Article

Top 11 Aerospace Engineer Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for aerospace engineers, including requirements and benefits.

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are an important part of any aerospace engineer’s job market success. Certifications provide recognition of an individual’s knowledge and expertise in relevant fields, as well as demonstrate their commitment to professional development. This can be beneficial when applying for positions or promotions, as employers may view certified engineers as more reliable and knowledgeable than those without certifications. Additionally, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) offers certifications that demonstrate proficiency in specific areas of aerospace engineering, such as propulsion systems or avionics. These certifications can help aerospace engineers stand out in a competitive job market and give them a leg up on the competition.

The purpose of this article is to review the most beneficial certifications for Aerospace Engineers and explain how they can help advance an aerospace engineer's career.

What are Aerospace Engineer Certifications?

Aerospace engineer certification is a professional credential that is earned through a combination of work experience, education, and/or examination. It provides engineers with the necessary qualifications to practice in the field of aerospace engineering.

This certification can help aerospace engineers improve their job prospects and increase their salary potential by demonstrating their knowledge and expertise in the field. Certification also gives them an edge when competing for jobs or promotions. Furthermore, it can help engineers remain current on aerospace engineering developments and stay ahead of their peers.

Aerospace engineer certification requires candidates to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering from an accredited university, as well as three years of verifiable experience in aerospace engineering or related fields. Candidates must also pass a comprehensive exam administered by a certifying organization such as the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). The exam covers topics such as aircraft design, propulsion systems, flight dynamics, avionics systems, space exploration technology, and more.

By earning this certification, aerospace engineers can demonstrate to employers that they are knowledgeable about the latest advances in aerospace technology and have the skills to apply them effectively in their work environment. As such, they may be more likely to be considered for higher-level positions or receive better pay than those without certification. Additionally, this credential can give engineers greater confidence in their abilities and provide them with more opportunities for career advancement.

Pro Tip: When considering aerospace engineer certification, make sure to research the requirements for each organization and understand what is expected of you before applying. Also, be sure to look into any additional continuing education or training that may be required for a specific certification.

Related: What does an Aerospace Engineer do?

Top 11 Aerospace Engineer Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Aerospace Engineers today.

1. Certified Aerospace Engineer (CAE)

Certified Aerospace Engineer (CAE) is a professional certification program offered by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). The CAE program is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a high level of competence in aerospace engineering, as well as a commitment to the profession.

To become certified, an individual must meet certain criteria and pass an exam that covers topics such as aerodynamics, propulsion, structures and materials, flight dynamics and control systems. The exam is administered twice each year at testing centers around the world.

The process of becoming certified typically takes about six months from start to finish. To begin the process, applicants must submit an application form along with supporting documents such as transcripts and letters of recommendation. After submitting their application, applicants will be notified if they are eligible for certification or not. If they are eligible, they will be sent instructions on how to register for the exam.

The cost for taking the exam varies depending on where it is taken but generally ranges from $400-$600 USD. Additionally, there is an annual fee of $100 USD for maintaining the certification once it has been obtained.

Overall, obtaining the Certified Aerospace Engineer certification can help individuals demonstrate their expertise in aerospace engineering and provide them with additional job opportunities in this field.

2. Certified Professional Aerospace Auditor (CPAA)

Certified Professional Aerospace Auditor (CPAA) is a certification program designed to provide auditors with the knowledge and skills necessary to audit aerospace organizations. CPAA certification is administered by the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG). The IAQG is an international organization that works to improve quality in the aerospace industry through collaboration, standardization, and certification.

To become certified as a CPAA, individuals must have at least three years of experience in aerospace auditing or related fields. They must also complete an approved training course and pass an examination. The training course covers topics such as understanding aerospace standards, conducting effective audits, and writing audit reports.

The cost of becoming certified as a CPAA varies depending on the provider of the training course. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 for the entire process. It typically takes about six months to complete all of the requirements for CPAA certification.

Once you have completed all of the requirements for CPAA certification, you will receive a certificate from IAQG confirming your status as a Certified Professional Aerospace Auditor (CPAA). This certificate is valid for three years and can be renewed by completing additional courses or passing another exam.

3. Certified Professional in Aerospace Quality (CPAQ)

Certified Professional in Aerospace Quality (CPAQ) is a certification program offered by the American Society for Quality (ASQ). It is designed to recognize professionals who have demonstrated knowledge and experience in quality assurance, quality control, and related areas within the aerospace industry. The CPAQ certification is intended to provide employers with assurance that an individual has met rigorous standards of excellence in the field of aerospace quality management.

The CPAQ certification requires applicants to pass an exam that covers topics such as aerospace quality systems, auditing, inspection, reliability engineering, and corrective action. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within two hours. In order to qualify for the CPAQ certification, applicants must have at least five years of professional experience in the aerospace industry or a related field.

