospace Engineers In Australia
Aerospace engineers spend most of their time in offices working with sophisticated computer software and advanced computer equipment.
They use it to design aircraft models, satellites, missiles, and spacecraft and create and test prototypes to ensure aircraft function as per the design requirements.
Some even work in a manufacturing environment to supervise the design, construction, and implementation. Aerospace Engineers work alongside construction specialists and engineers when designing and building spacecraft or aircraft components.
Aerospace Engineers usually work full-time on standard schedules. However, when they manage large projects, these engineers could work overtime to monitor progress and ensure that the design meets requirements, design standards, and deadlines.
9. Job Opportunities For Aerospace Engineers In Australia
Aerospace engineers usually work in aviation, space exploration, defence, and sports manufacturing. They can work as a high-level engineer on a broad array of Australian and overseas projects.
While most Aerospace Engineers work in aerospace manufacturing firms, some work in engineering firms and private research facilities.
Career opportunities also exist with aircraft manufacturers, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, aerospace companies, the Department of Defence, the RAAF, the RAN, and aeronautical consulting services.
Top Hiring Industries for Aerospace Engineers:
Public Administration and Safety, Manufacturing
Transport, Postal & Warehousing
Navigational, electromedical, measuring, and control instruments manufacturing
Aerospace parts and product manufacturing
R&D in the engineering, physical, and life sciences
Besides aerospace and aerodynamics, Aerospace Engineers can also work in various other science and technology areas, including automobile design, computer operation, navigation systems, and software engineering.
10. Aerospace Engineers Specialisation In Australia
Aerospace engineers generally specialise in performing and overseeing flight vehicle design, development, production, and maintenance. It includes military and commercial products, launch vehicles, rockets, and remote-piloted aircraft.
After working in a niche for 4-5 years and gaining experience, some aerospace engineers start their businesses afterwards.
The Most Common Specialisations Include:
Avionics Systems Engineer
Aeronautical Engineering Officer (Navy)
Aerospace Engineer Officer - Armament (Air Force)
Aerospace Engineer Officer - Aeronautical (Air Force)
Aerospace Engineer Officer - Electronics (Air Force)
Weapons Aeronautical Engineering Officer (Navy)
11. Who Can Enter The Australian Defence Force?
Candidates who meet the following requirements are eligible to join the ADF:
17 years or above at the time of entry
Complete your Year 12 education
Completed at least one year of bachelor's study (in Aerospace, Aeronautical, Mechatronics, and Mechanical) and have no more than three years of study left to obtain the degree
Physical and Medical fitness. Candidates must successfully pass a fitness test before getting appointed to ADF.
Must hold a valid Australian Territory/ State probationary/ provisional C Class Drivers Licence upon appointment
Pass the Online Aptitude Test
Must pass the process of background checks to obtain a minimum level of security clearance as required for the level of employment.
12. What Is Life As An ADF Employee?
When appointed in ADF, Aeronautical Engineers undertake an 18-week Officer Course, followed by a 3-week Employment training or Aerospace Engineering course.
Once trained, Aerospace Engineers work in the following categories:
They can work in any official role, such as instructor or staff officer, which helps to broaden the skill set of an Engineering Officer.
While working in these roles, they lead engineering teams to create and deliver ADF capability to gain, sustain, manage, and maintain any technology.
They are responsible for the design, regulation, project management, technical maintenance, and logistics to ensure the safe, efficient and effective use of technology to generate the desired ADF capability.
ADF Aeronautical Engineers usually work on state aircraft, ancillary technical equipment, infrastructure, weapons, RADAR, and SONAR. They also work within a specified engineering management framework that comprises ADF procedural guidance and regulations.
Aeronautical Engineers may work at any Air Force Base in Australia and rotate around new roles every three years. They do this to develop adequate experience to become a competent engineering leader.
The Benefits of Working In The ADF
Excellent leisure facilities
Medical and dental cover
World-class learning and training
ADF employees get paid from the first day of joining the Air Force while completing their degree at their chosen university. Here is what they are paid based on the level of study:
Four years left to graduation: $34,633
Three years left to graduation: $40,790
Two years left to graduation: $46,947
In the final year: $53,104
In addition to the above salary, ADF also offers a variety of allowances and superannuation at a higher rate than you would get in the civilian world.
13. Job Prospects For Aerospace Engineers In Australia
The growth in commercial air and space travel with the rising demand for high-speed travel will translate to several aerospace engineering jobs in today's scientific and technological landscapes.
With the introduction of new aircraft in Australia, Aerospace engineers have much room for exploration and advancement in the airline industry.
Moreover, Aerospace engineering technical skills are also helpful in non-aerospace organisations such as the automotive industry, power generation, research organisations, and software support companies.
According to the National Job Outlook service, the number of Aerospace Engineers grew over five years. The future of aerospace engineering holds multiple opportunities for aspiring candidates to design innovative aircraft and revolutionise this industry.
Aeronautical engineers are vital in making new commercial aircraft sustainable and greener as global warming demands clean transport solutions. Aerospace engineers need propulsion and engines to rebuild existing aircraft, making them more fuel-efficient and less noisy.
The rising commercial opportunities of airborne systems will also drive growth.
Aerospace Engineers work in several regions of Australia. The Australian Capital Territory and Victoria have a large share of workers. Around 93% of professionals work full-time for 44 hours per week. Only 8% of workers are female, and the average age of the employed workforce is 36 years.
14. How Much Does An Aerospace Engineer Earn In Australia?
The average aerospace engineering salary in Australia is AU$ 81,847, equivalent to AU$ 35.97 per hour.
Experience and work location are the two main factors determining the aerospace engineer's salary in the country.
Here Is How Their Salary Varies With Experience:
Entry-level (below 1-year experience): AU$71,645 per year on average
Early career (1 to 4 years of experience): AU$78,092 on average
Mid-career (5 to 9 years of experience): AU$90,243 on average
Experienced (10 to 19 years of experience): AU$106,310 on average
Aeronautical Engineers Receive Higher Salaries in Certain Australian Cities:
Canberra ACT: $134,286 per year
Brisbane QLD: $130,715 per year
Darwin NT: $112,927 per year
Melbourne VIC: $111,377 per year
Sydney NSW: $109,938 per year
Jandakot WA: $101,048 per year
Perth WA: $99,010 per year
Cairns QLD: $74,463 per year
The "Aerospace Engineer" is a good profession for those passionate about designing and building aircraft for the future.
Working in this role, you get an opportunity to create innovative and greener aircraft and revolutionise the aerospace industry. Moreover, high demand, ample scope of specialisation, and lucrative salaries make the profession worth pursuing.
The bachelor's in aerospace/aeronautical engineering course is the first step to launching a career in this industry.
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