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What Can I Do with a Degree in Aeronautical Studies?

Aeronautics addresses the theory and practice of flight. Read this article to learn more about careers that are possible with a degree in aeronautical studies.

Careers in Aeronautical Studies

In this article, we'll focus on aerospace engineering, aircraft maintenance/repair, aviation, and scientific research.

Important Facts About These Careers

Engineers Maintenance/Repair Workers Pilots
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 6%
(for Aerospace Engineers)
5%
(for Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians)
4%
(for Airline and Commercial Pilots)
Similar Occupations Electrical/electronics engineer, industrial engineer, materials engineer Electro-mechanical technician, mechanical engineering technician, computer systems administrator Air traffic controller, railroad worker, delivery truck driver
Key Skills Analytical, math, and problem-solving skills Dexterity, troubleshooting, and observational skills Problem-solving, communication, and reaction skills
Professional Certification/Licensure The Professional Engineering license is available The Aircraft Electronics Technician certification is available The Airline Transport Pilot certification is available, as is the commercial pilot license

Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Engineering

An aeronautical or aerospace engineering degree will prepare you to design and oversee the production of all types of aircraft, including military planes, commercial planes, and helicopters. This field is closely tied to mechanical engineering. Courses in aeronautical engineering include calculus, physics, fluid dynamics, propulsion, and electronics. Aeronautical or aerospace engineers may need to be licensed if they provide services to the public. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), aerospace engineers earned a median annual income of $115,220 in 2018 (www.bls.gov).

Aircraft Maintenance and Repair

Aircraft maintenance and repair programs teach the mechanical skills necessary to keep planes safe for air travel. You might specialize in preventative maintenance, repair work or avionics, the electronic systems that keep aircraft functioning. To work on aircraft, you must be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or be supervised by an FAA-certified mechanic. One way to receive the proper training and credentials is to attend an FAA-certified aviation maintenance technician school. The BLS reported that aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians earned a median annual wage of $63,060 in 2018 (www.bls.gov).

Aviation

You don't need a college degree to become a pilot, although the BLS notes that employers favor college-educated pilots. With an aviation science degree, you will be able to fly a plane and understand the technology and science behind flight. Although you could earn a pilot's license from a flight school, an aviation degree may prepare you for the opportunity to work in a managerial position. In 2018, commercial pilots earned a median wage of $82,240 yearly, (www.bls.gov).

Scientific Research

Scientists trained in aeronautical studies work in research and development to make sure that air travel keeps pace with new technologies. Although you might be able to find work with a private company, the U.S. government funds most aeronautical research. The U.S. Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are two large employers of aeronautical research scientists; however, you'll most likely need to earn a Ph.D. to compete for aeronautics research jobs within these agencies.

Degree Program Overview

The aeronautical study is a general term given to programs that teach the physics of flight and aircraft design, construction and maintenance. If you want to understand the complex science that drives today's air travel, then you might wish to earn either an associate or bachelor's degree that relates to aeronautics. This can include programs in aircraft maintenance technology, aviation science, aeronautical engineering, and aviation management.