In order to obtain the CPAQ certification, applicants must submit an application form along with proof of their professional experience. They must also pay a fee of $395 USD for ASQ members or $495 USD for non-members. After submitting their application and payment, applicants will receive access to study materials and can schedule their exam date with ASQ. Once they have passed the exam, they will receive their official CPAQ certificate from ASQ.

4. Certified Aerospace Quality Manager (CAQM)

Certified Aerospace Quality Manager (CAQM) is a certification program for professionals in the aerospace industry. It is designed to recognize and promote quality management excellence in the aerospace industry. The certification is awarded by the American Society for Quality (ASQ).

The CAQM certification requires applicants to have at least five years of experience in aerospace quality management, including two years of managerial or supervisory experience. Applicants must also pass an examination that covers topics such as quality assurance, quality control, auditing, and statistical process control. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and takes about three hours to complete.

To get certified as a CAQM, applicants must submit an application form along with all required documents and fees. The application fee is $250 USD and the examination fee is $450 USD. After submitting the application form, applicants will be notified if they are eligible to take the exam within four weeks.

Once applicants have passed the exam, they will receive their CAQM certification within six weeks of passing the exam. The certificate is valid for three years and can be renewed by taking an additional exam or completing continuing education credits every three years.

5. Certified Flight Test Engineer (CFTE)

Certified Flight Test Engineer (CFTE) is a professional certification program offered by the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP). It is designed to recognize and promote the highest standards of safety, professionalism, and expertise in flight test engineering. The certification is awarded after successful completion of a rigorous examination process that includes both written and practical components.

To become certified as a CFTE, applicants must have at least five years of experience in flight testing or related activities. They must also have completed an approved course in flight test engineering or have equivalent experience. Applicants must pass a written examination that covers topics such as aircraft performance, instrumentation, flight dynamics, and operational safety. In addition, they must pass a practical exam that tests their ability to plan and execute safe and effective flight tests.

The entire process typically takes about six months to complete from start to finish. The cost of becoming certified varies depending on the individual’s experience level and other factors, but can range from around $1,000 to $2,500 USD.

6. FAA Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic Certificate

The FAA Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic Certificate is a certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that allows an individual to work as an aircraft mechanic. The certificate is required in order to perform maintenance, preventive maintenance, or alterations on civil aircraft.

It typically takes between 6 months and 2 years to get the certificate depending on the individual's experience and training. To obtain the certificate, an individual must complete a course of instruction approved by the FAA at a Part 147 school and pass both written and practical exams. The cost of obtaining the certificate varies depending on the school and other factors such as books, materials, etc., but can range from $5,000-$10,000.

7. FAA Aircraft Maintenance Technician Certificate

The FAA Aircraft Maintenance Technician Certificate (AMT) is a certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that certifies an individual as a qualified aircraft maintenance technician. This certificate allows the holder to perform maintenance, preventive maintenance, and alterations of aircraft and engines in accordance with the regulations of the FAA.

The AMT certificate requires applicants to have at least 18 months of practical experience working on aircraft or engines, or a combination thereof. Additionally, applicants must pass an FAA-administered written test and oral/practical exam. The written test consists of 60 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as airframes, powerplants, electrical systems, avionics systems, and general maintenance practices. The oral/practical exam consists of a series of tasks designed to assess the applicant’s knowledge and skills related to aircraft maintenance.

The cost for taking the exams varies depending on the type of aircraft being tested for; however, most exams cost between $200-$400.

In total, it can take anywhere from 6 months to 1 year to complete all requirements for obtaining an AMT certificate.

8. FAA Aviation Safety Inspector Certificate

The FAA Aviation Safety Inspector Certificate (ASIC) is a certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that authorizes an individual to perform inspections, tests, and evaluations of aircraft and related systems. The ASIC also grants the holder authority to issue airworthiness certificates for aircraft.

It typically takes approximately three to six months to obtain an ASIC. To receive the certificate, applicants must complete a rigorous training program that includes classroom instruction, hands-on experience with aircraft components and systems, and passing a comprehensive written exam. Applicants must also have at least two years of aviation maintenance experience in order to be eligible for the program.

The cost of obtaining an ASIC varies depending on the specific requirements of each applicant's training program. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $2,000-$5,000 USD for the entire process.

In addition to completing the training program and passing the written exam, applicants must also pass a physical examination and submit fingerprints for a criminal background check before they are granted their certificate.

9. FAA Designated Engineering Representative Certificate

A FAA Designated Engineering Representative (DER) Certificate is a certification issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that authorizes an individual to perform certain engineering tasks on behalf of the FAA. These tasks include approving design data, certifying aircraft parts and components, and performing other engineering functions related to aircraft safety. The DER Certificate is valid for three years and must be renewed every three years in order to remain active.

