How to Start a Career in Aviation Engineering?

Posted by Stefan

Aircraft engineering is a highly rewarding and exciting career. Aircraft engineers are responsible for the maintenance of planes and their systems – whether it’s conducting research, running diagnostics, troubleshooting, upgrading systems, reporting, or repairing faults, it’s a role where no two days are the same. 

There is a shortage of aircraft engineers – the aviation industry needs those with highly specialised skills. With promising starting salaries, and opportunities for development and progression, it’s an excellent career path to embark on. 

But how do you become an aircraft engineer and what do you need to study? Here’s our advice on how to get started: 

Studying STEM Subjects 

If you’re still at school and want to become an aircraft engineer, then studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics offers a solid grounding. You don’t necessarily need to study all four however a clear understanding of how physics and chemistry work, and being able to think logically when it comes to building and designing technology, will give you the core skills needed to thrive in the aviation industry. 

Getting an Engineering Degree 

If you’re passionate about Engineering, then no doubt you’ve investigated studying for an undergraduate degree in a related subject. This is the minimum requirement needed to become an aircraft engineer, and being qualified in a highly specialist field, such as Mechanical Engineering, will teach you the fundamental topics needed to establish a career in the aviation industry. 

Choosing a course that focuses on physics, structural analysis, and aeronautics gives a solid understanding of the key, transferable skills needed to design, build and operate an aircraft efficiently. Getting plenty of practical knowledge is just as important as the theoretical side of things though – completing work experience and placements can help bolster your employment prospects. 

Gaining a Master’s Degree  

Some employers also expect a postgraduate qualification to make sure you have the right knowledge. For example, studying for a Master’s in Aeronautical Engineering or Aerodynamics, and specialising in a particular niche such as propulsion or systems integrations, will prove beneficial when applying for aeronautical engineering jobs. 

A Master’s degree is particularly relevant if your undergraduate degree doesn’t directly relate to your chosen field. Completing a Master’s will ensure you have the right expertise to meet the demands of the job. 

Earning an Aviation License 

To work as an aircraft engineer, you must have an aviation license. So, when you’ve finished your studies and before applying for jobs, becoming licensed by The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is the next step. 

The EASA is responsible for ensuring the industry adheres to strict safety and regulation requirements set out by The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). To earn an EASA license you need to undertake 50-55 hours of flight training and 150 hours of theory. The license must be renewed every five years but it’s worth noting different countries operate under different licenses – B1 and B2 licenses will help you with engineering work in Europe. 

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