Aeronautical Engineering Degree

Those interested in pursuing a degree in aeronautical engineering are those who are interested in flight, space, or atmospheric sciences. Engineers are primarily concerned with the designing, improving, and operations of vehicles that are designed to move through air and/or space. Most aeronautical engineering training starts with the same basic engineering principles as all engineers. Later, specialization will include understanding how basic designs or structures act and react under various conditions.

A strong background and interest in technology, science and mathematics makes the pursuit of this degree obtainable for most. However, there are certain criteria that one should keep in mind when choosing the aeronautical program or university.

Aviation engineers have very specialized aviation engineering degrees. Most aeronautical engineers have the same basic training as a general engineer, but in addition to those requirements aeronautical engineers must also study all things pertaining to aircraft and vehicles designed for space exploration. Aeronautical engineering degrees, sometimes referred to as aviation engineering, are available beginning with the basic bachelor's degree.

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Bachelor's Degree in Aeronautical Engineering

Typically, it can take about four years to complete the basic bachelor's degree for the aeronautical engineering student. Some schools do not offer the specialization for the bachelor's degree, however. Instead, they offer the basic engineering degree with a focus in aeronautics. Some students opt to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree with specialization in either aerodynamics or propulsion. Either of these is acceptable when applying for advanced degrees of study. If an advanced degree is not desired, or possible, the student can still work as an aeronautical engineer providing he or she can provide a background in this type of work (for example, in the military) and pass a State Board Examination.

Master's Degree in Aviation Engineering

Most aeronautical engineering students opt to continue their education by following their bachelor's degree with a graduate degree. The serious aeronautical engineering student needs to do some early planning as applying to various master's programs can become problematic. Some schools that offer degrees in aeronautical engineering require a specific pre-requisite degree. For example, some schools will only recognize the bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering, while others will require the Bachelor of Science degree. Still others will accept either one. Waiting until graduation to determine which graduate programs require which degree is short sighted and can lead to disappointment. Likewise, those pursuing this advanced degree as part of their career path will need to also keep in mind that advanced courses in mathematics and science will be required.

Doctorate Degree in Aeronautical Engineering

Doctoral degrees in aeronautical engineering are often pursued by those wishing to teach in a college setting, work in research and development centers, or to work on highly classified projects for the United States government. Most colleges that offer this advanced degree often require their potential candidates to take a qualifying exam to determine eligibility. Upon acceptance the student will be required to determine whether he or she would like to obtain their Ph.D. or Doctor of Science degree. Both are doctoral degrees.

Often major universities offer interdisciplinary tracks of study which result in combination degrees. For example, one could receive a degree in aeronautical engineering with an emphasis on aerodynamics, while another could offer the basic degree with an area of concentration on materials composition.

Aeronautical Engineering Online Courses

Many universities offer some long distance and aeronautical engineering online classes. Most universities realize, especially when the students are pursuing advanced degrees that it may not be easy to travel into the school each day. Therefore, most universities convene classes only a few times a week, or they meet in a virtual classroom. Often, however, the potential student must request or specifically ask about these options as they are not always advertised. The potential student must exercise due diligence and make certain that the online aeronautical engineering degree is from a recognized course of study from an accredited school. Otherwise, the degree is essentially worthless to most employers.

What is Aeronautical Engineering?

Aeronautical engineering is a career field that is little understood by the general public. These types of engineers are concerned with the design of aircraft, the management of the stresses on the vehicles, as well as propulsion systems and aerodynamics. Additionally, when things go wrong they are the professionals that solve the problem, redesign the craft, or recommend termination of a product line.

Difference Between Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering

Often, in college programs the term aeronautical engineering is used synonymously with aerospace engineering. There are many schools that offer this course of study. Among those who graduated with degrees in aeronautical engineering, most stated that they had a strong background in math and science. Since aeronautical engineers deal with most integral aspects of the creation of aircraft, this background in math and science is a must.

