ITEEA The Elementary STEM Journal, Vol. 23, Issue 3
PublisherInternational Technology and Engineering Educators Association, Reston
ReleasedMarch 1, 2019
The Elementary STEM Journal, Volume 23, Issue 3 - March, 2019

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Career Connections: Aerospace Engineering Technicians

Career Connections

Aerospace Engineering Technicians Defense.gov_News_Photo_100907-F-5858L-059_-_U.S._Air_Force_Airman_1st_Class_Tessa_Lyde_an_aerospace_ground_equipment_technician_assigned-249.jpg
by Teena Coats and Bryanne Peterson

Aerospace engineering isdedicated  to advancements in aviation and space travel.

For many years, humans have dreamed of getting off the ground to explore the sky and amongst the stars. Throughout history, there are reports of individuals making crafts that allow them to float and glide through the air, such as makeshift wings and balloons filled with hot air. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the designing of these flying machines really “took off.” The turn of the 20th century saw some of the biggest advances in the study and development of getting humans off the ground and into the air (Rae, 1961). The sky is not the limit for aerospace engineering technicians today though; these individuals design, test, and build the aircraft and spaceships that allow humans to leave the ground and explore new heights (BLS, 2018).

Aerospace engineering technicians work to bring the engineer’s vision to life by building, modeling, testing, calibrating, and recording data on aircraft systems. Technicians are also responsible for designing and building the testing facilities to test the products on the ground or in a computer simulation before they ever see airtime. To test the aircraft products, technicians may use a wind tunnel or other special equipment to understand how the crafts will operate once they are no longer on the ground (Reese, 2016). Technicians may also work in laboratories that assemble missiles and other projects for the military. For some, like those working on military projects, special security clearances may be a part of the job (BLS, 2018).BLS table-135.jpg

To pursue a career as an aerospace engineering technician, students are encouraged to take science courses as well as practical skill courses such as those in career and technical education. A technician may specialize in one specific area, or they may be a generalist, working across fields related to aerospace engineering. People in these jobs can expect to make a difference in the future of the world, especially as we work to turn science fiction into reality with cars that fly and space travel to other planets. Aerospace technicians will serve a vital role in developing the technology of tomorrow.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (2018). Occupational outlook handbook, aerospace engineering and operations technicians. Available at

Rae, J. (1961). Science and engineering in the history of aviation. Technology and Culture, 2(4). 391-399. doi: 10.2307/3100894.

Reese, S. (2016). Aerospace technician. Techniques, 91(4), 56. Retrieved from


Teena Coats is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in STEM education at NC State and is a graduate of the Integrative STEM Education MA program at Virginia Tech. She can be reached at

Bryanne Peterson, Ph.D., has a decade of classroom experience and now works with educators to improve STEM education and career development in their classrooms. She can be reached at