Major Overview

Do you want to be a rocket scientist? A major in Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering will give you the knowledge needed to design, develop, and test aircrafts, missiles, space vehicles, and their systems. You will learn about all types of flight: airplanes, spacecrafts, helicopters, you name it. You also get to supervise the manufacturing of the product to make sure it's both accurate and effective. Along with learning the science and math of aerospace and aeronautical engineering, you will learn how to properly assess projects to see if they are both financially and technically doable. This is a great major for anyone who is interested in aviation or space exploration.

The required courses will vary depending on the college you decide to attend. However some courses that you may be required to take could include physics, calculus, trigonometry, aerodynamics, aerospace structures, mechanics, and general engineering principles.

Required Skills

This is a rigorous, difficult, and time consuming program that is not for the faint of heart. As an Aerospace or Aeronautical Engineer you need to be focused and determined. Math and science should be something you enjoy working with daily. Your four years at school will be intense, but if you can survive them, you will graduate with an understanding of atmospheric and space flight and will have the ability to research, analyze, and design aircrafts and space vehicles.

You need to be disciplined and ready to work hard to meet your goals. Be prepared to try and try again to produce a product that works. Students who feel comfortable asking questions and obtaining help will do the best. You will also need to be good at collaborating when working with a team in order to design and build an aircraft, spacecraft, or their components. College is a good time to practice communication as you work with others to achieve a common goal; this is a skill you will employ throughout your career.

You will need strong analytical skills to help identify different design elements and figure out how to improve their performance. Knowledge of the law is helpful in order to meet federal government standards.

Many programs will require an internship in order to get hands on experience in the actual field.


Employment is only supposed to grow about 5% until 2020, which is slower than average. However, the aerospace industry is a large industry in the United States and jobs tend to be very lucrative depending on the company. Many aerospace engineers work with manufacturing industries that are projected to grow slowly. Much of the new technology focuses on reducing noise or pollution. A lot of the jobs need to stay in the United States because of the security clearances and regulations that go hand in hand with their work.

Graduates with a degree in aerospace and aeronautical engineering average $61,557 as a starting salary with a mid-career salary of $106,983.

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Example Careers

Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering might open up.

Aerospace Engineers
Architectural and Engineering Managers
Engineering Teachers, Postsecondary
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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