What is the Best Degree to Become an Aeronautical Engineer?

Aeronautical EngineeringIf you have an interest in aviation and dream of designing aircraft of spacecraft, you are probably wondering what is the best degree to become an aeronautical engineer. As you might surmise, aeronautics is a highly specialized field that requires a good deal of education. Read on to find out about the degrees you could pursue to find work as an aeronautical engineer.

At Least a Bachelor’s Level Degree

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, entry-level jobs in aeronautical engineering require a bachelor’s degree. If you know early on in your education that you hope to pursue this field, it would be a good idea to get all the math and science background you can at the high school level. Bachelor’s degrees that are helpful include a Bachelor’s of Science specifically in aerospace engineering or in another form of related engineering.

Some of the coursework areas you’ll likely cover include foundational engineering and design, aerodynamics, propulsion, materials and structures. Also be prepared to do a lot of math, especially algebra and calculus. In addition to design jobs, those who hold bachelor’s level degrees in aeronautics might work as pilots, flight mechanics or air traffic controllers.

Graduate Degree Programs

As you continue to ponder the best degree to become an aeronautical engineer, you will no doubt begin to look at graduate programs. Many aeronautical engineers work in aircraft, spacecraft, satellite or missile design and need to have advanced training to do the design and prototype testing work they need to do. Some of these degree programs require you to take the GRE while others do not.

Though it will vary from program to program, you will sometimes find two tracks of master’s level aeronautics degrees, one emphasizing applied skills and the other academic research. If you pursue the latter kind of degree, you will likely be preparing to go on for a Ph.D.

Coursework and Concentrations

The kind of coursework you take in your advanced degree will vary depending on your selected concentration. As in other specialized fields, the more education you get, the more specialized your training and field of knowledge will become. All master’s degrees in aeronautical engineering will include certain core subjects, but beyond that, your coursework could vary quite a bit depending on you concentration. You might end up studying propulsion, fluids or structures, just to name a few possibilities, in a much more in-depth way.

Related Resource: Engineering Jobs

The best degrees in this field really depend on the kind of work you foresee yourself doing. You may discover that the job you want to prepare for only requires a four year degree, but you should probably count on at least that. Though job growth in the field of aeronautic engineering is slightly lower than average, the field is still seeing growth, so your job outlook is good. With technology always growing more complex, you should know that aeronautical engineering is a challenging field of study. Once you’ve found the best degree to become an aeronautical engineer, be prepared to work hard and diligently.