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Aeronautical engineer: Salary and conditions

  • Range of typical starting salaries: £20,000-£25,000.
  • Aeronautical engineers with experience typically earn £28,000-£45,000.
  • Range of typical salaries at senior levels: £45,000-£65,000+.
  • Higher starting salaries may be offered to those with Masters or research qualifications. Larger, more renowned employers may offer higher salaries.
  • Working hours are mainly 9am to 5pm, but extra hours may be required to complete projects to deadlines. Aeronautical engineers may work on an 'on-call' consultation basis dealing with such issues as a change in the priority of repairs or in case of an emergency investigation.
  • Work is undertaken in offices, factory production hangars or aeronautical laboratories. You may have to travel to sites and other industrial companies in order to examine or test aircraft.
  • Design work in a laboratory will involve the use of sophisticated computer visualisation tools and software.
  • The work is often undertaken as part of a team with other colleagues and departments. There is a heavy reliance on research.
  • Self-employment opportunities are limited.
  • Working at the forefront of technology makes long career breaks difficult, as professionals need to keep up to date with industry developments.
  • Jobs are widely available in a number of locations in the UK and abroad. The main aerospace manufacturing locations in the UK are the South West, Midlands, North West, Northern Ireland, South East and Wales. The UK has a very advanced aerospace industry, which is at the forefront of technological and scientific development.
  • Only a small percentage of women are working as aeronautical engineers. Organisations such as Women's Engineering Society (WES)  and WISE (Women into Science, Engineering and Construction) , offer support and access to initiatives relevant to women engineers.
  • The work of aeronautical engineers requires dedication and enthusiasm. It may vary in content from day to day and can be stressful when deadlines approach. The work must be precise, as the consequences of human error can be serious.
  • Travel within a working day and absence from home over night are sometimes necessary due to visits to aircraft workshops or hangars to inspect aircraft that require modifications or repairs. Overseas travel may be required to attend courses and conferences on aeronautical engineering.

Salary figures are intended as a guide only.

Written by AGCAS editors
May 2012

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