Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Nonflying Aerospace Careers
10 dynamic career fields worth considering
7 SAFETY, LOGISTICS & PLANNING: Positions in these white-collar support positions are found in large organizations such as aerospace manufacturers and airlines. A two-year community-college degree will help qualify a candidate for entry-level jobs; a four-year bachelor’s degree may be required for supervisory and management positions. According to the BLS, almost 6,000 logisticians (responsible for getting raw materials, parts and subassemblies to the right place at the right time) are employed in aerospace products and parts manufacturing, at an average salary of $68,840 yearly. The BLS doesn’t denote what proportion of occupational safety and health specialists and technicians are employed in aerospace businesses, but these jobs pay $26,540 to $93,620 per year. Embry-Riddle’s George DeWees told us that these fields, along with maintenance control, are representative of jobs that mechanics, technicians and other hourly workers can work their way into with additional education and experience.
9 SPACE OPERATIONS: This field is somewhat akin to air traffic control, though usually without the drama: Once a satellite is in orbit, it takes a major effort to bring it down. Professor David Whalen, chair of UND’s space studies program (and a veteran satellite controller and space operations manager for NASA and the Comsat Corporation), told us entry-level jobs are available in the field for spacecraft (or satellite) controllers. Since satellites are in orbit day and night, this involves shift work (often on a rotating schedule). A college degree may not be required (though some organizations require one). Past experience from the military, NASA, ATC or civil nuclear power helps. With additional education, controllers can move up to positions as mission analysts (involved anytime a change is expected or observed in a spacecraft orbit) or satellite engineers (who troubleshoot problems). Whalen estimates that several thousand people are employed in these jobs with pay in the $50,000 to $75,000 range. He notes that entry-level jobs can be pretty boring: “Most of the time you spend hours at a console while nothing happens.” But the higher-end jobs can be quite interesting.
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