Aerospace engineering

Author
AGCAS editors
Posted
June, 2024

Whether you enjoy solving technical challenges or being creative and innovative, aerospace engineering opens up opportunities in a range of industries including aerospace, defence, automotive, energy and computing

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Work experience

Employers value experience gained through industrial placements, summer placements or part-time work.

Industrial placements as part of your course will add valuable experience to your CV and may also lead to job openings as employers often see placements as an opportunity to identify future recruits. Universities running aerospace engineering courses typically have various contacts with aerospace companies covering aircraft production and engineering, commercial airlines, drone operations and spacecraft development.

If industrial placements are not part of your course, look for summer placements with major engineering or manufacturing companies. You can also make speculative applications to places you're interested in.

Work experience in any kind of role within manufacturing, maintenance or related settings, whether in the office, factory shop floor or laboratory, will help you understand the whole production process and develop skills such as designing, research or working in a team.

You could also join relevant societies while at university to show your interest. This may include joining a local RAF University Air Squadron.

Activities that give you experience of flight will also be useful, including glider or small aircraft trial flying lessons.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

The UK aerospace sector is well established and dominated by large multinationals that produce a range of products in locations across the world. Manufacturing 'hubs' are in the South West, North West, Midlands, Northern Ireland, Wales and the South East.

Apart from aircraft manufacturers, opportunities exist with regulators such as the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the armed forces, government research agencies, the Ministry of Defence, airline companies, space programmes and suppliers of raw materials and parts to manufacturers.

There are opportunities to move into other high-technology sectors, such as wind and marine power or Formula 1 racing. You could also follow a career in research at a university or other research institution.

You could choose to move into another engineering field, such as materials, civil or design engineering or into related areas such as IT, business or science.

Find information on employers in engineering and manufacturing, law enforcement and security, transport and logistics and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

Aerospace engineering students develop specialist knowledge in areas such as design, control, systems, flight mechanics, aerodynamics, avionics, stress engineering, materials and structures, and sustainable aircraft design.

Employers are also interested in the broader technical, interpersonal and IT skills you acquire studying aerospace engineering, such as the ability to:

  • work effectively in multinational teams
  • use creativity and problem-solving skills to establish innovative solutions
  • manage the design process and evaluate outcomes
  • develop economically viable, ethically sound and sustainable solutions
  • be numerate and computer literate
  • work accurately and with attention to detail
  • effectively communicate
  • show leadership and exercise responsibility
  • demonstrate project management skills
  • meet changing customer needs.

Further study

You can complete an MEng, which involves an integrated additional year of study, or undertake a separate Masters qualification after completing your undergraduate degree, to specialise in a certain subject field. Research through an MRes, MPhil or PhD is also possible. Think about your preferred career and what the requirements are to make sure you choose the right postgraduate qualification.

As a new graduate employee, you may work towards Incorporated or Chartered Engineer status through the Engineering Council to achieve professional standards and you can be involved in further work-related education and training.

You may also choose to complete a Masters in a different subject to lead you into another career within perhaps IT, business or a different engineering field.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses in aerospace engineering.

What do aerospace engineering graduates do?

Half (51%) are working as engineering (40%) and IT professionals (11%). Other common occupations for aerospace graduates include science engineering and production technicians, senior officers in protective services, sales assistants and retail cashiers, business associate professionals, business, research and administrative professionals and teaching professionals.

DestinationPercentage
Employed68.2
Further study10.2
Working and studying9
Unemployed8.1
Other4.5
Graduate destinations for aerospace engineering
Type of workPercentage
Engineering47.8
IT13.3
Business, HR and finance7.4
Retail, catering and customer service5.1
Other26.4
Types of work entered in the UK

Find out what other aerospace engineering graduates are doing 15 months after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?

Graduate Outcomes survey data from HESA.

Find out more

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