Are you fascinated with planes, aircraft, spaceships, rockets, and missiles? Well, aerospace engineering or aeronautical engineering could be a suitable career option for you. In this post, we will talk about careers and jobs in aerospace & aeronautical engineering.
Careers and Jobs in Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering
Co-authored by Parinita Gupta
Traveling in Space or being a part of a space mission is the fantasy of many kids around the world. Time-traveling back to 1997, when the whole world’s eyes were on Kalpana Chawla, a million hearts were dreaming of being a part of a space mission.
If you are fascinated by this and are wishing to work with prestigious organizations like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) or the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), here is an article that would help you turn your dream into reality.
Aeronautics is the art or science of the manufacturing, design, and study of air flight capable machines. The field basically studies innovative ways to fulfill the age-old desire of humanity – the dream of flying.
Aeronautical engineering involves the study, design, and research of the machines or airplanes that move in the space and air sphere of the earth.
Aerospace science consists of Aeronautics as well as Astronautics.
Aerospace Engineering vs Aeronautical Engineering
Many people interchangeably use Aerospace Engineering and Aeronautical Engineering. Both fields are close and overlapping. But, there are differences. Aeronautical engineering is a field of Aerospace Engineering. It can also be understood as a specialization within the broad field of aerospace engineering.
Aerospace engineering is concerned with the development of aircraft and spacecraft. This field has two primary yet overlapping branches – aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering.
Aeronautics is the study of designing and testing systems and parts that are used in missiles, airplanes, and space shuttles. In this field, you will be responsible for the technical, electrical, and designing and aspects of the bodies, machinery, and software that go into such complex systems.
Astronautics is more tilted towards the navigation and control of human or automated machinery into Space. With this field, you will be prepared to manage systems that help people and automated bodies survive in Space.
Aeronautical Engineering vs Astronautical Engineering
Aeronautical engineering focuses on all craft inside the atmosphere, while astronautical engineering focuses on everything zooming about outside it.
Avionics engineering is another related field. However, it deals with the electronics side of aerospace engineering. The field of avionics deals with designing and developing communications, navigation, display, management of multiple systems, and the hundreds of systems that are fitted to aircraft in order to perform different individual functions. Your role in this field can be as simple as searching for a helicopter or as complex as developing a system for an early warning airborne platform.
It’s an engineering field. So, you will cover Physics and Mathematics. Aerospace engineers often become experts in one or more related fields: aerodynamics, thermodynamics, materials science, celestial mechanics, flight mechanics, propulsion, acoustics, and navigation & control systems.
In an aerospace engineering degree program, students should expect to enroll in a series of specialized classes. These classes will often include subjects (or specializations) like:
- Structural analysis
- Linear control systems
- Propulsion systems
- Vehicle design
- Fluid mechanics
- Stability & control
- Flight mechanics
- Wind tunnel testing
- Orbital mechanics
- Spacecraft systems
- Orientation & control
- Power & thermal control
- Computer-aided design
- Ground Vehicle Systems
The field has also got common subjects that are taught in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Electronics & Communication Engineering, Computer Science (Software) Engineering, and GIS & Remote Sensing.
Aerospace engineers typically do the following:
- Direct and coordinate the design, manufacture, and testing of aircraft and aerospace products
- Assess proposals for projects to determine if they are technically and financially feasible
- Determine if proposed projects will result in safe operations that meet the defined goals
- Evaluate designs to see that the products meet engineering principles, customer requirements, and environmental regulations
- Develop acceptance criteria for design methods, quality standards, sustainment after delivery, and completion dates
- Ensure that projects meet quality standards
- Inspect malfunctioning or damaged products to identify sources of problems and possible solutions
Aeronautical engineers work with aircraft. They are involved primarily in designing aircraft and propulsion systems and in studying the aerodynamic performance of aircraft and construction materials. They work with the theory, technology, and practice of flight within the Earth’s atmosphere.
Astronautical engineers work with the science and technology of spacecraft and how they perform inside and outside the Earth’s atmosphere. This includes work on small satellites such as CubeSats and traditional large satellites.
As an aspirant of Aerospace engineering, you must meet the minimum criteria mentioned below:
- For admission in top aerospace engineering colleges, you need a minimum of 60% marks in Class 12 having Physics, Chemistry, and Maths as subjects.
- Admissions are also based on entrance examinations like JEE Mains and Advanced, IIST Entrance Exam, VITEEE, SRMJEE, GATE, etc.
- For pursuing Postgraduation and Doctoral programs, you need 60% marks in Bachelor’s degree (B.Tech) and a valid GATE score.
- If you are a candidate with a four-year degree in Engineering, a five-year degree in Architecture or a Postgraduate degree in Mathematics/Science/Statistics/Computer Applications are also eligible to pursue Aerospace Engineering.
- To join the NASA in the United States (US), you need to have a degree in a variety of disciplines like biomedical engineering, chemistry, ceramic engineering, industrial engineering, metallurgy, oceanography, and optical engineering. NASA also recommends having a Ph.D.
