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Aerospace engineer: Entry requirements

The most common route into this job is through studying a degree in aeronautical/aerospace engineering. However, employers may accept other relevant degrees such as:

  • mechanical engineering;
  • physics/applied physics;
  • production/manufacturing engineering;
  • space-related courses;
  • electrical and electronic engineering;
  • computer science/software engineering;
  • mathematics.

Many large aerospace companies offer graduate training schemes in the engineering field and require a good degree, usually a 2.1 or above. Entry with a HND only will not usually be possible for these programmes.

If you do have a HND, you may be able to enter at a technician level or through an apprenticeship in a lower level manufacturing role. To become an aerospace engineer however, you will need to take further qualifications, which may be supported by your employer.

If you want to register as an incorporated engineer (IEng) you must have an accredited degree or have equivalent educational experience. To become a chartered engineer (CEng), as well as an accredited degree, you must also have an accredited Masters degree (or appropriate further learning to a Masters level). You can find a list of relevant courses at Engineering Council - Accredited Course Search .

A Masters in aeronautical/aerospace engineering can also be particularly useful if your first degree is in a different subject. Postgraduate study may also allow you to specialise in a certain area of aerospace engineering.

Pre-entry experience is advisable. Gaining work experience helps you learn key skills, develop knowledge and learn about potential employers. Many aeronautical engineering degrees include sandwich placements but you can also get experience through vacation work. Employers value industrial placements as an opportunity to identify potential graduate recruits.

When applying for jobs you will need to show evidence of the following:

  • strong technical knowledge;
  • ability to think creatively and be innovative;
  • problem-solving and analytical skills;
  • meticulous attention to detail and methodical approach to work;
  • a level of commercial awareness;
  • communication and teamworking skills;
  • ability to work to deadlines with self-motivation;
  • organisational skills;
  • time management skills;
  • ability to cope with new demands and new problems to be solved;
  • a love of aviation, aircraft and flight technology.

Language skills may be useful because of joint ventures with international companies and the possibility of travel to company sites outside the UK. Security clearance is required for defence work. Due to the technical nature of this job, employers may stipulate that you have normal colour vision.

Information on getting a job in aviation is available from Careers in Aerospace .

For more information, see work experience and internships and search postgraduate courses.

There are 94 jobs available in engineering and manufacturing

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Written by AGCAS editors
April 2014

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