Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Nonflying Aerospace Careers
10 dynamic career fields worth considering
But there are bright spots: Many jobs are funded, directly or indirectly, by the federal government, which has put billions of dollars into stimulus funding. A new field is emerging as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) move beyond military and intelligence to a broader range of applications. In the long run, as the economy recovers, many firms that have postponed hiring will have more positions to fill.
One common thread noted in conducting research for this article: The more education and experience you have, the better your chances of being hired. Today, even blue-collar jobs require basic computer skills, and as many people compete for a limited number of professional jobs, firms tend to pick those who stand out from the crowd with an advanced degree, unusual experience or both.
1 AEROSPACE MANUFACTURING & MAINTENANCE: Every vehicle that flies, manned or unmanned, in the air or space, is built somewhere, and in most cases (satellites are a notable exception), these vehicles require periodic maintenance. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 160,000 people are employed in front-line, blue-collar aerospace jobs: machinists, assemblers, inspectors, machine-tool operators, mechanics and service technicians. Unlike most of the careers discussed here, these jobs don’t require a college degree—but don’t expect to walk in without training and get hired. According to the BLS, a semester or more of community-college training is required for most of these jobs. George DeWees of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University told us that the formerly separate aircraft and powerplant (A&P) mechanic and avionics technician career fields now are merging, with firms preferring technicians who are comfortable working on any part of an aircraft: “Newer aircraft have wires going to everything, so it’s really one job.” These jobs pay by the hour and may involve shift work outside of typical business hours. DeWees warned that in today’s economy, “It can take six months to a year to find a job.”
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