Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians

What Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians Do

Aerospace engineering and operations technicians operate and maintain equipment used in developing, testing, producing, and sustaining new aircraft and spacecraft.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eOnm-61cDE

Work Environment

Aerospace engineering and operations technicians usually work in manufacturing or industrial plants, laboratories, and offices. Some of these workers may be exposed to hazards from equipment or from toxic materials, but incidents are rare as long as proper procedures are followed.

How to Become an Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technician

Many employers prefer to hire aerospace engineering and operations technicians who have earned an associate’s degree in engineering technology or who have completed vocational-technical education in computer programming or robotics and machining. Prospective technicians also may earn certificates or diplomas offered by vocational or technical schools. Some aerospace engineering and operations technicians must have security clearances to work on projects related to national defense.

Pay

The median annual wage for aerospace engineering and operations technicians was $66,020 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of aerospace engineering and operations technicians is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Most employment growth for these workers will be in the professional, scientific, and technical services industry.

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.

Duties

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.

Aerospace engineering and operations technicians held about 11,900 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of aerospace engineering and operations technicians were as follows:

Aerospace product and parts manufacturing 36%
Engineering services 18
Computer and electronic product manufacturing 11
Scientific research and development services 11

Aerospace engineering and operations technicians work in manufacturing or industrial plants, laboratories, and offices. Those who work in manufacturing or industrial plants are frequently directly involved in assembling aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft. Many are exposed to hazards from equipment or from toxic materials, but incidents are rare as long as proper procedures are followed.

Work Schedules

Aerospace engineering and operations technicians are employed throughout the private sector, with large and small manufacturing organizations, as well as with engineering services firms. Schedules worked tend to parallel those of the other engineering and operations staff members, and most work full time.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of aerospace engineering and operations technicians.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Aerospace Engineers

Aerospace engineers design primarily aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles.

Bachelor’s degree $116,500

Drafters

Drafters use software to convert the designs of engineers and architects into technical drawings.

Associate’s degree $56,830

Electro-mechanical Technicians

Electro-mechanical technicians operate, test, and maintain unmanned, automated, robotic, or electromechanical equipment.

Associate’s degree $58,350

Industrial Engineering Technicians

Industrial engineering technicians assist industrial engineers in creating systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service.

Associate’s degree $56,550

Mechanical Engineering Technicians

Mechanical engineering technicians help mechanical engineers design, develop, test, and manufacture mechanical devices.

Associate’s degree $56,980

For more information about careers in engineering, visit

Technology Student Association

For more information about certification, visit

Federal Aviation Administration

SpaceTEC

O*NET

Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians


Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/aerospace-engineering-and-operations-technicians.htm (visited ).