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What Can I Do with an Aerospace Engineering Degree?

Some aerospace engineers apply their knowledge to land craft such as bullet trains.
The Lockheed SR-71, which was designed by aerospace engineers.
Aerospace engineers design and construct different types of airplanes as well as spacecraft.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Images By: Ortodoxfoto, Sdasm Archives, Pavel Losevsky
  • Last Modified Date: 27 October 2014
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Aerospace engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with the design and construction of craft meant for air travel. Engineers in this field often earn an aerospace engineering degree that prepares them for various careers within this industry. If you decide to pursue an aerospace engineering degree, you may be able to find employment with an aircraft manufacturer, designing and building new aircraft, or you may find work designing spacecraft capable of leaving the earth's atmosphere. Weapons manufacturers will also hire aerospace engineers to design and construct various artillery and weaponry such as missiles.

Once you graduate with an aerospace engineering degree, you should be prepared for a rigorous and highly competitive job market, but you should also be prepared for a rewarding career that offers plenty of job satisfaction. As a professional working in the field, you may end up working exclusively on aircraft design or other aerospace designs, meaning you will study the theory behind flight characteristics and previous aircraft designs to come up with new ways to achieve flight. You may, in fact, end up doing research exclusively, either for a private company, a government agency, or even an educational institution.

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You may decide to become more specialized after you graduate with an aerospace engineering degree. You can, for example, become an expert on thermodynamics, which is an important study as it applies to aerospace technology. Fluid dynamics is yet another scientific field in which you can study. Some job candidates who graduate with an aerospace engineering degree focus on propulsion, which is essentially the theory and practice of moving an aircraft forward or upward off the ground. This subfield requires a solid understanding of physics, chemistry, and aerodynamics at the very least.

The aerospace engineering field is quite broad, and it may include other fields of engineering such as chemical engineering or electrical engineering. It is therefore possible to enter the field with a different engineering degree than an aerospace engineering degree, though the most qualified candidates will hold credentials specific to the aerospace industry. It is likely that a candidate who possesses such a degree will work in the aircraft industry, though positions are available in other applications as well, such as watercraft engineering — particularly pertaining to submarines and other submersibles — as well as land craft such as certain types of trains. Bullet trains, for example, or high speed trains may require design and implementation from an aerospace engineer.

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