The term Aerospace Engineer encompasses a wide range of positions in the industry; from designing new aircraft and their various elements, to devising upgrades and repairs to existing aircraft – and a whole lot of possibilities in-between. Increasingly, Aerospace Engineers are working with Information Technology (IT) and computer equipment; plus modern materials like carbon-fibre composites.
They are the people who invent and help manufacture the equipment that everyone else in the aviation industry flies and supports. A bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering is considered to be an entry-level requirement for Aerospace Engineers. Further post-secondary education, plus training from employers is often required.
To succeed, an Aerospace Engineer needs to be adept in mathematics and the sciences. They need to be self-directed problem-solvers; capable of rational thought and abstract thinking, and with the personal diligence to work with precision and in line with accepted industry practices and standards. This is a top-flight profession, whose demands and opportunities are often matched by its high-level of financial remuneration.
How to Learn
People interested in becoming Aerospace Engineers first determine which areas of the profession they would like to work in and then research which universities offer these skills; both in Canada and abroad.
Licencing by a provincial or territorial association of professional engineers is required to approve engineering drawings and reports and to practice as a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.). Engineers are eligible for licence following graduation from an accredited educational program, and after three or four years of supervised work experience in engineering and passing a professional practice examination. See Engineers Canada website for more information.
According to Canadian Business magazine, the position of Aerospace Engineer is one of Canada’s Best Jobs.
There are set to be plenty of openings in this industry. About 4,000 jobs are up for grabs in this field, and that’s expected to continue until 2024, with 700–800 people expected to retire each of the next eight years and a projected 1,400 openings annually over that time. As the average age of Aerospace Engineers rises, there will be excess demand over the five-year period in order to replace retiring engineers.
The average salary for a Canadian Aerospace Engineer is $87,347 per year or $45 per hour. Entry level positions start at $61,000 while most experienced workers make up to $122,000.
Because it requires a university education, becoming an Aerospace Engineer is an expensive proposition; especially because many jobs require candidates to have a Master’s degree or higher. Students are advised to ask for specific costing information at the university of their choice, and to review the academic qualifications of the specific careers they are interested in. As with most university programs in Canada, students may be able to obtain loans and grants from their respective provincial and territorial governments.
Need More Information?
Transport Canada’s job site has considerable information about becoming an Aerospace Engineer in Canada.
Colleges and Institutes Canada’s search engine allows students to search for Aerospace Engineering programs across Canada.
Canada Student Loans and Grants provides links to student loan/grant programs across Canada.
The Engineers Canada website is also a good resource in all things regarding Aerospace Engineering.