Aerospace Engineering and Operations TechnicianIt is the responsibility of the Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians to build, maintain, test and operate new aircraft, spacecraft and missiles. Their work is imperative in ensuring important parts and software in these crafts do not fail when they are used. They understand all the inner-workings of this equipment because they help make and install the parts, operate and maintain the computer systems, install the safety instruments on aircraft and spacecraft and perform quality assurance tests. From these tests they will record data regarding the parts as well as the assembly of the craft.
They also quality test the software systems used in the crafts. These extensive tests take years to complete before the crafts are put into service. The failure of any important parts can cause many fatalities. These technicians must ensure the safety of every part of the craft, which takes a very long time. They also have to install, program and run test simulations on the computer programs used on these crafts as well.
Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians must use additive manufacturing (or 3D printing) in their work. Some workers in the field are now beginning to specialize in additive manufacturing.
Work EnvironmentWhile some Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians may work in an office environment, most of them will be found working full time in industrial plants, laboratories or manufacturing plants. They are physically involved in their work, assembling missiles, aircraft and spacecraft. Because of this, they might be exposed to hazardous equipment and toxic materials. As long as the proper gear and procedures are used, hazardous incidents are rare.
How to Become an Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technician Employers prefer to hire applicants with an associate’s degree in Engineering Technology or a certificate or diploma earned through a vocational or technical school. It’s important for those wanting to become an Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technician to take courses in science, math, computers and drafting. Community colleges will often include hands-on work training in the associate’s degree program, which is very helpful to applicants.
In addition to the required education, certification programs are also made available through the FAA. Although these certification classes are voluntary, the education gained in the community college or technical college settings in cooperation with this certification ensure the highest standards of safety.
Some important skills include: Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians must have excellent math skills. Different elements of math are applied daily in this position. They must be very mechanically inclined and be very detail-oriented. Accuracy is the most important part of this position. They must be able to work well on a team and be able to think critically when running tests on equipment. In addition, they must have excellent communication skills. They need to be able to follow instructions to the tee and give feedback as needed.
PayAccording to a study performed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012, Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians can make anywhere between $40,000 and $87,500 per year. The median wage for this position is around $62,000 per year.
Job OutlookThe need for Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians is expected to stay the same over the next ten years. Because many projects they work on are for the national defense, they may require security clearances. This puts restrictions on who is able to take these positions and guarantees the jobs stay within the U.S.
Aircraft are always being redesigned to fly more quietly and be more fuel-efficient. Therefore, there will continue to be a need for Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians.
It is predicted that, over the next few years, civilians will be able to travel into space. This would make spacecraft design and manufacturing move from a government sector to civilian agencies, creating more non-government positions for Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians.
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