What Is Aeronautical Engineering?
Aeronautical engineers design and manufacture aircraft, like helicopters, gliders and airplanes. If testing an aircraft's wing structure or programming its flight control systems sounds like an interesting job description, keep reading to find out more.
Aeronautical Engineering Defined
Aeronautical engineering is part of the larger field of aerospace engineering, which also includes astronautical engineering. Astronautical engineers design spacecraft and satellites, while aeronautical engineers are concerned with designing and developing an aircraft's control systems, structures, propulsion systems and aerodynamics.
Important Facts About Aeronautical Engineering
|Degrees||Bachelor's, Master's or Ph.D. in aeronautical or aerospace engineering|
|Similar Occupations||Computer Hardware Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering|
|Work Environment||Offices at research institutions, government organizations, or manufacturing businesses|
|Entry-level Education||Bachelor's Degree|
Undergraduate degrees are available as aeronautical, aerospace or astronautical engineering bachelor's degree programs. The programs often begin with introductory coursework in calculus and physics. In advanced courses, students study subjects including flight dynamics, space mechanics, aero-mechanical design and aerospace structures.
If you pursue an aerospace engineering master's degree program, you typically take about 30 credit hours of advanced courses in topics like fluid dynamics, electromechanics and aerothermodynamics. Some programs may allow you to focus on a specialty area, such as flight mechanics or structural dynamics. If you pursue a Doctor of Philosophy, you may spend most of your time conducting research for your dissertation, in addition to completing upper-level coursework.
As an aeronautical engineer, you can work for defense systems contractors, aerospace manufacturing companies and government agencies, like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) states that employment opportunities for aerospace engineers are expected to grow at a rate of six percent in the 2016-2026 decade. This is due to many jobs being in the manufacturing industry, which is growing slowly overall. Aerospace engineers who have skills in robotics, modeling and simulation technologies and who know how to use the software program Computational Fluid Dynamics may stand out in the job market. Also listed by the BLS, aerospace engineers earned a median annual wage of $115,220 in 2018.