Do Aeronautical Engineers Make Good Money? Exploring the Salary Range and Career Opportunities

Do aeronautical engineers make good money? It’s a question that many aspiring engineers and recent graduates might find themselves asking. And rightfully so – after all, being an aeronautical engineer comes with a reputation for high salaries and promising career paths. But just how much money can these engineers expect to earn, and is the reality of the job as good as it seems?

Let’s start by getting one thing straight – aeronautical engineers do indeed make good money. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these engineers rank among the highest-paid engineering professionals. But as with any career path, there are many factors that can influence aeronautical engineers’ salaries, including location, experience, and industry.

One thing that sets aeronautical engineering apart from other engineering fields is its association with the aerospace industry. This industry is known for its competitive salaries and generous benefits packages, which can range from bonuses to stock options and beyond. But perhaps more importantly, the aerospace industry also tends to provide a supportive work environment that encourages collaboration, innovation, and ongoing professional development. For aspiring engineers who are passionate about aviation and space, this could be the perfect place to start a fulfilling and lucrative career.

Median salaries of aeronautical engineers

Aeronautical engineering is a lucrative career path that is in high demand due to the ever-evolving aerospace industry. The median salary of aeronautical engineers varies depending on their experience, skill set, industry, and location. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for aerospace engineers, which includes aeronautical engineers, is $116,500 per year, as of May 2020.

This is a significantly higher salary than the median salary for all occupations in the United States, which is only $39,810 per year. However, it is important to note that this median salary is the middle point, meaning that half of all aerospace engineers earn more than this amount, while the other half earns less.

Moreover, the salary range for aeronautical engineers can vary greatly depending on several factors, such as experience and geographic location. For instance, entry-level aeronautical engineers earn an average of $74,000 per year, while those with ten or more years of experience earn an average of $150,000 per year. Additionally, aeronautical engineers who work in metropolitan areas that have a high cost of living, such as San Francisco and New York, can earn significantly higher salaries than those who work in rural areas.

Factors that affect median salaries of aeronautical engineers

  • Experience level
  • Industry sector
  • Geographic location
  • Type of employer

Aeronautical engineers’ salary by industry

The type of industry that aeronautical engineers work in can also affect their salary. The aerospace and defense industry hires the most aeronautical engineers and offers the highest salaries. The following table shows the median annual salaries for aeronautical engineers in different industries, as of May 2020:

Industry Median Annual Salary
Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing $116,450
Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences $114,410
Engineering Services $112,850
Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation) $112,210
Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control Instruments Manufacturing $107,020

It is worth noting that the salaries mentioned above are subject to change due to various factors such as inflation and the overall economic climate.

Factors affecting salary of aeronautical engineers

Aeronautical engineering is one of the most lucrative fields for those who want to pursue a career in aviation, aerospace, and defense technology. Aeronautical engineers design, develop and test aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles. They are responsible for the entire process of design, manufacture, and testing of the products. However, the salary of aeronautical engineers varies from country to country and even within the same country.

  • Level of Education: The level of education one has achieved has an impact on the salary of an aeronautical engineer. Those who have completed their bachelor’s degree and have a few years of experience can expect a salary at the lower end of the range. Those with a Master’s degree or a PhD can expect a higher salary.
  • Industry Type: The industry in which an aeronautical engineer works is an important factor in determining their salary. Companies that design and manufacture aerospace products typically pay more than those that provide support services like engineering analysis or software development.
  • Work Experience: Another key factor influencing the salary of an aeronautical engineer is work experience. Generally, the more years of relevant experience one has, the higher their salary will be.

Types of Jobs for Aeronautical Engineers

Aeronautical engineers have a variety of job options to choose from, each with its own salary range. Some common jobs for aeronautical engineers include:

  • Aerospace Engineer: These engineers design and develop aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, and other airborne systems. The average salary for an aerospace engineer is around $116,500 per year.
  • Manufacturing Engineer: These engineers are responsible for designing and optimizing manufacturing processes for aircraft and aerospace products. The average salary for a manufacturing engineer is around $79,000 per year.
  • Mechanical Engineer: These engineers design and develop mechanical systems used in aviation, from engines to landing gear. The average salary for a mechanical engineer is around $70,000 per year.

Salary Range by Experience Level

The table below shows the salary range for aeronautical engineers by experience level:

Experience Level Salary Range ($ per year)
Entry Level $61,000 – $101,000
Mid-Career $81,000 – $139,000
Experienced $102,000 – $172,000

In conclusion, salaries of aeronautical engineers are influenced by several factors, including education level, industry type, and work experience. It’s important for those considering a career in aeronautical engineering to research and consider these factors when determining their career path in order to maximize their earning potential.

