If you have an interest in the study and manufacturing of aircrafts, you might consider a graduate degree in the dynamic, broad field of aerospace engineering. In order to succeed in this area, you need to have top-notch critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. To get a career in the aerospace sector, you may need to pursue an advanced degree in aeronautical or astronautical engineering.
Course of study
As a student of aerospace engineering, you have a choice between two different majors and areas of study within this field. While some universities require their students to take courses in both disciplines, others require their pupils to choose between them. When you apply for aerospace programs, you should try to figure out which route you would rather take: aeronautical engineering or astronautical engineering.
Aeronautical engineering involves the creation of aircrafts that operate within the planet’s atmosphere. Individuals who choose to take this path will gain an in-depth understanding of how aircrafts are powered, how they are used and how they operate safely. Aeronautics focuses directly on aerodynamics — the science of passing through the air.
On the other end, astronautical engineering focuses directly on the design and production of spacecrafts. More commonly referred to as rocket science, this field is filled with highly intellectual individuals with a passion for technological innovation and space exploration.
Sample programs in aerospace
If you are interested in the fascinating, vast field of aerospace, you might be interested in increasing your education in the matter through a graduate degree. Plenty of schools offer competitive aerospace programs to students who are willing to take on rigorous, hands-on course loads.
Cal Poly offers a competitive M.S. in Aerospace Engineering, allowing students the opportunity to specialize in research. Students who take on a research-focused education in aerospace may feel empowered to pursue a Ph.D., teach aerospace at a university or move on to an advanced career in the industry.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has a competitive aeronautical engineering program, with the choice between a master’s in engineering, master’s in science or Ph.D. in the field. RPI emphasizes that the major differences between the M.Eng. and the M.S. is that the former focuses primarily on the practical elements of this field, while the latter is targeted toward students who want to gain a more scholarly approach to aeronautical engineering.
It is currently a great time to become an aerospace professional. Since travel has become a paramount international industry, careers in aviation have grown in relevance over the decades.
On the astronautics front, the U.S. has put a substantial amount of funding into space travel in recent years. In addition, the nation’s population seems to favor space travel more than ever before. According to a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of Americans said it is essential that the U.S. remains a world leader in space exploration. In addition, 80 percent of Americans believe the International Space Station has been a positive investment.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is an expected 6 percent growth in careers in aerospace engineers through 2026. Even more remarkable is the median pay of these professionals, at $113,030 per year. There is no doubt that this career is as profitable as it is sought after.
If you’d like to pursue a career in aerospace engineering, look into graduate degrees to improve your salary and career options, and to gain a further understanding of the immense fields of aeronautical and astronautical engineering.