An aerospace engineer technician tests spacecraft, missiles, and aircraft to ensure they meet compliance requirements. The importance of reliable parts and equipment is critical. They frequently use simulation tools along with computer-based modeling and processes to maintain and operate equipment. They are typically employed in laboratories, manufacturing, offices, or industrial plants.
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How to Become an Aerospace Engineer Technician
Typically, aerospace engineer technicians hold an associate’s degree in engineering technology from a community college or a certificate from a vocational technical school. Coursework may include drafting, computer skills, algebra, basic science, or trigonometry. Some community colleges offer internships or cooperative education partnerships with engineering companies. This allows students to gain experience while earning their degree.
Many employers require a security clearance for projects related to national defense, therefore a U.S. citizenship may also be required. NASA’s Careers in Aerospace Technology page (link opens in a new tab) recommends that high school students interested in this career field should begin taking classes in algebra, biology, calculus, chemistry, computer mathematics, English, geometry, math analysis, physics, and trigonometry.
Job Description of an Aerospace Engineer Technician
An aerospace engineer technician has the responsibility of preventing the failure of crucial parts of spacecraft, missiles, and aircraft. They maintain and operate equipment used in testing these designs. In addition often are required to operate and program computer simulations to perform the tests. Aerospace engineer technicians frequently calibrate test equipment and troubleshoot problems that cause malfunctions in the equipment. They work closely with aerospace engineers to ensure proper builds and safety of the designs.
Aerospace engineer technicians record data from assemblies, test parts, and monitors quality control with systems that is installed into the aircraft, spacecraft, or missile. It is becoming more common for aerospace engineer technicians to specialize in three-dimensional printing or additive manufacturing because of the need for advanced technology in this line of work.
Aerospace engineer technicians need skills in math, communication, mechanical, and critical thinking. They should also have interpersonal skills and be detail-oriented. This job can pose health hazards as one is exposed to toxic materials or equipment. However when proper safety precautions are taken these incidents are low.
Free Student and Teacher Resources
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (link opens in a new tab) is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. You can read about upcoming events, watch videos, and read news related to aerospace.
Free Aeronautical Engineering Course
Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) offers a free Introduction to Aeronautical Engineering course on EdX.org (link opens in a new tab) with the option to pay a small fee receive a verified certificate upon completion of the course.
By taking this course, you’ll learn:
- The impact of the history of flight on aircraft today.
- How the earth’s atmosphere can be modeled and how we can use this for aircraft design.
- Stability, structures, navigation and propulsion of aircraft.
- The fundamental aerodynamic concepts for flying an aircraft.
- How airfoils and wings generate lift.
- Flight mechanics of aircraft.
- How aircraft can optimally climb, descend and cruise.
Aerospace Engineer Career Video Transcript
Seen from the ground, the flight of a jumbo jet or the launching of a space shuttle can seem like magic. For the aerospace engineering and operations technicians who work on these modern marvels up close, these events are part of their everyday jobs. These technicians help ensure that aerospace engineers’ experimental designs for air and space vehicles are feasible and can be implemented.
Aerospace engineering and operations technicians build test facilities, then run tests on prototypes or new models to find problems in design or function. They record test data and make adjustments to prevent dangerous equipment failures. Making live tests function as intended requires both communication skills and technical skills. Often when something isn’t working, technicians and engineers troubleshoot together, so technicians must know how to ask the questions that will lead to the right answers.
Most aerospace engineering and operations technicians work full time in manufacturing plants, laboratories, and offices. In plants, technicians are directly involved in assembling aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians typically earn an associate’s degree in engineering technology. Security clearance may be required for work related to national defense. Proper execution of their duties is crucial both for safety and performance. In the end, it’s these technicians who carry the weight of flight.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians.
- National Center for O*NET Development. 17-3021.00. O*NET OnLine.
- The video is Public Domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.