The aerospace industry consists of companies manufacturing aircraft, air borne weapons, and spacecraft. Most of these companies are private firms who are given contracts by the U.S. government. In government, aerospace employment can mostly be found in the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Defense, the National Transportation and Safety Bureau (NTSB), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and in small quantities in other agencies.
The largest concentration of aerospace companies can be found in the state of California. Other major aerospace companies can also be found in the states of Connecticut, New York, Texas, and Washington. Workers employed in these companies come from a wide range of educational backgrounds and have different skill sets and exactly what types of workers are needed depends on the manufactured product or the line of business. For example an airline company mostly needs different types of workers from a rocket manufacturing firm.
The aerospace industry is rapidly developing and new technologies continuously need to be discovered and that is why around 25 percent of all aerospace workers are technical workers like aerospace engineers and scientists. They do all the tests and experiments necessary to develop new, more powerful, and more efficient aircraft or equipment, and also maintain the present. Most managerial and administrative positions in the aerospace industry are also held by engineers and scientists. Other technical workers in the aerospace industry include other types of engineers, astronomers, chemists, metallurgists, mathematicians, and physicists.
Most aerospace employment can be found in the manufacturing and assembly plants comprising around 37 percent of aerospace workers. Some of these jobs are unique in the aerospace industry while others can also be found in other industries including inspectors, sheet metal fabricators, production line machine operators, machinists, mechanics, painters, technicians, upholsterers, welders, and electricians. Aside from these the aerospace industry also employs all kinds of office workers and other non- technical workers.
The required education and training depends on the kind of job. For the highest level technical jobs, various types of science and engineering graduates are needed especially aeronautical engineers. Managerial and administrative positions are also often held by science and engineering graduates but can also be held by graduates of other courses, such as business course graduates. Lower level office and clerical positions are mostly held by business course graduates while for assembly line and manufacturing jobs a high school diploma plus some vocational training or extensive work experience are enough to qualify. In many aerospace companies on the job training is made available.
If you are looking for aerospace employment or part-time work, most companies implement internship or apprenticeship programs for the lower level jobs. You can apply directly to a company or through employment agencies. In some cases schools have agreements with companies to allow their students to have their internship in these companies. Other places to look are in newspaper ads, internet job boards, and local labor unions.
Work conditions vary according to the job. Usually factory manufacturing and assembly areas are kept clean, brightly lit, and well ventilated; there could also be some work that needs to be done outdoors. Work schedules are usually the regular 40 hour week with shifting. For scientists, engineers, managers, administrative, and office workers in the aerospace industry their work areas are usually just like any other office area.
Employment outlook is good but growth is expected to be at 8 percent until 2014 for all aerospace jobs which is slower than average for all occupations. Aerospace opportunities are mostly coming from growth and some from the need to replace retiring workers. Career advancement depends on educational attainment, experience and skill. An entry level production line worker could advance to become inspectors; a machinist can become the chief mechanic; mechanics and inspectors can advance to technicians; technicians go on to become engineers or supervisors so on and so forth. This means that it is advisable for workers to continue with courses that will help them advance in their careers.
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