In order to obtain a DER Certificate, an individual must have a minimum of five years of experience in aviation engineering or related fields such as aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or avionics. Additionally, applicants must pass a written examination administered by the FAA and complete an approved training program. The cost of obtaining a DER Certificate varies depending on the type of training required but typically ranges from $1,000-$2,500. It usually takes several weeks to obtain a DER Certificate after all requirements have been met.

10. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Certification

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Certification is a professional certification program that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a high level of knowledge, experience, and ability in the field of aeronautics and astronautics. The AIAA Certification Program is designed to provide recognition for those who have achieved expertise in the field.

The process for obtaining AIAA Certification involves passing an examination that covers the core topics in aeronautics and astronautics. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and is administered by the AIAA Professional Development Center. In order to qualify for certification, applicants must meet certain educational requirements, such as having at least a bachelor’s degree in an engineering or science discipline related to aerospace.

In addition to passing the exam, applicants must also submit a portfolio that demonstrates their skills and knowledge in the field. This portfolio should include transcripts from all educational institutions attended, work experience related to aerospace, publications or papers authored on aerospace topics, and any other relevant information that may be requested by the AIAA Professional Development Center.

Once all requirements have been met, it typically takes about four weeks for an applicant to receive their AIAA Certification.

The cost of obtaining AIAA Certification varies depending on the type of certification sought. Generally speaking, it costs between $200-$400 USD to obtain basic certification status with additional fees being required for higher levels of certification.

11. National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) Certification

The National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) is a research and development organization that provides industry-leading certification programs for the aviation industry. NIAR Certification is an internationally recognized program that verifies the quality of aircraft components and systems, as well as the processes used to manufacture them. It helps ensure that aircraft are safe and reliable, and that they meet regulatory requirements.

NIAR Certification typically takes between 6-12 months to complete, depending on the complexity of the project. The process involves a series of inspections and tests to evaluate the quality of components, systems, and processes. The inspection process includes physical inspections, laboratory testing, document reviews, and other activities to ensure compliance with applicable standards.

To get NIAR Certification, applicants must submit an application package which includes a detailed description of their product or system as well as supporting documents such as drawings, test results, etc. Once submitted, NIAR will review the application package and assign an inspector who will conduct a series of inspections and tests at the applicant’s facility or designated location. After all inspections have been completed successfully, NIAR will issue a certificate indicating successful completion of the certification process.

The cost of NIAR Certification depends on several factors including complexity of product/system being certified; number of inspections required; number of personnel involved in the process; etc. Generally speaking however, it can range from several thousand dollars up to tens of thousands depending on these factors.

Do You Really Need a Aerospace Engineer Certificate?

Yes, an Aerospace Engineer certificate is a valuable asset for those who wish to pursue a career in the aerospace engineering field. It is important to understand that the aerospace engineering industry is highly competitive and requires a specialized skill set to be successful. A certificate in this field provides one with the technical knowledge and skills needed to succeed in this industry.

A certificate can give one an edge over other applicants when it comes time to apply for jobs or internships. Many employers require certification as proof of knowledge and experience in the field. A certificate also shows employers that an individual has taken the time and effort to pursue additional education and training, which demonstrates commitment and dedication to their chosen profession.

In addition, some companies may offer higher salaries or promotions based on having a certified aerospace engineer on staff. This could result in increased job security and better career opportunities for those who have earned their certification.

Overall, having an Aerospace Engineer Certificate can provide numerous benefits for those seeking a career in this field. It can give you an edge over other applicants, show potential employers your commitment to the profession, and potentially open up more job opportunities or higher salaries. Therefore, if you are interested in pursuing a career as an Aerospace Engineer, it is definitely worth investing your time and money into obtaining a certification from an accredited institution.

Related: Aerospace Engineer Resume Examples

FAQs About Aerospace Engineer Certifications

Q1. What are the requirements to become a certified aerospace engineer?

A1. The requirements to become a certified aerospace engineer typically include a bachelor's degree in an engineering discipline, such as aeronautical or aerospace engineering, and a professional license from the relevant regulatory body, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Q2. How long does it take to get certified as an aerospace engineer?

A2. The length of time required to become certified as an aerospace engineer can vary depending on the specific certification being pursued, but typically it takes anywhere from three to five years of study and experience in order to obtain certification.

Q3. What types of certifications are available for aerospace engineers?

A3. Common certifications for aerospace engineers include FAA Certificates of Authorization (COAs), Aircraft Maintenance Technician Certifications (AMTs), and Airframe and Powerplant Certificates (A&Ps). Other specialized certifications may also be available depending on the type of aircraft or system being worked on.

Q4. What is the cost associated with obtaining an aerospace engineer certification?

A4. The cost associated with obtaining an aerospace engineer certification will depend on the type of certification being pursued and any additional training that may be required, but typically ranges from several hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars.

Q5. Are there continuing education requirements for maintaining an aerospace engineer certification?

A5. Yes, most certifications require continuing education in order to maintain validity, so it is important for those pursuing a career in this field to stay up-to-date on industry standards and regulations.