Aerospace/Aeronautical Courses after Class 12
- Bachelor’s in Aeronautical Engineering
- BEng Aerospace Engineering
- BSc Aeronautics
- BTech in Avionics
- BE/BTech in Aeronautical Engineering
- BE in Aircraft Engineering
- Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering
To pursue Aerospace Engineering, it is vital to target the top institutions as they provide a challenging environment, as well as a scope for unmatched growth. Here are some of the institutions in the country you should target:
- Indian Institute of Technology, Madras – B.Tech. in Aerospace Engineering
- Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay – B.Tech. in Aerospace Engineering
- Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur – B.Tech. in Aerospace Engineering
- Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), Thiruvananthapuram – B.Tech in Aerospace Engineering/B.Tech. in Avionics
- Indian Institute for Aeronautical Engineering & Information Technology (IIAEIT), Pune
- Indian Institute of Aeronautical Engineering (IIAE), Dehradun
- Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur – B.Tech. in Aerospace Engineering
- Indian Institute of Technology, Patna
- Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Shibpur
- PEC University of Technology, Chandigarh – B.Tech. in Aeronautical Engineering
- Madras Institute of Technology, Chennai
- Hindustan Institute of Engineering Technology, Chennai
- Nehru College of Aeronautical and Applied Science, Coimbatore
- School of Aviation Science and Technology, Delhi
- Panjab Engineering College, Chandigarh
- Manipal Institute of Technology
- Feroz Gandhi Institute of Engineering and Technology, Rai Bareily, UP
- Sathyabhama University, Chennai
- SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai
- Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara
- School of Engineering – University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun
- Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra
- School of Engineering and Technology – Jain University, Bangalore
- Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology, Bangalore
- MS Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences, Bangalore
- Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Bhubaneswar
- Dayananda Sagar University, Bangalore
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology – United States
- Stanford University – United States
- University of Cambridge – United Kingdom
- Delft University of Technology – Netherlands
- Harvard University – United States
- The University of California, Berkeley – United States
- Politecnico di Milano – Italy
- University of Michigan-Ann Arbor – United States
- The University of Oxford – United Kingdom
- Imperial College London – United Kingdom
- Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) – Singapore
- Georgia Institute of Technology – United States
- ETH Zurich, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology – Switzerland
- Tsinghua University – China (Mainland)
- National University of Singapore (NUS) – Singapore
- The University of Tokyo – Japan
- California Institute of Technology (Caltech) – United States
- EPFL – Switzerland
- RWTH Aachen University – Germany
- The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) – United States
- Peking University – China (Mainland)
- Shanghai Jiao Tong University – China (Mainland)
- Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology – South Korea
- Seoul National University – South Korea
- Technical University of Munich – Germany
- KTH Royal Institute of Technology – Sweden
- McGill University – Canada
- Purdue University – United States
- The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology – Hong Kong
- KU Leuven – Belgium
- Politecnico di Torino – Italy
- Northwestern University – United States
- University of Toronto – Canada
- Princeton University – United States
- The University of Manchester – United Kingdom
- Universität Stuttgart – Germany
- KIT, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology – Germany
- Tohoku University – Japan
- Cranfield University – United Kingdom
- The University of Hong Kong – Hong Kong SAR
Analytical skills: Aerospace engineers must be able to identify design elements that may not meet requirements and then must formulate alternatives to improve the performance of those elements.
Business skills: Much of the work done by aerospace engineers involves meeting federal government standards. Meeting these standards often requires knowledge of standard business practices, as well as knowledge of commercial law. Additionally, project management or systems engineering skills can be useful.
Critical-thinking skills: Aerospace engineers must be able to produce designs that meet governmental standards, and to figure out why a particular design does not work. They must be able to ask the right question, then find an acceptable answer.
Math skills: Aerospace engineers use the principles of calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced topics in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.
Problem-solving skills: Aerospace engineers use their education and experience to upgrade designs and troubleshoot problems when meeting new demands for aircraft, such as increased fuel efficiency or improved safety.
Writing skills: Aerospace engineers must be able both to write papers that explain their designs clearly and to create documentation for future reference.
Aircraft are being enhanced to generate less noise pollution and have improved fuel effectiveness, which will take further research and development. Aeronautical Engineers are in global demand. Students can specialize in any particular aerospace product of their choice like helicopters, rockets, jets, planes, remotely piloted aircraft and rotorcraft; spacecraft, including launch vehicles and satellites; and military missiles.
Aerospace engineers are primarily for firms that engage in manufacturing, analysis and design, research and development, and for the government. Additionally, B.Tech. graduates can also go into the armed forces (Army, Air Force, and Navy).
Key Areas of Employment after Aeronautical Engineering:
- Space Research centers like NASA and ISRO
- Aeronautical Development Establishments
- Aeronautical Laboratories
- Aircraft manufacturing companies
- Defense Research and Development Organizations
- Defense services
- Department of Civil Aviation
- Flying clubs
- Government-owned air services
- Private airlines
Alternative Career Options
Masters/Ph.D. graduates can get jobs in academia as a lecturer or professors. Additionally, other alternative careers include IT/software, management consulting, aviation, robotics, data science, AI & analytics.
Top Job Profiles:
- Thermal Design Engineer
- Mechanical Design Engineer
- Aerospace Designer Checker
- Graduate Engineer Trainees
- Assistant Technical Officers
- Assistant Aircraft Engineers
- Aircraft Production Manager
Top Recruiters in India:
- Air India
- Indian Airlines
- Helicopter Corporation of India
- Civil Aviation department
- Private airlines
- Flight clubs
- TATA Advanced Systems
- Mahindra Aerospace
- Taneja Aerospace
In India, fresh graduates can expect an annual salary of INR 7 – 9 Lacs. Cream candidates or IIT graduates could also fetch up salaries of INR 16 Lacs per annum. With experience and advanced degrees, you can earn up to INR 50 Lacs per annum.
In the US, the median annual salary for aerospace engineers is USD $116,200.
About Parinita Gupta: Parinita is a full-time banking professional. Additionally, she is also a passionate blogger and digital marketer.
She mostly writes about the Banking & Finance, Technology, and FinTech sector. But, she also enjoys writing on other topics as well. You can follow her on Twitter.
Featured Image Source: India Education