A bump for this kid's sake.
Indeed. I'm not a perfect match, but I'll contribute as well.
Brendan, I'm not an aeronautical engineer, but I do know one in real life. I directly work for one of major US aerospace companies; and peripherally work with most of the others. Hopefully you'll find this post at least somewhat useful.
1.What are the responsibilities of your department?
In my area, we deal with many of these components and sub-assemblies; pieces that go into the complete vehicle. My area specifically deals with hardware that's gone wrong, and figuring out why it went wrong; also known as failure analysis.
2.How long have you worked at this position?
10 years last November.
3.What type of education do I need for this job?
One thing to recognize about the aerospace world is that there's a lot more going on in an airplane or rocket than what you see on the outside of the vehicle itself. Every single thing that goes into a vehicle must be designed and tested, and this is often done by people who aren't aeronautical engineers. You'll have electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, materials engineers, lots and lots of software engineers, etc. etc. In the aerospace world, we even have the intentionally-vague sounding title of 'systems engineer' whose purpose is to try to help make everything all fit together.
In this, I'll echo mheney
's words. Find a field that interests you, and pursue it. There's lots of room in the aerospace work for non-aeronautical engineers. I personally have degrees in physics and electrical engineering, but you shouldn't take that as an implicit recommendation to get either of those degrees in lieu of a degree that sounds more interesting to you.
5.What do you like least about your job?
The opposite side of failure analysis is construction analysis (or some equivalent term thereof) that simply requires you to verify that a part is built correctly. This is very important, but it can get very tedious or boring at times.
4.What do you like most about your job?
Getting in the charred remains of a piece of hardware that's failed catastrophically. We've had stuff burn up, blow up, corrode halfway to oblivion.... Figuring out what happened can be a lot of fun.
6.What is the average salary range for this field?
I don't know this anymore, but I'd guess entry level salaries are somewhere in the low to mid $70k range.
7.Do you have any advice for me as I consider this career choice?
. Pick something you love, and where you can continue to challenge yourself and learn. When you stop learning, you die.
8.How important is time management in this field?
There's a lot of jokes to be made regarding aerospace and time management (and even more to be made regarding dollar management) but time management, as a general rule, should always be considered important.
9.What activities take up most of your time on the job?
Documentation. For every engineering decision made, every piece of hardware that passes testing, every failure root cause found, proper documentation must be made. This is also good thing. Aside from the normal checks and balances of day to day work, it allows you go learn from the past experience of others. Often, the lessons learned there just can't be readily taught in a classroom.
10.How are computers used in this job?
Computers are used for most everything from normal work to online meetings, modeling software, data backups, you name it. All documentation over here ends up digital, even if begins on paper. And of course, there's the occasional misuse of company time by "consulting" online resources such as spaceflight forums.
Good luck with your project!