Those interested in pursuing a degree in aeronautical engineering are those who are interested in flight, space, or atmospheric sciences. Engineers are primarily concerned with the designing, improving, and operations of vehicles that are designed to move through air and/or space. Most aeronautical engineering training starts with the same basic engineering principles as all engineers. Later, specialization will include understanding how basic designs or structures act and react under various conditions.
A strong background and interest in technology, science and mathematics makes the pursuit of this degree obtainable for most. However, there are certain criteria that one should keep in mind when choosing the aeronautical program or university.
Aeronautical Engineering College Accreditation
Most established campus-based universities are accredited. What this means is that they adhere to a rigorous educational standard. Curriculum is often mandated, in many ways, by the state and the federal government. Degrees from these types of universities range from basic bachelor's degrees to Master's and Doctoral programs. Not every university is able to offer all three types of degrees, so this is another question that must be answered by the prospective student. How far does the student want to go with his or her education in this field?
A good example of an aeronautical engineering university that offers all degree types would be Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia. Strategically located near Atlanta's busy airport, students learn the dynamics of the field first-hand. Acting as a global hub the serious aeronautical student would do well to attend this particular college. The school's curriculum is in keeping with state and national standards and professors are not only professionals in their field, but hold advanced degrees.
Aeronautical Engineering Universities Offer Employment Support
Current economic situations make obtaining a reasonably well paying job right out of school difficult at best. Top aeronautical engineering colleges have begun to follow the trend of other schools in that their responsibility to the student does not end with their four year course of study. For those considering a career in the aeronautical engineering field, it is critical that the school that the student selects is committed to assisting new graduates in their job searches.
A great example of this is the United States Air Force Academy. The Air Force Academy is different from the regular enlisted Air Force. This academy is comparable to West Point. Students are trained in aeronautical concepts and engineering concepts. While the time to complete the training is longer, what is laudable is that once the student has put in the required time in the service, a large civilian network exists to assist those leaving military life to find a job commensurate with their experience and training.
Reputation of the College
While it may not seem like an important factor in school selection, the very name of a school, and possessing a degree from such a school, can carry a lot of weight when one begins a job search. While the training and educational scope may be identical, the reputation of the school can lend an air of credibility and psychologically predispose a potential employer to choose the candidate who has graduated from a 'name' school over someone who has not.
One great example of a good aeronautical engineering university is Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Graduates from MIT command the top of the pay scale in nearly every sector of the job market. Located in Massachusetts, students can expect to receive training from some of the best and brightest minds in the United States. They have a tradition and a reputation that speaks for itself.
Cost of Aeronautical Engineering University
There is a wide disparity from one aeronautical engineering college to the next. This is due in large part to location of the school, size of the school, reputation of the school, and the types of degrees offered. One of the more economical schools is Georgia Institute of Technology, weighing in at around $10,000 a semester, while MIT can cost the average student more than $15,000 dollars a semester. Embry Riddle University, located in Florida and Arizona both charge around $13,000 a semester. Of course, if the student has no opportunity or resources, applying to the Air Force Academy may be the route to go.
Regardless of the tuition, the student must also research whether or not the university has some sort of financial aid packages. Do they accept federal grant money? Will they honor student loans? What sort of work study programs exist? Are there scholarships?
The prudent student thinking of enrolling in an aeronautical engineering school must exercise due diligence in selecting the proper school. Many of the aforementioned schools offer some portion of their classes online, making the initial prerequisites easier to obtain. A listing of some of the best aeronautical engineering colleges offers a good starting point for those beginning their search for a good school.