An aerospace engineering degree is a requirement for anyone who wants to work on the design and science of aircraft. There are two main areas of aerospace engineering, aeronautical and astronautical. Aeronautical is focused on aircraft close to earth, and astronautical is focuses on aircraft outside of the earth's atmosphere. The selection of a specialization between the two is usually based on personal interest. Keep in mind the employment opportunities for an astronautical engineer are more limited than an aeronautical engineer.
There are four requirements to obtain an aerospace engineering degree: select a school, meet the admissions requirements, pay tuition, and complete the course work. The aerospace degree is offered at a broad range of universities, but the astronautical program is available in a very limited number of institutions. These schools tend to be located near government space programs or laboratories.
When selecting an engineering school, look at the breadth and depth of courses available. The first year of engineering degree programs are usually based on common courses across all the engineering disciplines. Specialization occurs in the second and third years. The broader the course offering, the more resources are available to support the engineering program.
Look for a school that offers a graduate and doctoral program in aerospace engineering. These schools will have a higher caliber of professors, as they have enough senior level courses to support research activities. This is a specialized field, so review the brochures with care.
The admissions requirements for an aerospace engineering degree includes high school courses in calculus, algebra, geometry, English and technology. Many students have a keen interest in flight and may have participated in science fairs or other competitions. Adding these achievements to your application shows a strong interest and dedication to the subject.
Tuition for engineering programs is typically more expensive than a Bachelor of Arts. As a professional program, the expectation is that you will obtain a well-paid position directly upon graduation. As a result, the tuition and standards are much higher.
The course load for an aerospace engineering degree is quite heavy. There are advance courses in math, physics, flight, design, and material sciences. In order to be successful in this field, you will need excellent organization and study skills. The most common reason for failure in this type of program is poor time management and a lack of self-discipline. Focus on the goal and do the hard work necessary to achieve it.