Bureau of Labor Statistics

Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technologists and Technicians

aerospace engineering and operations technicians image
Aerospace engineering and operations technicians operate and calibrate computer systems so that they comply with test requirements.
Quick Facts: Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technologists and Technicians
2020 Median Pay $68,570 per year
$32.97 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Associate's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2019 11,900
Job Outlook, 2019-29 7% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2019-29 800

Summary

What Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technologists and Technicians Do

Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians run and maintain equipment used to develop, test, produce, and sustain aircraft and spacecraft.

Work Environment

Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians usually work in manufacturing plants, laboratories, and offices. Most work full time.

How to Become an Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technologist or Technician

Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians typically need an associate’s degree in engineering technology or a related field. Some employers consider candidates who have a high school diploma or have completed a certificate program.

Pay

The median annual wage for aerospace engineering and operations technicians was $68,570 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of aerospace engineering and operations technologists and 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.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technologists and Technicians Do

Aerospace engineering and operations technicians
Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians work to make sure that testing goes smoothly.

Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians install, run, and maintain equipment used to develop, test, produce, and sustain aircraft and spacecraft. Their work is critical to ensuring the safety and precision of key parts of these vehicles and systems.

Duties

Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and 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
  • Make sure 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. As part of the job, technologists and 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.

Work Environment

Aerospace engineering and operations technicians
Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians install instruments in aircraft and spacecraft.

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 technologists and technicians who work in manufacturing or industrial plants are frequently involved in assembly.

Work Schedules

Most aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians work full time. Depending on the employer or project, they may work in shifts or be required to work overtime.

How to Become an Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technologist or Technician

Aerospace engineering and operations technicians
Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians work to prevent the failure of key parts of new aircraft, spacecraft, or missiles.

Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians typically need an associate’s degree in engineering technology or a related field. Some employers consider candidates who have a high school diploma or have completed a certificate program. Some aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians must have security clearances to work on projects related to national defense. U.S. citizenship may be required for certain types and levels of clearance.

Education

High school students interested in becoming an aerospace engineering and operations technologist or technician should take classes in math, science, and, if available, drafting and information technology.

Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians typically need an associate’s degree in engineering technology or a related field. Some employers consider candidates who have a high school diploma or have completed a certificate program. Associate’s degree and certificate programs are available at community colleges or vocational–technical schools.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians must be able to follow instructions from aerospace engineers. They also need to clearly convey problems to their supervisors.

Detail oriented. Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians take precise measurements needed by aerospace engineers. In addition, they must keep accurate records of these measurements.

Interpersonal skills. Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians must be able to work well with others. They interact with people from other divisions, businesses, and governments.

Math skills. Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians use mathematics for measurement, analysis, design, and troubleshooting tasks.

Mechanical skills. Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians assist aerospace engineers by building what the engineers design. They need technical skills to guide processes from design to production.

Problem-solving skills. Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians help aerospace engineers troubleshoot design issues. They must be able to help evaluate system capabilities, formulate questions, and then find the answers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required for the job, SpaceTEC, the National Science Foundation’s Center for Aerospace Technical Education, offers the Certified Aerospace Technician Core Certification. Recertification is required every 3 years.

Pay

Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technologists and Technicians

Median annual wages, May 2020

Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians

$68,570

Drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians

$58,900

Total, all occupations

$41,950

 

The median annual wage for aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians was $68,570 in May 2020. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $43,400, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $103,450.

In May 2020, the median annual wages for aerospace engineering and operations technicians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Computer and electronic product manufacturing $72,890
Aerospace product and parts manufacturing 70,280
Engineering services 64,590
Scientific research and development services 63,320

Most aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians work full time. Depending on the employer or project, they may work in shifts or be required to work overtime.

Job Outlook

Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technologists and Technicians

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians

7%

Total, all occupations

4%

Drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians

1%

 

Employment of aerospace engineering and operations technologists and 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.

Job Prospects

About 1,100 openings for aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment projections data for aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians, 2019-29

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Occupational Title

Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians

SOC Code17-3021
Employment, 201911,900
Projected Employment, 202912,700
Percent Change, 2019-297
Numeric Change, 2019-29800
Employment by IndustryGet data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

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

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2020 MEDIAN PAY
Aerospace engineers Aerospace Engineers

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

Bachelor's degree $118,610
Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians

Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians repair and perform scheduled maintenance on aircraft.

See How to Become One $66,680
Drafters Drafters

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

Associate's degree $57,960
Electro-mechanical technicians Electro-mechanical Technicians

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

Associate's degree $59,800
Industrial engineering technicians Industrial Engineering Technologists and Technicians

Industrial engineering technologists and technicians help engineers solve problems affecting manufacturing layout or production.

Associate's degree $57,320
Mechanical engineering technicians Mechanical Engineering Technologists and Technicians

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

Associate's degree $58,230

Contacts for More Info

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technologists and Technicians,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/aerospace-engineering-and-operations-technicians.htm (visited July 26, 2021).

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

View this page on regular www.bls.gov

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