California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Aerospace Engineers in California

May also be called: Aeronautical Engineers; Aircraft Engineers; Astronautical Engineers; Flight Systems Test Engineers; Flight Test Engineers; Propulsion Engineers

What Would I Do?

Aerospace Engineers design, develop, and test aircraft, missiles, spacecraft, and wind turbine blades and rotors. They also supervise the manufacture of these products. Those who work with aircraft are called Aeronautical Engineers and those Engineers working with spacecraft are called Aerospace or Astronautical Engineers. Both types of Engineers are grouped under the classification of Aerospace Engineer because the education, training, and job duties are similar.

Green Economy
Aerospace Engineers will play an important role in the emerging Green Economy. They will assist with the research and design of renewable energy components, and work on activities that relate to increasing efficiency and reducing environmental impacts of various transportation modes, such as airplanes and spacecraft.

Aerospace Engineers work in a variety of settings, such as office buildings, laboratories, and industrial plants. Some spend part of their workday at testing and production sites. They may also spend much of their time traveling to locations to oversee operations or solve on-site problems. Sometimes they may relocate while working on a project in the United States or abroad.

Most Aerospace Engineers work a standard 40-hour week. Tight schedules or last-minute problems may require the Engineer to work longer hours, evenings, or weekends.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Aerospace Engineer may appeal to those who enjoy working with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. Engineers search for facts using a variety of sources in order to solve complex engineering problems. They may also work independently or as part of a team.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2020 for Aerospace Engineers in California is $125,853 annually, or $60.51 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2020Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2020 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
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Aerospace Engineers usually receive excellent benefits, including health and life insurance, vacation, sick leave, holidays, and retirement plans.

What is the Job Outlook?

With the increased focus on environmentally sustainable business practices, it is expected that there may be increased opportunities for Aerospace Engineers as more companies worldwide are “going green.” However, like many occupations, employment may be sensitive to the fluctuations of the economy.

How Do I Qualify?

The basic requirement for the Aerospace Engineer is a bachelor's degree in engineering, generally with a concentration in aerospace or aeronautical engineering. Coursework tends to emphasize mathematics, physics, and other science subjects. Advanced computer skills are also vital to the Engineer's education.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers is one of the most common and effective job search methods. Jobs may also be found through classified advertisements in newspapers, networking, online job boards, and professional engineering organizations. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

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