Here is some good news if you are an aerospace engineering college student currently struggling with fluid dynamics or stability and control courses: a recent list of 200 jobs ranked by CareerCast.com shows Aerospace Engineering coming in at number 18. The web site rankings, from best to worst jobs, were based on a score compiled using five major categories: work environment, stress, physical demands, income and hiring outlook. After compiling the scores, CareerCast listed Aerospace Engineering as the second highest engineering field, only two notches behind Industrial Engineering. The good news is that even though the hiring outlook for industrial engineering was higher than Aerospace (very good vs. moderate), the average salary for aerospace engineers was almost $20,000 more per year than industrial. Even though the airline industry (and thus orders for new aircraft) has taken a big hit with the recent economic downturn, I would surmise that the job market for aero engineers is still relatively good due to the strong defense budgets in the U.S. This is a big turn around from when I went to college in the late 70s, with friends trying to talk me out of aerospace engineering due to the dismal job market. (The aerospace industry was still reeling from the end of the Viet Nam war, the Apollo space program and the cancellation of the Boeing SST. Thousands of aero engineers lost their jobs, especially in the Seattle area, leading to this infamous billboard near Seattle’s airport.) They suggested I switch to a more broad major such as mechanical engineering, but my interest in aviation and space was so strong I didn’t want to compromise my dreams so early in my career. I stuck it out with aerospace engineering, managed to get a co-op job with the DOD while still at Purdue University, and then a full-time offer at graduation. Since then I have been working steadily in aerospace for over 28 years, and haven’t regretted my career choice. It’s been challenging, interesting, and most of all, rewarding. So for you aerospace engineering students still slogging your way through one of the toughest undergraduate programs you can take, hang in there. The hard work will be worth it, just as the CareerCast list indicates.