Employment of aerospace engineers is expected to grow 5 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. Some aerospace engineers work on projects that are related to national defense and thus require security clearances. These restrictions will help to keep jobs in the United States. In addition, aircraft are being redesigned to cut down on noise pollution and to raise fuel efficiency, increasing demand for research and development. However, growth will be tempered since many of these engineers are employed in manufacturing industries that are projected to grow slowly or decline.
Most of their work involves national defense-related projects or designing civilian aircraft. Research and development projects, such as those related to improving the safety, efficiency, and environmental soundness of aircraft, should create demand for aerospace engineers.
Aerospace engineers who work on engines or propulsion will be needed as the emphasis in design and production shifts to rebuilding existing aircraft so that they are less noisy and use less fuel.
In addition, as governments refocus their space efforts, new companies are emerging to provide access to space outside of standard space agencies. Their efforts will include low orbit and beyond earth orbit capabilities for human and robotic space travel.
Aerospace engineers who know how to use collaborative engineering tools and processes and who know about modeling, simulation and robotics should have good opportunities. Opportunities also should be favorable for those trained in Computational Fluid Dynamics software, which has enabled companies to test designs in a digital environment, thereby lowering testing costs.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition