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Aeronautical Engineering and Aerospace Degree Colleges

Aerospace engineering is a diverse field of study in aviation, mechanics, and technology. An aerospace engineer may be involved with designing military aircraft, conducting testing and assessment on various aviation products, or simply providing technical support at an airport. With the advances in technology and computer-based systems, formal training is most appropriate for those interested in pursuing a successful career in the field. An aerospace engineering college can prepare candidates with the key skills and training required in this growing industry.

What Is Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering?

Aerospace and aeronautical engineering programs offer a variety of options. The study of aviation, mechanics, machine structure, and technology can lead to a variety of careers, and many involve working with the government. Aerospace engineering is involved with designing and developing test aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft, in addition to the manufacture and design of various aviation products. Aeronautical engineers are commonly involved with working on specific aircraft, and may be trained on just one or two models.

Job Description and Responsibilities of an Aerospace Engineer

After completing training, an aerospace engineer is commonly involved with projects such as:

  • Developing new technologies for aviation
  • Learning and implementing various defense systems
  • Being involved with space exploration
  • Specializing in structural design
  • Implementing navigation and control systems
  • Working with commercial aircraft
  • Instrumentation and documentation of aircraft
  • Guidance and navigation of aircraft
  • Conducting statistical analysis or assessments
  • Designing shuttles and other space exploration aircraft
  • Designing missiles and other military aircraft
  • Providing maintenance or assistance with aircraft

Aerospace and Aeronautical Career Options

The right engineering school provides the formal training and knowledge for a successful career in the industry. Both aerospace and aeronautical engineering programs offer specialized study where the candidate can learn about just one specific model or manufacturer. This allows them to become experts on a particular set of aircraft, and may lead to better career opportunities. The most common specialties include:

  • Aerodynamics
  • Celestial Mechanics
  • Commercial aircraft
  • Military fighter jets
  • Helicopters
  • Spacecraft
  • Rockets
  • Structural design

These programs allow graduates to develop technology and aviation defense systems, in addition to understanding space exploration and aviation production. Computer-aided design and advanced electronic optics are key areas of training for all engineers, and courses are available with a variety of college programs. Pursuing an aerospace engineering degree online is another alternative for students who require flexibility in their schedule.

Enrollment in an Aerospace Engineering College

Aerospace engineering school can provide both basic and in-depth training for a variety of careers in aviation. The skills for engineers can be carried over into a variety of disciplines, and many graduates can pursue positions in the manufacturing, automotive, and industrial design sector as well. Enrollment in a bachelor's or master's degree program provides the most benefits for a successful career in the field. It's important that prospective students are naturally creative, detail-oriented, and have strong mathematical backgrounds. Strength in high school courses such as science, math, and computer technology are especially helpful in understanding the abstract concepts and design systems.

An aerospace engineering college may also provide internship placement. An internship provides extensive training, including hands-on applications and simulations for projects. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Space Society (NSS), and the National Security Agency (NSA), all provide internships for prospective students.

Common courses in an undergraduate curriculum include:

  • Aerospace guidance systems
  • Altitude material science
  • Physics of high-altitude radiation
  • Computer-aided drafting and design
  • Computer science
  • Calculus and other advanced mathematics
  • Advanced chemistry

An online degree is an attractive option for students who prefer a self-paced format of study, and for those who may be interested in pursuing a career while still in school. Even though the practical and hands-on training elements are not part of an online degree, students are able to focus on the technical training and computer-aided design subjects in-depth. In most cases, an internship is a also an important part of an online program.

Accreditation for Aerospace Engineering Schools

The Accreditation Board for Education and Technology (ABET) is the accrediting party for aerospace engineering school programs and colleges.

Employment Prospects and Earning Potential in Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering

Since the economy is heavily focused on military funding and designing innovative aircraft, the employment prospects for a career in aerospace and aeronautical engineering are very promising. The rapid advancement in technology and computers for a variety of fields allows graduates to pursue a variety of positions immediately after graduation, and internships can help with the job placement process.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that starting offers averaged $50,003 for those with a bachelor's degree in aerospace and aeronautical engineering in 2005. Salaries vary depending on the skill level and experience, in addition to certifications and specializations.

Spartan College

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