Highest Paying Industries for Aeronautical Engineers

Aeronautical engineering is a high-demand field that offers various opportunities for employment in different industries. Here, we will discuss the industries that provide the most lucrative opportunities for aeronautical engineers in terms of salary and job satisfaction.

  • Aerospace product and parts manufacturing: This industry offers the highest average salary for aeronautical engineers. As of May 2020, aeronautical engineers in this industry earned an average annual wage of $124,820. Moreover, this industry is expected to experience a 3% job growth from 2019 to 2029, thereby providing a stable career path for aeronautical engineers.
  • Federal government, excluding postal service: Aeronautical engineers working for the federal government earn an average annual salary of $117,810. This industry offers job security, and aeronautical engineers can benefit from numerous perks, such as health insurance, pension plans, and retirement savings plans.
  • Scientific research and development services: Aeronautical engineers in this industry make an average annual salary of $114,820. This industry offers exciting opportunities to work on ground-breaking projects and cutting-edge research in the field of aeronautical engineering.

Key Skills and Qualifications to Land Highly Paying Jobs in the Aeronautical Engineering Field

Obtaining a job in the high-paying industries mentioned above requires a blend of technical skills and business acumen. To excel in the field of aeronautical engineering, some of the key qualifications and skills you need to possess include:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering or a related field such as Electrical, Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering.
  • High proficiency in software such as MATLAB, AutoCAD, CATIA, and SolidWorks.
  • An excellent ability to design, analyze and test aircraft systems and components.
  • Project management skills to oversee complex projects from conception to completion.
  • Effective communication skills to work effectively in a team and present ideas clearly.

Average Salaries of Aeronautical Engineers Across Different Industries

The table below presents the average salaries that aeronautical engineers earn each year in various industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2020.

Industry Average Annual Salary Job Growth (2019-2029)
Aerospace product and parts manufacturing $124,820 3%
Federal government, excluding postal service $117,810 -10%
Scientific research and development services $114,820 2%
Architectural, engineering, and related services $96,410 3%
Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing $92,820 -4%

The salaries mentioned above may vary based on factors such as experience, education level, location, and company size. However, they provide an overview of the earning potential of aeronautical engineers in different industries.

Geographic Location and its Impact on Aeronautical Engineer’s Salary

One of the factors that significantly impact an aeronautical engineer’s salary is their geographic location. Here’s why.

  • Cities with Major Aerospace Industry: In cities where there is a thriving aerospace industry, aeronautical engineers tend to make the most money. For instance, cities like Seattle, Los Angeles, and Wichita are the major hubs of the aerospace industry in the United States, which means aeronautical engineers in those cities are more likely to earn high salaries compared to their counterparts in other cities.
  • Cost of Living: The cost of living in different cities varies widely, which can affect an aeronautical engineer’s salary. For example, while an engineer in San Francisco or New York City might earn a higher salary, the high cost of living in those cities may offset the increased earnings.
  • Government Contracting: The presence of government contracting companies in a certain location can also impact an aeronautical engineer’s salary. Engineers working for aeronautical and defense contractors in Washington D.C., for example, can expect high salaries given the federal government’s focus on defense contracts.

Below is a table that shows the top five highest-paying cities for aeronautical engineers in the United States based on median salary:

Rank City Median Salary (per year)
1 San Francisco, California $127,100
2 Seattle, Washington $116,400
3 Boulder, Colorado $115,500
4 Birmingham, Alabama $110,300
5 Los Angeles, California $110,300

It is important to note that salaries will vary based on educational background, years of experience, and industry. However, aeronautical engineers who are willing to relocate may be able to increase their salary potential by moving to a city with higher demand for their skills and expertise.

Benefits and Perks Offered to Aeronautical Engineers

Aeronautical engineering is a highly specialized field that requires extensive education and training. As a result, aeronautical engineers are compensated quite well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for aerospace engineers, which includes aeronautical engineers, is $116,500 as of May 2019. However, the top 10% of earners in this field make over $162,000 per year.

  • Health and Retirement Benefits: Most aeronautical engineering jobs offer comprehensive health and retirement benefits, including medical, dental, and vision insurance, as well as retirement plans like 401(k)s or pension plans. Some employers also offer employee assistance programs (EAPs) to help manage stress, mental health, and personal issues.
  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Due to the highly technical nature of their work, aeronautical engineers often have the option to work remotely or on flexible schedules. This allows for a better work-life balance and can help reduce burnout.
  • Professional Development Opportunities: Employers typically offer a variety of professional development opportunities to aeronautical engineers, such as continuing education courses, conferences, and seminars. Many companies also have tuition reimbursement programs that can be used to pursue advanced degrees or certifications.

