Aeronautical Engineering Degree: What to expect?

While others are shooting hoops or baking brownies, you spend your time carving balsa wood planes and adding an engine. Okay, maybe that’s a little extreme, but if you love aeronautics, an aeronautical engineering degree could be the ticket into a rewarding career. So if you’re wondering how to become an Aeronautical Engineer, read on.


Aeronautical engineering programs are offered at colleges and universities across the nation. To get your foot in the door, take extra math and science classes in high school or at a community college. Bachelor’s degrees are standard, but a master’s in aeronautical engineering will give you more in-depth knowledge, and allow you to specialize in electronics, design, or propulsion, to name a few.

Your classes will be heavy on math and science, with an emphasis on physics and materials science. You’ll also learn about structural design, aerodynamics, stability, material types, weight distribution, and electronic components.

Next Step

With your degree hanging on the wall, it’s time to get your resume and cover letter inked and ready to mail. If you didn’t pick a specialty during school, you might just fall into one once you find a job at a commercial or military airplane manufacturing company. Of course, it doesn’t have to be an airplane. You could design, test, or create new systems for any number of aircraft, such as helicopters, hydroplanes, or experimental aircraft.

Common jobs in the industry focus on improving the safety, efficiency, speed, aerodynamics, or propulsion of aircraft. You could work as an Aircraft Designer, a Flight Test Instrumentation Engineer, or an Aircraft Mechanic.


There are some jobs in aeronautics that require certification from the FAA. If your goal is to become a Pilot, Aircraft Mechanic, or Aircraft Dispatcher, find out what oral, written, and practical exams are required to become certified.

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