Aerospace engineering may be a great option for anyone undecided on their major or students whose interests lie in the sciences and mathematics. Aerospace engineering studies designing, constructing, and testing aircraft and spacecraft. This degree can open up many doors for you after college, from working for NASA to being a commercial airline pilot. If you are interested in aerospace engineering and what you can do with a degree in this discipline, keep reading.
What is Aerospace Engineering?
Aerospace engineering deals with the science of aircraft and spacecraft. It also includes designing and testing these vehicles. Aerospace engineering is further divided into two sub-disciplines: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering. These sub-disciplines focus on different aspects of aerospace engineering, but since there is a lot of overlap between the two, most aerospace engineering programs will cover both.
The coursework for this degree will vary depending on the school you attend and your specific interests within the field. However, some core classes are common to most programs. These include classes on fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, propulsion, aerospace structures, and aerospace systems. You will also likely take classes in physics and mathematics.
Professions to Choose from With a Degree in Aerospace Engineering?
Aerospace engineering is among one of the highest-paid engineering professions. As per BLS, the median salary for an aerospace engineer is $122,270 per year. And the job outlook for this profession is projected to grow by about six percent between now and 2024. So, if you’re intrigued by the digits, a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering is the first stepping stone.
To help you better grasp what you can do with this degree, here are some interesting career options to consider:
Before a product can be brought to life, it must first be designed. It is where drafters come in. Drafters use computer software to convert the designs of engineers and architects into technical drawings. These drawings are then used by construction workers, manufacturers, and other professionals to build the product. Drafters play a vital role in the engineering process. The median salary for a drafter is $52,850 per year.
Have you ever considered being a college professor? Since there is a high demand for aerospace engineers, many colleges and universities are looking for qualified individuals to teach their students. It is a feasible option for those who want to stay updated on the latest advancements in the field and share their knowledge with the next generation of engineers. College professors typically teach classes, conduct research, and publish scholarly articles. As a college professor, you can earn up to $55,050 annually.
The role of an aerospace technician is a crucial one. They are responsible for building, maintaining, and repairing aircraft and spacecraft. This job requires a strong understanding of the principles of aerospace engineering. Since assessing prototypes and new products is a major part of this job, aerospace technicians typically work closely with engineers. You’ll need a minimum of a two-year degree to qualify for this position. The median salary for this position is $62,300 per year.
Like any other vehicle, aircraft need to be regularly maintained and repaired. Aircraft mechanics are responsible for inspecting, servicing, and repairing aircraft. This job is well suited for mechanically inclined people interested in aviation. For instance, you must know how physics affects an airplane’s flight. You must complete a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) -approved training program to become an aircraft mechanic. Expect to earn $67,300 yearly.
Some aerospace engineers work as inspector managers. In this role, they develop and oversee quality control programs. Also known as compliance officers, they ensure that the products being produced meet all safety standards. Since this job is detail-oriented, it’s a great option for those with strong organizational skills. However, you will also need at least five years of experience and a bachelor’s degree to qualify for this position. Inspector managers earn a median salary of $73,200 per year.
Technical Sales Engineer:
Regardless of the industry, salespeople are always in high demand. As a technical sales engineer, you will be responsible for selling products and services to customers. If you’re inspired by the idea of devising sales advice and strategies, this job is for you. From computer software to medical equipment, there’s a wide range of products that you can sell. Acquire a few years of experience and a bachelor’s degree, and you can earn around $79,000 annually. It’ll also allow you to work with other engineers and learn about the latest advancements in the field.
Although mechanical and aerospace engineers work in different fields, there’s an overlap in the skillset required for both professions. Mechanical engineers design and supervise the production of mechanical devices, such as tools, engines, and machines. They also conduct research and develop prototypes. The minimum requirement for this job is a bachelor’s degree, but many employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree. On a side note, with a few years of experience, you can earn $84,100 per year.
When enrolling in an aerospace engineering degree, the prime target is becoming an aerospace engineer. You want to apply your knowledge and understanding of engineering principles to designing and developing aircraft and spacecraft. As an aerospace engineer, you can work on projects related to designing aircraft, developing propulsion systems, or performing stress analysis. The median salary for this position is $107,830 per year. It’s an in-demand profession across the globe, so you’ll have plenty of job options to choose from.
Research and Development Engineer:
For those who enjoy conducting research, this job is an excellent option. Research and development engineers look after designing and conducting experiments to test new products. They also develop prototypes and analyze data. Many research and development engineers have a background in aerospace engineering. While a bachelor’s degree is the least you need for this job, many employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree. With the right qualifications, you can earn $120,000 per year.
Aerospace engineering is one of the most difficult engineering programs. There’s much competition to get into good schools. However, the rewards are worth it. With a degree in aerospace engineering, you can pursue various career paths. But, before starting your career, you need to assess your skillset and inclination. Do you want to be an aerospace engineer, a research and development engineer, or something else? Once you know what you want to do, you can start planning your career path. Whatever you decide, a degree in aerospace engineering will give you the skills and knowledge you need to succeed.
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