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Aerospace Engineer

Aerospace engineers research, design, develop, test, manufacture and maintain aerospace vehicles and systems such as commercial and military aircraft, missiles, spacecraft and related aerospace equipment.

  • Avg. Salary N/A
  • Avg. Wage N/A
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Aircraft Engineer, Aviation Engineer, Professional Engineer, Spacecraft Design Engineer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Aerospace Engineers (2146) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Aerospace Engineers (C046) 
  • 2011 NOC: Aerospace engineers (2146) 
Interest Codes
The Aerospace Engineer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Aerospace Engineers

Interest in synthesizing information to investigate, report and recommend corrective actions for structural, component and system failures, and to develop operational specifications and maintenance schedules


Interest in precision working to develop and conduct computer simulations using advanced mathematical modelling


Interest in supervising and co-ordinating the manufacturing, assembly, modification, repair and overhaul of aircraft and spacecraft; and in co-ordinating ground and flight tests

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Aug 02, 2016

Aerospace engineers may specialize in:

  • flight testing or simulation
  • aerodynamics
  • structures and materials
  • structural dynamics
  • mass and weight analysis
  • stress analysis
  • propulsion systems
  • systems analysis
  • avionics systems
  • navigation systems
  • robotics
  • project management
  • maintenance
  • component and system design
  • qualification testing of components
  • stability, control and performance of flight systems
  • manufacturing: machining, forming and joining aerospace materials and composites
  • particular products such as military aircraft, helicopters, surveillance systems, simulators, ground stations, satellites or rockets.

Some of these specializations are described below:

Aerospace engineers specializing in aerodynamics deal with the forces generated by motion through the air which affect aircraft performance. Working with design engineers and using computers and wind tunnels to simulate flight, they:

  • study and develop appropriate designs for aircraft, rocket vehicles and spacecraft that also fly through the atmosphere (for example, the shuttle on its re-entry)
  • analyze and test the effects of airflow to obtain the information they need to design appropriate structures
  • determine the aerodynamic loads used by structural engineers (see below).

Structural engineers determine if the aircraft or spacecraft will safely carry the loads it is designed to carry. Structural and stress analysis and testing are required to determine safety margins for aircraft, rockets and spacecraft.

Design engineers design and develop new aircraft, spacecraft and their components, or make improvements to the design of existing crafts. Design engineers:

  • analyze and optimize the constraints associated with the aerodynamics, stability, structures, materials and propulsion systems of aircraft and spacecraft, and determine how these factors affect the craft
  • conduct fretting fatigue analyses
  • apply principles of concurrent engineering and design to ensure manufacturability and reduce impact on the environment
  • use computer-aided design (CAD) applications to translate specific design specifications into drawings and standards for performance.

Aerospace engineers specializing in experimental testing construct models and analyze prototypes to test the aerodynamics, stability, control, propulsion and structural performance of a proposed design. These aerospace engineers:

  • make modifications to the design and study test results to determine the effects of such factors as weight distribution
  • test the performance of aircraft, spacecraft or components by determining the operating conditions likely to exist and recording the actual conditions that did exist during testing.

Materials engineers are responsible for selecting the specific type of materials to be used in each section of the aircraft or spacecraft to ensure high strength-to-weight ratios and resistance to heat or cold. Materials engineers:

  • decide which processes (for example, heat treating or plating) should be used to make materials usable without destroying their desired properties
  • prepare specifications and procedures for the use of particular materials and treatment processes
  • advise engineering, manufacturing and quality control departments on the properties, application, treatment, salvage and substitution of materials.

Project management engineers develop work plans and schedules to ensure the timely production of quality products, and avoid cost increases and delays in production. Project management engineers:

  • estimate costs
  • co-ordinate work flow
  • work with other engineers to solve technical problems associated with production
  • apply and implement ISO (International Organization for Standardization) principles and procedures
  • supervise each stage of the production process to meet production schedules until the project is completed.
Working Conditions
Updated Aug 02, 2016

Aerospace engineers work primarily indoors in offices and testing laboratories. They spend a considerable amount of time working with computers. They also may supervise work performed at production sites or manufacturing facilities, or work at a field site such as a launching pad.

Aerospace engineers may be required to work overtime to meet project deadlines. Project managers may be called back to work whenever there are problems with projects. They experience a great deal of pressure to meet deadlines and design standards. Some travel may be required.

  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Skills & Abilities
Updated Aug 02, 2016

Aerospace engineers need the following characteristics:

  • inquiring, creative and inventive minds
  • patience, motivation, determination and perseverance
  • strong problem-solving skills
  • an aptitude for mathematics and science
  • excellent oral and written communication skills
  • a capacity for details.

They should enjoy being innovative, doing work that requires precision and working in a team environment.

Educational Requirements
Updated Aug 02, 2016

The minimum educational requirement for entry level employment as an aerospace engineer is a bachelor's degree in engineering or applied science. Most advanced specialist engineers in the aerospace industry have at least a master's degree. Aerospace engineers engaged in research and development frequently have doctoral (PhD) degrees.

Several Canadian post-secondary schools offer degree programs related to aerospace engineering:

However, a high school graduate may enroll in any university-level engineering or science program and then specialize in aerospace engineering at the post-graduate level. A number of universities have mechanical engineering programs with some emphasis on aeronautical and aerospace disciplines.

For current information about programs, admission requirements and mature student admission policies, please check post-secondary calendars or websites.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Grande Prairie Regional College

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Aug 02, 2016


Professional Engineers design, construct, evaluate, advise, monitor and report on the performance of materials, equipment, systems, works, processes and structures.


Under Alberta's Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act, you must be a registered member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) to practice as a professional engineer. You do not have to be registered if you work under the direct supervision of a professional engineer and do not call yourself a professional engineer or use the word engineer in your job title.

What You Need

Registration as a Professional Engineer requires: (1) a 4-year bachelor's degree in a recognized engineering program and at least 4 years of acceptable work experience under the supervision of a Professional Engineer, or an equivalent combination of education and experience, (2) a minimum of 3 acceptable references and (3) successful completion of an approved examination in law, ethics and professionalism. A new Provisional Member category has been introduced. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit APEGA's website or contact APEGA.

Working in Alberta

Engineers who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered engineers in the 2 jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory? and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To find more information on the certification process for internationally educated engineers, see Professional Engineer Licensing Process on

Contact Details

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta
1500 Scotia One, 10060 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T5J 4A2
Phone number: 780-426-3990
Toll-free phone number (within North America): 1-800-661-7020
Fax: 780-426-1877

Employment & Advancement
Updated Aug 02, 2016

Employment in aerospace engineering is concentrated in cities such as Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Winnipeg and on military bases. There is some aerospace-related activity in Amherst and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Edmonton, Calgary and Medicine Hat, Alberta; and Richmond and Kelowna, British Columbia.

Aerospace engineers usually start work under the direct supervision of senior engineers. With experience and a good track record, they are given additional responsibilities. They may advance to positions such as project manager, department head, division manager and vice president.

Aerospace engineers may be delegated by the Minister of Transportation to approve design changes to aeronautical products. Legislation governing such delegation can be found in the Canadian Airworthiness Manual Chapter 505. Depending on the level of delegation granted by the Minister of Transportation, there can be a significant increase in opportunities for advancement and/or entrepreneurship.

In Alberta, 84% of people employed as aerospace engineers work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Aug 02, 2016

Aerospace engineers who have been delegated by the Minister of Transportation in Alberta generally earn in excess of $46 an hour.

According to the 2013 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Aerospace Engineers occupational group earned on average from $47.14 to $55.01 an hour. The overall average wage was $54.82 an hour. More recent data is not available.

Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
  • Media, Design and Communication Arts
    • Design Studies
  • Natural Resources
    • Environmental Stewardship
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Aug 02, 2016

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Apr 09, 2014. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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