Those thinking of pursuing a degree in aeronautical engineering may consider if a distinction is offered, of pursuing the aerospace engineering degree. This is due to the fact that those studying aerospace have far greater opportunities for employment as they are the type of engineers that work on space shuttles, missiles, rockets, interplanetary satellites or probes, just to name a few. Aeronautical engineers deal specifically with aircraft.

Focus of Aeronautical Engineering

Aeronautical engineers focus basically on two main areas within the aero industry. Aerodynamics, or the study of the relationships between air and solid materials, is one such area. Aeronautical engineers working in this area focus on the design of the wings and the other outside components of the airplane or aerospace product.

Propulsion, or the force that allows the aircraft or spacecraft to remain in flight, is the other area of focus for aeronautical engineers. Those engineers specializing in propulsion design, test, and troubleshoot aircraft engines. It is the combined efforts of both types of aeronautical engineers that allow for new technologies to develop and for older technologies to be renovated.

Most aeronautical engineers have more than a basic engineering degree. A Master's degree or even a Doctorate is not uncommon. Aeronautical engineers work in groups or teams of people all contributing some part toward the design, implementation, production and efficacy of an aircraft. Most report high job satisfaction and believe that for those who have always enjoyed the challenge of science and mathematics, that aeronautical engineering is one of the best careers one could choose.

Aeronautical Engineering College Accreditation

Most established campus-based universities are accredited. What this means is that they adhere to a rigorous educational standard. Curriculum is often mandated, in many ways, by the state and the federal government. Degrees from these types of universities range from basic bachelor's degrees to Master's and Doctoral programs. Not every university is able to offer all three types of degrees, so this is another question that must be answered by the prospective student. How far does the student want to go with his or her education in this field?

A good example of an aeronautical engineering university that offers all degree types would be Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia. Strategically located near Atlanta's busy airport, students learn the dynamics of the field first-hand. Acting as a global hub the serious aeronautical student would do well to attend this particular college. The school's curriculum is in keeping with state and national standards and professors are not only professionals in their field, but hold advanced degrees.

Current economic situations make obtaining a reasonably well paying job right out of school difficult at best. Top aeronautical engineering colleges have begun to follow the trend of other schools in that their responsibility to the student does not end with their four year course of study. For those considering a career in the aeronautical engineering field, it is critical that the school that the student selects is committed to assisting new graduates in their job searches.

A great example of this is the United States Air Force Academy. The Air Force Academy is different from the regular enlisted Air Force. This academy is comparable to West Point. Students are trained in aeronautical concepts and engineering concepts. While the time to complete the training is longer, what is laudable is that once the student has put in the required time in the service, a large civilian network exists to assist those leaving military life to find a job commensurate with their experience and training.

Reputation of the College

While it may not seem like an important factor in school selection, the very name of a school, and possessing a degree from such a school, can carry a lot of weight when one begins a job search. While the training and educational scope may be identical, the reputation of the school can lend an air of credibility and psychologically predispose a potential employer to choose the candidate who has graduated from a 'name' school over someone who has not.

One great example of a good aeronautical engineering university is Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Graduates from MIT command the top of the pay scale in nearly every sector of the job market. Located in Massachusetts, students can expect to receive training from some of the best and brightest minds in the United States. They have a tradition and a reputation that speaks for itself.

Cost of Aeronautical Engineering University

There is a wide disparity from one aeronautical engineering college to the next. This is due in large part to location of the school, size of the school, reputation of the school, and the types of degrees offered. One of the more economical schools is Georgia Institute of Technology, weighing in at around $10,000 a semester, while MIT can cost the average student more than $15,000 dollars a semester. Embry Riddle University, located in Florida and Arizona both charge around $13,000 a semester. Of course, if the student has no opportunity or resources, applying to the Air Force Academy may be the route to go.

Regardless of the tuition, the student must also research whether or not the university has some sort of financial aid packages. Do they accept federal grant money? Will they honor student loans? What sort of work study programs exist? Are there scholarships?

