To become an aerospace engineer, a combination of education and experience is required. An aerospace engineer is responsible for designing and developing ships for both inside and outside the earth’s atmosphere. Many of the developments and discoveries made by aerospace engineers have improved technology, materials, and motor vehicles.
There are two main branches of aerospace engineering: aeronautical and astronautical. Both fields are focused on flight, mechanics, and materials science. Aeronautical is focused on flight inside the earth’s atmosphere. This includes airplanes, helicopters, gliders, and related devices. Astronautical is focused on flight outside the earth’s atmosphere. Developments here have improved satellites, space stations, and rocket ships.
In order to become an aerospace engineer, a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering in a minimum requirement. This type of degree can be obtained from an accredited university that offers an aerospace program. The choice of school is critical to the opportunities for further study and career options.
When selecting a university, look for one that offers advanced degrees in aerospace engineering. The aerospace program can be operated from either the mechanical or the aerospace departments within the engineering faculty. A school that is able to offer master's and PhD programs has the breadth and depth of staff expertise to provide a well-rounded program. These schools are more likely to have important connections to prototype projects and opportunities to work with industry leaders.
The experience necessary to become an aerospace engineer can be gained from a wide range of positions. The most important skills for this field are attention to detail, mental focus, and teamwork. All these skills can be developed working in manufacturing, retail or on team projects.
All engineering degree programs have opportunities for internships and summer jobs in the industry. The competition for these positions is very high, and course marks are often the deciding factor. Additional experience can be gained by participating in science projects and science related extracurricular activities.
Two main industries employ aerospace engineers: government agencies, and manufacturing. Positions in government space agencies are relatively hard to obtain, due to the high retention rate. These positions offer a great deal of stability and the ability to participate in a prestigious program.
Manufacturing positions include airplane design, power gliders, cars, and even underwater devices. The breadth of material studied in an aerospace program can be applied to a wide range of devices and environments. Take a broad perspective when looking for a position to ensure that you are not missing any potential opportunities.