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2020 Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering Degree Guide

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.

Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering Degrees Growing in Popularity

#134 Most Popular Major
6.3k Degrees Awarded
2.5% Increase in Graduates

In 2017-2018, aerospace and aeronautical engineering was the 134th most popular major nationwide with 6,315 degrees awarded. This is a difference of 161 over the prior year, a growth of 2.5%.

Approximately 65 colleges in the U.S. offer a aerospace and aeronautical engineering degree of some kind. Our 2020 Best Colleges for Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering ranking analyzes 56 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for aerospace and aeronautical engineering students. Explore this or one of our many other custom aerospace engineering rankings further below.

Requirements for Getting a Degree in Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering

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.

Aerospace Engineering Degree Program Entry Requirements

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most aerospace engineering degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. In addition to these basic aerospace and aeronautical engineering program qualifications, to serve in some aerospace engineering careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Types of Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering Degree

There are various different levels of aerospace engineering degrees. You can spend many years getting as high as a research / scholarship based doctorate's in aerospace and aeronautical engineering to something that takes less time like a first year certificate. The time it takes to complete a aerospace engineering degree varies depending on the program.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to aerospace engineering, with approximately 39.0% of workers getting one. Find out other typical degree levels for aerospace engineering workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 46.7%
Master’s Degree 27.1%
Doctoral Degree 11.4%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 4.9%
Post-Master’s Certificate 3.4%

Most workers in aerospace engineering have at least a master's degree. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in aerospace and aeronautical engineering have obtained.


This of course varies depending on which aerospace engineering career you choose.

Career Opportunities for Aerospace Engineering Majors

Average Number of Jobs
$65.5k Average Starting Salary
7% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

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.

Growth Projected for Aerospace Engineering Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your aerospace engineering degree? Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering careers are expected to grow 7.1% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to aerospace and aeronautical engineering.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Architectural and Engineering Managers 190,000 5.5%
Aerospace Engineers 73,800 6.0%
Engineering Professors 54,600 14.7%

How Much Money Do People With a Aerospace Engineering Degree Make?

Recently graduated aerospace and aeronautical engineering students earned an average of $65,466 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $40,900 to as high as $101,600. As you might expect, salaries for aerospace engineering graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Aerospace Engineering Majors

Salaries for aerospace and aeronautical engineering graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers aerospace engineering grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Architectural and Engineering Managers $148,970
Aerospace Engineers $117,100
Engineering Professors $113,680

Getting Your Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering Degree

With over 205 different aerospace engineering degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased aerospace engineering school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering

One of 38 majors within the Engineering area of study, Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Mechanical Engineering 46,014
Electrical Engineering 31,993
Civil Engineering 21,299
Computer Engineering 15,329
Chemical Engineering 14,729

View All Aerospace Engineering Related Majors >


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