In addition to these benefits, aeronautical engineers may also be eligible for other perks, including:

  • Bonuses and profit-sharing opportunities
  • Paid time off and holidays
  • Relocation assistance for those who need to move for work
  • Employee discounts on products and services

The Bottom Line

Overall, aeronautical engineers are well-compensated for their highly specialized skills and expertise. In addition to generous salaries, they typically receive a range of employee benefits and perks that can help make their jobs more rewarding and fulfilling. These benefits can vary depending on the employer, but many employers offer comprehensive health and retirement benefits, flexible work arrangements, and professional development opportunities.

Median Annual Salary (May 2019) Top 10% Annual Salary (May 2019)
$116,500 $162,000 or more

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in aeronautical engineering, it’s important to research prospective employers to learn about the specific benefits and perks they offer their employees. By doing so, you can find an employer that aligns with your personal and professional goals.

Career advancement opportunities for aeronautical engineers

As with any career, aeronautical engineers have the potential to advance their careers and increase their salaries over time. Here are some career advancement opportunities available to aeronautical engineers:

  • Management positions: Aeronautical engineers can move into management positions, such as project manager or engineering manager, where they will oversee and lead teams of engineers and projects.
  • Research and Development: Aeronautical engineers can move into research and development positions, where they will develop and test new aircraft and spacecraft technologies. This can lead to exciting breakthroughs and innovations in the field.
  • Consulting: Aeronautical engineers can become consultants, offering their specialised knowledge and expertise to companies and organisations.

In addition to these career paths, aeronautical engineers can also pursue professional development opportunities and certifications, such as becoming a professional engineer (PE) or earning a master’s degree in aerospace engineering. These additional qualifications can lead to increased job responsibilities and higher salaries.

Here’s a table illustrating the average salary range for aeronautical engineers based on their experience:

Years of Experience Salary Range
0-5 years $60,000-$90,000
5-10 years $90,000-$120,000
10-20 years $120,000-$150,000
20+ years $150,000+

As you can see, aeronautical engineers can earn a good salary, especially as they gain more experience and advance in their careers. With aeronautical engineering being an ever-growing field, there will continue to be many opportunities for engineers to increase their salaries and achieve their career goals.

Future Outlook for Aeronautical Engineering Jobs

Aeronautical engineering is a highly specialized field dealing with the design, manufacture, and maintenance of aircraft. The field has seen significant growth in recent years, and with the increasing demand for air travel, the job prospects for aeronautical engineers are quite promising. Here are some things to keep in mind regarding the future of aeronautical engineering jobs:

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 3% growth in employment of aerospace engineers from 2019 to 2029. This rate is considered average when compared to other industries.
  • The increasing demand for fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft will drive the demand for aeronautical engineers. This trend will create a need for innovative and economical designs.
  • The aerospace industry is experiencing a shift towards unmanned aircraft systems, such as drones, which are now being utilized in a variety of industries. This shift will generate more demand for aeronautical engineers specializing in this field.

Another aspect to consider is the expected salary of aeronautical engineers. The median annual wage for aerospace engineers was $116,500 in May 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salaries in this field can vary by experience, location, and industry, but are generally considered to be in the high-paying range. The table below shows the highest-paying states for aerospace engineers:

State Annual Mean Wage
Alabama $130,520
Alaska $117,730
Texas $117,330
Virginia $116,090
Arizona $113,560

In conclusion, aeronautical engineering is a promising field with a positive outlook for job prospects. The demand for fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly, and unmanned aircraft systems will drive innovation and create opportunities for aeronautical engineers to contribute to this evolving industry. With high-paying salaries and the potential for advancement, this field is an excellent career option for those with the requisite skills and expertise.

Do Aeronautical Engineers Make Good Money? FAQs

1. What is the average salary of an aeronautical engineer?

Aeronautical engineers can expect to earn an average salary between $62,000 to $155,000 per year, depending on their experience, education level, and location.

2. Is there a high demand for aeronautical engineers?

Yes, aeronautical engineering is an in-demand profession due to the continued growth of the aviation industry, making it a promising career path for those interested in the field.

3. What industries hire aeronautical engineers?

Aeronautical engineers can find employment in a variety of industries, including aerospace and defense, aviation, government agencies, and research and development.

4. How much education is required to become an aeronautical engineer?

Most employers require a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering or a related field. However, obtaining a master’s degree or higher can increase job prospects and earning potential.

5. What skills are necessary to be an aeronautical engineer?

Aeronautical engineers should possess strong critical thinking, problem-solving, and mathematical skills, as well as a solid understanding of physics and mechanics.

6. Are there opportunities for advancement in aeronautical engineering?

Yes, there are many opportunities for advancement in aeronautical engineering, such as moving into management positions or specializing in a specific area of the field.


Thank you for taking the time to learn about the earning potential of aeronautical engineers. If you or someone you know is interested in pursuing this career path, remember that with the right education and skills, aeronautical engineering can lead to a financially rewarding and fulfilling profession. Come back soon for more helpful insights!