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Career Requirements for an Aviation Engineer

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Have you considered a career in aviation engineering? Aviation engineers are the backbone of the aircraft manufacturing field. They are the employees dedicated to all functions from design to maintenance of aircraft, satellites and missiles before assembly. They also troubleshoot problems that may arise during operation. Here are some things to help you understand more about this career option, and how you can prepare for a career in the field.
Required Supplies
Having the correct tools on hand is one of the most important responsibilities of the aviation engineer. A basic mechanic’s toolset will get you started. It should include hand tools, impact drivers and rivet guns. You will also need personal protection tools, such as safety glasses.
For each aircraft, you will need a playbook, also known as a runbook. The playbook includes all of the troubleshooting steps you should need if the aircraft needs repair or maintenance. This guide helps you get the aircraft back into operation or get the equipment running to perform a more thorough analysis.
A mirror, ladder and magnet are some of the more unique tools you will need. Mirrors allow you to get a look at areas of the aircraft that are obstructed from view. Ladders give you easier access to your work area. Magnets are critical to collect metal pieces that may have fallen into hard-to-reach areas.
Finally, teamwork, problem-solving and creativity are soft skills that blend with your analytical and technical skills. Successful aviation engineers should have a balance of all talents.
Education Requirements
If you are still in high school, take as many advanced-level courses as available. Work with your high school counselor and college admissions counselor to make sure any dual-credit courses you take will transfer to the college. Select a university that is accredited through the Accredited Board for Engineering and Technology.
A bachelor’s degree in aeronautical, aerospace or aviation engineering is your first step to starting your career. Internships and volunteer opportunities help you get much-needed experience and move your resume to the top of the candidate list. Consider working toward your master’s degree and seek opportunities to continuously increase your skills.
Be sure to include business and writing classes throughout college. This allows you to be a better communicator and a more valuable employee.
Include foreign language classes in your course schedule. There are many international opportunities available to you. Knowing a second (or third) language makes you more attractive to employers.
Find a mentor in your field to help you build a strong networking partnership. A mentor helps you identify career goals, improve communication skills and motivate you. Many professionals attribute their success to their mentors. As you grow in your career, you can pay it forward by mentoring younger professionals in your field.
If you are changing careers and already work for an aerospace company, speak with your Human Resources Department and see if they can apply your work experience toward the requirements for a specific position.
Employment Opportunities
Federal, state and local governments all hire aviation engineers. The Federal Aviation Administration, NASA and Department of Transportation all hire for their respective departments. State and local transportation agencies utilize aviation engineers. They may assist authorities in developing noise pollution controls around airports. Engineers also design and maintain local airports and helipads.
Aircraft manufacturers depend on aviation engineers. These engineers are directly responsible for developing new aircraft, updating existing equipment and troubleshooting aircraft. Qualified individuals can work in almost any country in the world.
Aviation engineering is not limited to working on aircraft. Because of their specialized knowledge about the internal functions of aircraft, most airports and heliports have a staff of aviation engineers, also known as airport engineers. Their responsibilities include maintenance of aircraft as well as operation and construction of airports.
Deciding on your best career path can be challenging and rewarding at the same time. Take the time to explore all job requirements and make sure they match your skillset.

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