The prudent student thinking of enrolling in an aeronautical engineering school must exercise due diligence in selecting the proper school. Many of the aforementioned schools offer some portion of their classes online, making the initial prerequisites easier to obtain. A listing of some of the best aeronautical engineering colleges offers a good starting point for those beginning their search for a good school.

Aeronautical Engineering Scholarships by University

Ironically enough, while aeronautical engineers command high salaries, as students they will be asked to come up with approximately $40,000 to $160,000 dollars for their basic degrees. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the professional organization for engineers of all types, states that if the student is willing to put in the time, effort, and practice self-discipline, the money, in the form of aeronautical engineering scholarships or work study programs are available.

The AIAA, itself, awards more than 30 scholarships to undergraduate students. They also offer graduate student scholarships to those attempting to continue their education. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg as far as scholarships are concerned. What follows is a general listing of some of the scholarships that are currently available for undergraduates seeking to earn a degree in aeronautical engineering.

As with any major it is important to research the funding available to you in the form of grants and scholarships. Below is a collected list of aerospace engineering programs and their scholarship links as well as independent scholarships offered to engineering students.

Full List of Aeronautical Engineering Scholarships

The following is a list of ABET accredited Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering Schools and their scholarship links. Scholarships that are for aerospace engineering and general engineering, regardless of school attending, can be found after this list.

Arizona State University - Aerospace Engineering, (BSE Degree)

The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering offer merit and need-based scholarships to undergraduate students in all Fulton majors. Scholarships are offered on an annual basis, and are funded by a variety of sources, including private donors, corporations, and alumni, with amounts ranging up to $10,000 per academic year. Please find the link for ASU's engineering scholarship page:

Auburn University - Aerospace Engineering, (BAE Degree)

Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. General engineering scholarship link: Aerospace engineering scholarship link:

Boston University - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

This bachelor's degree falls under the College of Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering (Concentration in Aerospace Engineering). Engineering Scholarship link for Boston University:

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo financial aid information link: Scholarship link: Grants link:

California Polytechnic State University, Pomona - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Cal Poly Pomona Aerospace Engineering Scholarship information:

California State University, Long Beach - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

The Center for Scholarship Information (CSI) is the official clearinghouse for scholarship information at CSULB. CSULB Engineering Scholarship link:

Capitol College, Laurel, MD - Astronautical Engineering, (BS Degree)

High school students who apply to Capitol College for admission automatically have their applications reviewed for one of four institutional scholarship programs. Follow the link below for information:

Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

The link below lists the Case and Ohio scholarship opportunities within the school:

Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY - Aeronautical Engineering, (BS Degree)

Nine out of 10 Clarkson students receive financial aid in form of scholarships, grants, loans and work-study jobs. They automatically consider all students for merit scholarships based on they admission application. Follow the link below for Clarkson scholarship information:

Daniel Webster College, Nashua, NH - Aeronautical Engineering, (BS Degree)

Please find the link below for their scholarship information:

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Please find the link below for a list of engineering scholarships: Please find the list of scholarships for all majors at Embry-Riddle, Daytona Beach:

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, AZ - Aerospace Engineering, (BSAE Degree)

Please find Embry-Riddle specific scholarship information through the link below:

Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

College of Aeronautics scholarship link:

Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

All undergraduate students who are interested in scholarships, grants, loans and/or work opportunities for any semester of the academic year, must submit the "Georgia Tech Application for Scholarships and Financial Aid" and the "Free Application for Federal Student Air" (FAFSA). The priority application deadline for entering freshmen is March 1. Below is a link with information on their president's scholarship:

Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL - Aerospace Engineering (BS Degree)

All full time students are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships when their application for admission is reviewed. All domestic freshman students are eligible for the Heald Scholarship; the average Heald award is $12,000. Below is the link for scholarships:

Iowa State University, Ames, IA - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Please find below the link for their engineering scholarship information:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA - Aerospace Engineering (BS Degree)

MIT awards all undergraduate financial aid on the basis of your family's financial need, so if you qualify for financial aid, you'll automatically be considered for an MIT scholarship. Please find the link below:

