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Aeronautical engineer

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Summary of occupation

​Aeronautical engineers perform and supervise engineering work concerned with the design, development, maintenance, manufacture and operation of flight vehicles. They focus on the form, arrangement and stability of structures and their movement through the air.

Aeronautical engineers assess mechanical systems, flight characteristics and aircraft performance to ensure that aircraft are airworthy. They design and maintain a variety of flight vehicles such as helicopters and civilian and military aeroplanes.

Aeronautical engineers working in aerospace can also work with missiles, satellites, launch vehicles and spacecraft.

ANZSCO description: Performs and supervises engineering work concerned with the design, development, manufacture, maintenance and modification of aircraft for flight. Registration or licensing may be required.
Alternative names: Aerospace engineer
Specialisations:
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

An aeronautical engineer needs:

  • an interest in the practical application of engineering and science
  • good oral and written communication skills
  • analytical and problem solving abilities
  • good planning and organisation skills
  • to assume responsibility and take a leadership role
  • to adhere to strict safety regulations.
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Working conditions

​Aeronautical engineers may work for regulatory authorities to ensure that aircraft are safe to fly in Australia. They can also work for the Defence Force, research organisations, repair and maintenance companies or design offices.

They may have to participate in test flights in a variety of weather conditions and during odd hours, such as at dawn or at night. They may also investigate aircraft accidents, and issue certifications or licences.

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Salary details

​On average, aeronautical engineers, classified under other engineering professionals, can earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience.

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Tools and technologies

​Aeronautical engineers use drawing and measuring instruments and materials, as well as computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software. They must also ensure design plans and materials meet a range of federal and international standards and codes so that any aircraft modification or repair complies with the law and the aircraft is safe to fly.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

​To become an aeronautical engineer you usually need to complete a degree in engineering with a major in aeronautical or aerospace engineering.

There are currently no courses in aeronautical or aerospace engineering available in Western Australia. You can complete degree courses at universities interstate. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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