What is aerospace engineering?
Aerospace engineering includes the design of planes, missiles, satellites, spacecraft, and more. It involves the development of technologies, such as building quieter, more efficient engines. Aeronautical engineering centers on airplanes, astronautic engineering, and spacecraft. To prepare to study aerospace engineering, excel in science and advanced math courses, such as algebra, calculus, geometry, and trigonometry. Also, biology, chemistry, and computer mathematics.
Read more below on average salary, career paths and recommended reading to get started!
You might be a future aerospace engineer if…
- You’re at home discussing challenges and expressing ideas. Aerospace engineers must work in groups. Involvement in clubs and groups, even those unrelated to engineering, will help develop group work and presentation skills.
- You are at home using computer-aided design (CAD) programs. So much of the work you’ll do is visual; the concept is as important as the execution. You’re probably familiar with programs such as:
- You can stay cool in stressful situations. New challenges emerge all the time; strict timelines on projects are common.
For educators: Is aerospace engineering a fit for your students?
Aerospace engineering takes a combination of mathematical skill and science acumen. It also helps if a student works well in groups, or is at home presenting ideas. It can be a high-paced field. Students comfortable in their academic and working/social skin can excel in aerospace engineering.
Inside the numbers
- 2:1 | Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate that nearly 27,000 Americans work in aerospace product and parts manufacturing, twice as much as those who work in architectural, engineering and related services.
- $110,000 | Annual mean salary for aerospace engineers, as of April 2016. That’s a rise of $40,000 since 2000.
- Aerospace engineers average $107,830 per year. You can get started in this field with a bachelor’s degree, and salaries range from $67,580 to $158,700.
Possible Career options
- AERODYNAMICS ENGINEER | Design, construct, and test planes, missiles, and spacecraft. Research for airplane design, looking for ways to improve testing equipment and techniques.
- MECHANICAL ENGINEER | Design power-producing machines, such as generators, combustion engines, and turbines. Design of building machines, such as elevators and escalators.
- AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEER | Design, develop and build buses, cars, trucks, and more, throughout the product lifecycle. Specialize in systems, such as engines or structural design.
Resources for aerospace engineering
Competitions and grants
Camps and games
Online Courses and Other Resources
Top aerospace engineering schools
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