Mississippi State University, MS - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Department of Aerospace Engineering scholarship link:

Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, MO - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Merit based freshmen scholarship information, see link below: Departmental Scholarships awarded to sophomore, junior, and senior students, link below:

North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Freshman scholarship information, please see link below: Engineering department scholarship information, see link below:

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK - Aerospace Engineering, (BSAE Degree)

A variety of scholarships are available through the University and its departments on campus, see link below:

Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Please see Penn State's scholarship link below:

Princeton University, Princeton, NJ - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Princeton's aid program is designed to encourage all qualified students to consider applying for admission to Princeton. Any family who feels they may need help paying for education is welcome to apply for aid. Please find the link below with the aid calculations:

Purdue University at West Lafayette, IN - Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, (BS Degree)

Below is a link to Purdue's financial aid estimator:

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY - Aeronautical Engineering, (BS Degree)

For a list of scholarships, grants and loans offered by Rensselaer, please follow the link below:

Saint Louis University, St. Lois, MO - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Please find below the link to the scholarship page:

San Diego State University, San Diego, CA - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Below is the link for SDSU specific scholarship information:

San Jose State University, San Jose, CA - Aerospace Engineering, Air Force ROTC, (BS Degree)

For information on SJSU scholarships see link below:

State University of New York at Buffalo, NY - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Please see below the scholarship link for SUNY:

Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Scholarship in Action Merit Scholarship link below: General scholarship information link below:

Texas A&M University, College Station, TX - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Please find the link below for Texas A&M scholarships:

The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH - Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, (BSAAE Degree)

Please find the link for OSU's scholarship information below:

The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL - Aerospace Engineering, (BSAE Degree)

The link below has information on UA's scholarship programs:

The University of Alabama in Huntsville, AL - Aerospace Engineering Option in Mechanical Engineering, (BSE Degree)

To be considered for a UAH scholarship, you must apply for admission and then complete a scholarship application; that one application applies to all available scholarships. See link below for more information:

The University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Please see the link below for the aerospace engineering department scholarship page:

Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL - Aerospace Science Engineering, (BS Degree)

The link below is for this university's financial page:

The following are military related aerospace schools that are not tuition based: United States Air Force Academy, USAFA, CO - Aeronautical Engineering (BS Degree). Home link: United States Naval Academy, USAFA, CO - Aerospace Engineering (BS Degree). Home link:

University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

The link below is for UA's office of scholarships and financial aid:

University of California, Davis, CA - Aerospace Science and Engineering, (BS Degree)

For UC Davis scholarship information follow the link below:

University of California, Irvine, CA - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

For UC Irvine scholarship information see the link below:

University of California, Los Angeles, CA - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Please find the link below for UCLA scholarship information:

University of California, San Diego, CA - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

For information on UC San Diego scholarship programs follow the link below:

University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Please find the link to UCF's scholarship and financial aid page:

University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Please follow the link below for their freshman engineering scholarship information: Below is the link for general scholarship information:

University of Colorado at Boulder, CO - Aerospace Engineering Science, (BS Degree)

The link below takes you to the UC Boulder scholarship page:

University of Florida, Gainesville, FL - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

The UF scholarship page can be accessed by the link below:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ubana, IL - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

The link below will take you their engineering scholarship page:

University of Maryland College Park, MD - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

A. James Clark School of Engineering. Please find the link to their engineering scholarship page:

University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL - Aerospace Engineering, (BSASE Degree)

Please find the link below for their financial aid page:,1770,29532-1;44908-2,00.html

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - Aerospace Engineering, (BSE Degree)

Please find the financial aid page for the engineering program by following this link:

University of Minnesota Twin Cities, MN - Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, (BAEM Degree)

The U of M scholarship page link is below, you can follow it to the engineering college: Engineering college only link:

University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Please find the scholarship link for Notre Dame below:

University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Please find the engineering scholarship page by following the link below:

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

USC Viterbi School of Engineering financial aid web page can be found using the link below:

