With international governments and private companies focusing on space explorations and increasing efficiencies, a degree in aerospace engineering has become quite sought-after.
A helicopter simulator at Georgia Institute of Technology’s Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering. Photograph courtesy Georgia Institute of Technology.
Aerospace engineering focuses on the design, construction and maintenance of aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, missiles and weapons systems. People who pursue it as a career path get to work with some of the most complex technologies in the world, and engineer future breakthroughs. They are employed primarily in manufacturing, analysis and design, research and development, and in governmental bodies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for aerospace engineers in the United States was $115,220 (Rs. 81 lakh approximately) in May 2018, with expected growth of 6 percent from 2016 to 2026. The demand is being sustained also by the need to redesign aircraft to reduce noise pollution and have better fuel efficiency. As international governments refocus their space exploration efforts, new companies, like Elon Musk’s SpaceX, have also emerged to provide access to space.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), with campuses in Florida and Arizona, offers a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering (BSAE) program, which prepares students to solve complex challenges in design, propulsion and systems for aircraft and super-crafts. It offers them the chance to learn real-world, on-the-job engineering principles practiced by companies and government agencies around the globe.
The BSAE degree focuses primarily on the engineering of mission-oriented vehicles, with courses in aeronautics, airplane and space vehicle design, structures and propulsion. Graduates enjoy an extremely high job placement rate—96 percent are employed or have chosen to go on to higher education within a year of graduating, according to the university. They are sought-after in the aerospace and aviation field, including by industry leaders like NASA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and SpaceX.
Mandar Kulkarni, assistant professor of aerospace engineering at ERAU Daytona Beach, says that the university’s main goal is to “provide a comprehensive education to prepare graduates for productive careers and responsible citizenship, with special emphasis on the needs of aviation, aerospace engineering and related fields.” He adds, “All foreign citizens and Americans living abroad who apply for admission are automatically considered for the Embry-Riddle Scholarship, created in honor of the university’s namesake,” making ERAU a great option for international students considering aerospace engineering as a career.
Students from over 141 countries attend ERAU, and the admissions staff understands the complexity of the international admission process. The university provides support on matters like immigration regulations, housing and health insurance. Its admissions representatives also organize information sessions through the year in various locations worldwide.
Each year, more than 1,200 students from around the world come to Atlanta, Georgia, to study aerospace engineering at the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). It has more than 40 tenure-track faculty members and many cross-disciplinary research collaborations.
College education is a significant investment, and prospective students must weigh tuition, fees and other expenses against their future earning potential. Keeping this in mind, Georgia Tech offers a full range of options to help offset financial costs for students who qualify based on need, academic excellence or area of study. This includes competitive scholarships, financial aid, earn-while-you-learn co-op and internship programs, and research opportunities for stipends or class credit.
“Our students get ample opportunities from the very first semester to participate in design-build-fly competitions, undergraduate research, minors or certificates, and vertically-integrated projects,” says Lakshmi Sankar, Regents Professor and Sikorsky Professor at the school. “We also provide many opportunities for study abroad in locations worldwide. Students may also pursue an undergraduate thesis, a combined BS/MS [Bachelor of Science/Master of Science] program focusing on research, or a program that focuses on international experiences.”
Jason Chiang is a freelance writer based in Silver Lake, Los Angeles.