What Do I Need To Work in the Aeronautics Industry?

Learn the education and training requirements for careers in aeronautics, including for pilots, aeronautical engineers and aircraft mechanics. Discover online options for preparing for these careers. Schools offering Aviation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

The training required to work in the aeronautics industry will depend upon the career that you choose. Some positions, like a pilot, may require only a short certificate program. Others, like an aeronautical engineer, may require a master's degree and a state license to practice.

Programs Certificates; diplomas; associate, bachelor's and master's degrees in a range of fields
Online Master's degree programs in aeronautical engineering available online
Future Career Options Pilot, flight instructor, powerplant technician, aeronautical engineer, aircraft mechanic, powerplant mechanic

What Careers Are Available in the Aeronautics Industry?

Several careers are available in aeronautics. If you're interested in flying aircraft, you can become a pilot. Certificate and degree programs can help you earn the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certifications required for employment as a private pilot, flight instructor or commercial pilot.

If you want to maintain or repair aircraft, programs are also available to help you earn FAA certification as an airframe or powerplant technician. If you would like to design, test and manufacture aircraft and other airborne vehicles, you might consider becoming an aeronautical engineer.

How Do I Pursue a Career as an Aeronautical Engineer?

Bachelor's degree programs in aerospace engineering can lead to entry-level design and manufacturing positions or prepare you to transfer directly into a master's degree program. Coursework includes topics in:

  • Physics
  • Mechanics
  • Aerodynamics
  • Computer programming
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry

What About Master's Degrees for Aeronautical Engineers?

Master's degree programs may allow you to specialize in a subject like control systems, fluid dynamics or materials design. These programs are often for aeronautical engineers looking to advance in the field.

What About Licensure Requirements for Aeronautical Engineers?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all 50 states require that engineers who provide public services be licensed (www.bls.gov). Licensure as a professional engineer (PE) usually requires the completion of an ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology)-accrediteed program as well as work experience and passing exam scores.

How Do I Become a Pilot?

All pilots must earn a license through the FAA, reports the BLS. Formal training to become a pilot is often available through certificate programs. While certificate programs can give you the flight experience necessary for licensure, some may only offer training to become a private pilot. Others include flight training and coursework to become a licensed commercial pilot or flight instructor.

What About Degree Programs for Pilots?

Aviation or aeronautics associate and bachelor's degree programs with flight concentrations can also prepare you for commercial pilot licensure. The BLS states that employers may prefer job applicants who have completed one of these degree programs. These programs include additional coursework in:

  • Aviation law
  • Meteorology
  • Aerodynamics
  • Aviation science:

How Can I Get a Job as an Aircraft Mechanic?

Aircraft repair work must be conducted or supervised by technicians who are FAA-certified in either airframe or powerplant mechanics, or both. An airframe mechanic can work on all elements of a plane except for its instrumentation and propulsion systems. Powerplant mechanics can work on engines and partially on propellers.

Certificate, diploma, associate degree and bachelor's degree programs in aviation maintenance technology typically prepare you to earn a combined airframe and powerplant (A&P) certification. Program coursework includes topics in:

  • Aircraft electronics
  • Gas turbine engines
  • Welding
  • Instrument systems
  • Propellers
  • Lubricating systems

Are Any Relevant Programs Available Online?

Distance education bachelor's degree programs in aerospace engineering may not be available, but some master's degree programs may be completed entirely online. You can access course content via live video streams or multimedia files.

However, hands-on experience is a key element when learning to fly, maintain or repair an aircraft, so online programs may be difficult to find in these fields. However, some programs may offer online introductory coursework to help you meet the demands of a busy schedule.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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