The aerospace industry in Houston, TX has been a center for aerospace research, development and pioneering since the Johnson Space Center was developed and built in 1963. The creation of the NASA facility dedicated to the research and development required to put a man on the moon has been a mainstay in the area since it’s introduction and continues to attract great minds to the area. 'Houston, we have a problem’ is ingrained in our minds regarding aerospace industry thanks to multiple film accounts of the Apollo 13 mission, and iterates jut as strongly how connected aerospace and the city of Houston really are.
So what are the best jobs in aerospace? What roles hold the most potential? Which pay the best? And what job titles are being sought in the aerospace industry more than any other. We’re here to answer that for you.
1. Aerospace Program Management
The aerospace industry is the second highest paying industry in the Houston area, second only to the petroleum engineering industry. Program Management directors hold responsibilities to completely oversee large projects and workflows. Their day to day involvement includes contract negotiation, developing organizational business strategies and maintaining profitability throughout the entire program. Educational requirements for program management roles includes a bachelor’s degree and, in order to make the larger six-figure incomes, a graduate degree such as an MBA.
2. Airline Pilots
Although historically, airline pilots and flight engineers have had military training as their background, more and more recent recruits are finding their education in college and specialty flight training schools. The job opportunities for airline pilots are plenty, from commercial airliner jobs to crop dusting and firefighting. Although compensation varies depending on the industry, an airline pilot is a specialty worker with unique licensing and training and is highly valued. The most lucrative jobs will be found in commercial airline piloting in the majority of cases.
3. Aerospace Project Engineers
Project Engineers in aerospace are the glue that holds a team together. A Project Engineer will be responsible to completely oversee specific projects and endeavors. Their day to day tasks vary from business and organizational management to team leading and recruiting. They will often prepare reporting to higher administration officials documenting the progress of a project and any challenges that may have been encountered.
4. Aircraft Maintenance Management
One definite required job role in aerospace is maintenance. Every machine, no matter how well engineered, requires periodic maintenance to ensure proper performance and occasional repairs when parts come to the end of their life cycle. This is of highest importance in aerospace as the ramifications of poor maintenance often hold other people’s lives in the balance. Every good maintenance crew needs good management to be effective. An Aircraft Maintenance Manager will be required to develop and maintain service records and scheduling, repairs logs, and quality control programs. Additionally, they will need to have people skills in order to manage the personnel working under them. Maintenance is a backbone of aerospace, and a necessary component to the industry.
5. Air Traffic Control
Just as maintenance ensure aircraft vehicles don’t have mechanical malfunctions, air traffic controllers are key to ensure safety for the airspace in their assigned sector. An Air Traffic Controller is responsible to make sure that traffic patterns don’t become congested, and that safety is respected as the number one priority. Daily tasks include monitoring air traffic on the ground and in the air around the airport, and communicating back and forth with pilots. Often times, the position can be stressful and require excellent multitasking skills. For example, plans change quickly should a flight be arriving late and need to make connections, or should an a flight reroute to the airport due to aircraft issues. In both cases, quick thinking and the ability to process information quickly to propose a solution is key to the job. Air Traffic Control job roles are often considered one of the highest paying roles for those holding an Associates degree.
The aerospace industry has changed drastically over the years. Whereas our parents and grandparents would dress in their best clothes for air travel, we now don sweatpants and hoodies for comfort. But one component remains unchanged. Those holding careers within the aerospace industry are well respected and have unique opportunities.
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