Career Exploration

How To Become a Rocket Scientist

You must have heard the phrase, โ€˜It isnโ€™t rocket science, you can figure it out!โ€™ once in your life. Have you ever wondered how hard rocket science actually is? Or maybe how one can become a rocket scientist ๐Ÿš€๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿ”ฌ? Well, youโ€™re in the right place!

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What is a Rocket Scientist?

Rocket scientists are specialized aerospace engineers who focus on designing aspects of a rocket or spacecraft. They often use fundamentals from engineering to help them create rockets.

What Are the Duties of a Rocket Scientist?

Rocket scientists are often in charge of:

  • Designing rockets ๐Ÿš€ and other aerospace vehicles โœˆ๏ธ
  • Managing the production ๐Ÿญ of these projects
  • Performing quality checks โœ… on systems
  • Ensure that creations meet the requirements needed
  • Write โœ๏ธ handbooks for those who will make use of the creations

The specific areas they work on are:

  • Aerodynamics
  • Guidance and Propulsion Systems
  • Acoustics

What Are the Requirements to Become a Rocket Scientist?

Rocket scientists must have at least a Bachelorโ€™s degree in aerospace engineering. Some courses that are required and beneficial for this job field are physics, mathematics, aerodynamics, and chemistry. Most rocket scientists have graduate degrees ๐ŸŽ“ in aerospace engineering, to enhance their knowledge regarding the occupation (further enhancing their chances at getting a job). Obtaining a graduate degree also helps enhance individual research ๐Ÿ”ฌ experience.

REVIEW: Courses to Take! ๐Ÿ“š

  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Engineering
  • Aerodynamics
  • Communications

Which Colleges Are Good to Attend for Rocket Science?

There are many colleges in the United States that have phenomenal ๐Ÿ‘ aerospace engineering programs. Some of the well-known schools for the field are listed below:

  • California Institute of Technology (CalTech)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Stanford University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)
  • University of Michigan
  • Purdue University
  • The University of Texas at Austin

โœจTo read more about the best-ranked aerospace engineering programs in 2021, check out this link!โœจ


If you are interested in the field and want to get a feel for what it is like to be a rocket scientist, check out the opportunities listed below! ๐Ÿ‘€

  • NOTE: There is a cost attached to joining this experience!
  • NOTE: There is a cost attached to joining this experience!

Online Courses

There are a variety of fully virtual, online courses (paid ๐Ÿค‘ and free ๐Ÿ†“ ) that you can start to take as a high schooler. Check out websites like Udemy, Coursera, and EDX for thousands of classes that you might be interested in!

Here is a list of a few courses regarding Rocket Science:

  • Rocket Engineering and Interstellar Space Propulsion (Udemy) โ˜„๏ธ
  • NOTE: There is a cost attached to this course! ๐Ÿ’ฐ
  • The Conquest of Space: Space Exploration and Rocket Science (EDX) ๐Ÿ›ฐ๏ธ
  • NOTE: This course is free!
  • Introduction to Aerospace Engineering: Astronautics and Human Spaceflight (EDX) ๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿš€
  • NOTE: This course is free!
  • Flight Mechanics - The Basis (Coursera) โœˆ๏ธ
  • NOTE: This course is free!

Work Conditions ๐Ÿ–ฅ๏ธ

Rocket scientists are usually accepted into job positions where they are designing or building aircraft or spacecraft. Most rocket scientists focus on the aspects of design and manufacturing, as well as research. In the past, rocket scientists worked in more hands-on environments, sketching out plans on paper ๐Ÿ“ and overseeing production. However, modern aircraft technology has become so advanced. Therefore, rocket scientists in the modern-day work with computer equipment ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ’ป in an office setting ๐Ÿข, using various modeling techniques and performing simulations.

Job Outlook ๐Ÿ’ผ

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 3% increase in employment for rocket scientists between the years 2019 and 2029. They also mention that rocket scientists can also be hired in multiple positions such as the design and manufacturing team(s) for motor vehicle companies. This is because rocket scientists have studied engineering and physics, allowing them to know how to design vehicles that have more fuel efficiency.

Salary ๐Ÿ’ธ

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020, the yearly salary for rocket scientists was $118,610. Specifically, rocket scientists who worked in manufacturing earned a yearly salary of $116,750. Those who work in research were offered a median annual salary of $12,090.

Salary depends on the position, qualifications, experience, and education that an individual has received!

Want More Options? ๐Ÿค”

Are you interested in the field of rocket science and aerospace engineering but want more options? Donโ€™t worry, weโ€™re here to help!

Below is a list of some jobs which deal with similar aspects of rocket science:

  • Machinist
  • Quality Control Scientist
  • Cyber Security Architect
  • Physics Modeling Scientist
  • Analytical Development Scientist
  • Aerospace Engineer
  • Research Scientist
  • Laboratory Technician

Closing Remarks ๐Ÿ‘‹

As you can see from the information above, the field of rocket science is exciting and intriguing, but also demanding. If you are truly passionate about the subject, try applying to some of the programs mentioned above. Good luck๐Ÿ€ on your future endeavors, and shoot for the stars ๐ŸŒ  (haha, did you get it?)!


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