University of Tennessee at Knoxsville, TN - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Please find their scholarship information by following the link below:

University of Texas at Arlington, TX - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering College, scholarship page via link below:

University of Texas at Austin, TX - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Cockrell School of Engineering - follow link below for scholarship information:

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

School of Engineering and Applied Science, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Scholarship link:

University of Washington, Seattle, WA - Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, (BSAAE Degree)

UW scholarship link: Engineering scholarship link:

Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology, Flushing, NY - Aeronautical Engineering Technology (AAS Degree)

Please find the link for their scholarship page:

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

College of Engineering scholarship link:

West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

Please follow this link for their scholarship page:

Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI - Aeronautical Engineering, (BSE Degree)

Please follow the link for the engineering scholarship page:

Wichita State University, Wichita, KS - Aerospace Engineering, (BS Degree)

The following link is for their college of engineering scholarship page:

Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA - Aerospace Engineering (BS Degree)

The following link is for their scholarship page:

Aeronautical Engineer Careers

If you're interested in pursuing a career in the field of aerospace or aeronautical engineering, take some time to learn about some of the top-ranking aeronautical engineering companies in your state or country. Many companies specialize in space exploration, commercial aircraft, personal space flight (space tourism), arms manufacturing, and aeronautical and nautical systems. Some have headquarters and plants in the United States, but many are located overseas and hire qualified aeronautical engineers from around the globe.

Whether you've just entered an aerospace engineering program or you're wrapping up your final year of study at an accredited college, take some time to learn about job opportunities, types of companies that are hiring recent graduates, and internship opportunities at various aeronautical engineering companies around the world.

Aeronautical engineering jobs encompass a wide variety of depth and scope. Aeronautical engineers deal with the structure, design, and performance of today's air and space vehicles, including missiles and weapons and other related systems. The potential student would do well to investigate the various avenues open to aeronautical engineers so that the right balance between job satisfaction and salary can be met.

Types of Jobs for Aeronautical Engineers

Aerodynamicist: Within the aerospace industry there are aerodynamicists. These aeronautical engineers deal with the aerodynamics of a system or a vehicle. If there is a problem with the vehicle's dynamics, then the engineer re-designs or troubleshoots the issue. Often aerodynamicists are called upon to increase the efficiency and application of new technologies to the aircraft and aerospace industry, and its related products.

Aeronautical Test Engineer: This type of engineer, as its name suggests, conducts tests on new space and aircraft products. They are often responsible for removing harmful or potentially dangerous operations from the air.

Aeronautical Design Engineer: As an aeronautical design engineer, creating and designing new systems, or assisting in the production and development of aeronautical products are some of the many avenues available. These types of aeronautical engineers can be employed by NASA where they would work on guidance systems for Mars Rovers, for example. Or, these engineers could work for the Department of Defense perfecting drone planes for military applications.

Stress Analyst: Due to the sheer forces that most aircrafts must endure, stress analysts are needed to design and compensate for these pressures. These types of aeronautical engineers test the strength of many types of aircraft, even creating computer simulations so that they can be studied for flaws.

There are other specializations within the industry, but most sources state that aeronautical engineers specialize either in propulsion systems or aerodynamics. Most engineers work for larger companies such as NASA or Lockheed. It is reported that the average salary is over $80,000 dollars and that the growth in the industry is slow but steady at ten percent. With the rate of technological advance every year and the applications to space exploration it is to be assumed that there will continue to be jobs available for those seeking positions. Additionally, many of the current positions with the larger companies will soon begin to experience a great surge of vacancies as the baby boom generation retires.

On the other hand, NASA announced recently that it will be releasing long time employees, and that it would not be renewing contracts with others. This will lead toward a large shift in the workforce moving from one place of employment to compete with others in different fields.

Aeronautical engineering jobs can offer the employee a chance to receive high wages in a field that seems to be continually expanding. For those with the desire to work in a challenging field, earn high wages, and be a part of developing technologies, aeronautical engineering may be the career of a lifetime.

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