So let us look at some aerospace jobs and see what they are, or do. It starts with school and some basic learning like you are doing right now. One needs to enjoy aviation, space related activities, or geography. One needs to be “curious” and enjoy solving problems. To work in an “aerospace career field” one does not need an aerospace college degree, but it helps open doors. A person needs a certain level of math and science understanding to work in space related operations. A college degree is the normal entry requirement, as well as a very clean police record, for the required higher security clearances.
If you are working with satellites or the information they are handling (imagery, communications, etc.) you must have a security clearance. You have read this before, but it is worth repeating: a record of drug usage, drinking, financial problems, and excessive speeding tickets all will end your career even before you begin it.
Education: Aerospace Engineer Training and Education Requirements
Virtually every entry level aerospace engineering position requires an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredited four year undergraduate degree in engineering, and usually specifically in aerospace engineering. This course of study will involve four years of heavy course loads in mathematics, physics, and engineering. Because aerospace engineering is effectively a subset of mechanical engineering, the nature of air means that aerospace engineers will focus heavily on the properties of fluid dynamics and thermodynamics.
Graduate level work in aerospace engineering is not required in order to obtain entry level positions in the field, however higher level research and professorial positions at universities will generally require a graduate degree in aerospace engineering.
In addition, aerospace engineers are expected to keep abreast of new technologies and methods applicable to aerospace engineering. Continuing education is an important part of an aerospace engineer’s career development.
Aerospace Engineer Certifications
Aerospace engineers, like other engineers, generally earn a Certificate after passing the Fundamentals of Engineering exam generally taken soon before or after graduation from a Bachelor’s Degree program. The Professional Engineer (PE) Certification is required before an aerospace engineer may offer services to the general public, and requires passing a state examination after gaining four years of work experience.
What is aerospace engineering?
Aerospace engineers study the creation of aircraft and spacecraft that operate above the Earth’s surface. The discipline of aerospace engineering applies the latest technologies to improve above ground transportation. Aerospace technology involves students in the problems of design, construction, and operation of aircraft and spacecraft. The operation and design of such vehicles is a challenge because they operate in hostile environments and because they must maintain light weight, high efficiency and excellent reliability. These requirements are also true for all manner of vehicles including ground transportation vehicles, high-speed trains, over-water transportation, and automated motor vehicles.
What are some specializations within this broad major?
Various specializations related to a major in Aerospace Engineering may be offered by colleges and universities. These specializations may be of greater or lesser interest to you. A few of these specializations related to this field include, but are not limited to:
What kinds of students major in aerospace engineering?
Students majoring in an Aerospace Engineering field are those with a strong aptitude toward math. Aerospace Engineering involves many core engineering courses along with math and science. Students who like science and mathematics may enjoy the field. Aerospace engineering students will usually have a strong inclination toward working with space travel, airplanes and other vehicles.
Is aerospace engineering the right major for you?
Take the MyMajors Quiz and find out if it is one of your top recommended majors!
What courses do aerospace engineering majors take?
The required and elective courses that you would take for Aerospace Engineering majors vary considerably among institutions. Courses are listed here that are illustrative of the breadth of topics you are likely to experience were you to major in this field.
Aerodynamics Advanced Physics
Aerospace Engineering Aircraft and Spacecraft Propulsion
Atmospheric Sciences Materials Sciences
Performance of Aircraft and Spacecraft Propulsion Systems
Links to specific degrees in this learning module: