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What does a Propulsion Engineer do?

Learn all about Propulsion Engineer duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Propulsion Engineer.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A propulsion engineer is responsible for the design and development of propulsion systems for spacecraft and missiles. They work with a team of engineers to determine the best way to propel a craft through space, and they also develop new propulsion technologies.

Propulsion Engineer job duties include:

  • Design, develop, and oversee the production of propulsion systems for vehicles
  • Analyze data to determine the feasibility of designs
  • Develop prototypes and test them to ensure they meet safety and performance standards
  • Evaluate existing propulsion systems and make recommendations for improvements
  • Oversee the manufacture of propulsion components and systems
  • Install and maintain propulsion systems in vehicles
  • Diagnose and troubleshoot problems with propulsion systems
  • Train other engineers and technicians in the operation and maintenance of propulsion systems
  • Write technical reports on the development and performance of propulsion systems

Propulsion Engineer Job Requirements

A propulsion engineer is responsible for the design and development of propulsion systems for vehicles. They must have a strong understanding of physics and mechanics, and be able to apply this knowledge to the design of efficient and effective propulsion systems. A bachelor's degree in engineering is typically required, and many employers prefer candidates with experience in the automotive or aerospace industries. Propulsion engineers must be able to work effectively in teams, as well as independently, and must be able to communicate their ideas clearly and concisely.

Propulsion Engineer Skills

  • Aerospace
  • Aeronautical
  • Chemical
  • Electrical
  • Industrial
  • Manufacturing
  • Materials
  • Mechanical
  • Metallurgical
  • Physics
  • Propulsion

Related: Top Propulsion Engineer Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Propulsion Engineer

There are many different types of propulsion engineers, but all share a common goal: to design and oversee the construction of engines that propel vehicles. Propulsion engineers may work on anything from rockets and jet engines to race cars and bicycles.

The first step to becoming a propulsion engineer is to earn a bachelor's degree in engineering from an accredited university. Many propulsion engineers have a master's degree or higher. Once you have your degree, you will need to pass the Engineer in Training (EIT) exam administered by your state's board of professional engineers.

After passing the EIT exam, you will need to gain experience working in an engineering role. Many propulsion engineers start their careers as assistant engineers or in other entry-level positions. As you gain experience, you will likely move into positions with more responsibility, such as project manager or lead engineer.

To become a licensed professional engineer (PE), you will need to pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. Once you are licensed, you will be able to work independently as a consulting engineer or start your own engineering firm.

Related: Propulsion Engineer Resume Example

Related: Propulsion Engineer Interview Questions (With Example Answers)