When you complete your aerospace engineering degree, the chances are that you’ll go into mechanical engineering, the most popular career path for aerospace engineering graduates.
There are also significant numbers of graduates becoming engineering technicians and design and development engineers, as well as - of course - aerospace engineers.
So what is aerospace engineering?
What to do with an aerospace engineering degree
Typical aerospace engineering UK opportunities include a variety of engineering roles, and we’ll explore some of those options here. In the next section, ‘What can you do with an aerospace engineering degree?’, we go through alternative jobs with aerospace engineering requirements, considering careers outside of engineering.
The most direct pathway after an aerospace engineering degree is to become an aerospace engineer (also known as an aeronautical engineer), designing and developing aircraft, spacecraft, satellites and aerial weaponry.
In this job, you might specialise in a certain aspect of aerospace engineering, focusing on the propulsion, the aerodynamics, or perhaps the materials. Your work will contribute to the safety, speed, fuel efficiency, technology and costs of aircraft.
Additionally, you could use your aerospace engineering foundation degree to become a design engineer, branching out to design projects across a wider range of sectors. This role overlaps with that of CAD technician, who designs machinery parts using specialist software. Similarly, a manufacturing systems engineer works on production equipment for factories.
You could become a materials engineer, analysing materials and the ways they can be transformed. Or you could become a mechanical engineer, making excellent use of the skills developed on your aerospace engineering degree to research and develop machinery and technology.
A maintenance engineer supervises and takes care of machinery and equipment, while an automotive engineer designs and develops road vehicles, and an energy engineer works on extraction of energy from traditional and green sources to improve the availability and environmental impact of energy resources.
Assessments are usually through coursework and exams, and the latter carries more weight than the first.
What can you do with an aerospace engineering degree?
Outside of engineering, there are a number of other careers which enable you to use the skills from your aerospace engineering degree (or from your aerospace engineering apprenticeships).
A patent attorney, for example, needs to have a technical background in order to analyse and classify various trademarked designs. There is no need for a postgraduate law qualification, as you can apply for a role as a trainee patent attorney and become qualified while you work.
Alternatively, you could become a technical sales engineer, advising clients from non-technical backgrounds. This would suit someone with good people skills and the ability to travel.
In the production industry, you could use your aerospace engineering degree to help you become a production manager (ideal for someone with strong leadership skills and meticulous organisational abilities) or a quality manager (perfect for graduates with a keen eye for detail and a proactive attitude and looking for aerospace engineering graduate jobs).
Other aerospace engineering jobs (not just graduate aerospace engineering jobs or aerospace engineering degree apprenticeships) with aerospace engineering degree skill sets include the civil service fast stream, or more general graduate training programmes.
You could also continue in education and become an academic researcher after completing a PhD, even for some valuable aerospace engineering work experience.
Most courses will be five years, and students will also learn about different practices and areas as well as engineering research (you can srearch for any aerospace engineering personal statement here).
What A levels do I need?
Most aerospace engineering universities and courses ask for AAA grades, or even A* grades, especially Russell Group Universities (You can check out a aerospace engineering university ranking(/rankings/) here to find the best top aerospace engineering universities for you). Check with your aerospace engineering university prospectus entry requirements for the course you are interested in.
What should I expect from studying aerospace and engineering?
Students will learn to design components and software, as well as systems for the aircraft and systems used in aerospace. Individuals will also improve on current designs and create new ones within their studies, which, in turn, offers a better aerospace engineering salary.
These designs and systems may be based on what astronauts currently use when conducting experiments in space.
Neil Armstrong completed a Master’s of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Southern California.
How will I be assessed?
Assessments are usually through coursework and exams, and the latter carries more weight than the first. Although the first year grades do not count towards the final degree classification, the last four years do.
Other methods of assessments may include presentations, group work and practical performance marks from workshops. The range of assessments will differ depending on the module and year of study, not to mention the aerospace engineering universities UK.
What skills will I learn during my studying?
This degree will offer lots of practical skills through the engineering side, as well as technology and management. This degree requires intense studying and if you’re thinking of studying abroad, well you’re in luck, it’s a very common course for students to have a year studying abroad! Also, there are lots of university placement opportunities, aerospace engineering apprenticeships UK, as well as aerospace engineering internships available too.
Studying at university will also aid students in learning about time management and prioritising tasks. Students will find that they gain organisational skills and be able to work to a deadline. Individuals will develop more social skills as they will collaborate with their peers in presentations and group work projects.
Why should I study Aerospace and Engineering?
This degree offers students the chance to study how to make, repair and put together very complex machines which aren’t an ordinary skill. Students will learn all aspects of engineering; aircraft’s that make it up into the sky, and beyond into space.
Students will also learn about technology and the business and management side to engineering, offering valuable advice and skills for students to consider starting their own company or business after graduation.
The manufacturing industry is a competitive market where engineering can aid those interested. Some of the best courses on offer, provide students with a year studying abroad, including countries; China, and India, as well as those in Europe and the United States.
Engineering studies focus on the business and management side as well as the practical element of machinery, giving students valuable advice and skills which can be used to become self-employed later in life.
Outside of engineering, there are a number of other careers which enable you to use the skills from your aerospace engineering degree
What happens when I graduate?
Students who have studied Aerospace and Engineering can access work within these industries, which are very specialised and hard to come by, although the benefits are worth it. If a student has completed a year abroad, they have the chance to network and therefore, open up international opportunities for employment.
Will it help me get a job?
As this type of degree is less commonly studied, due to its high course entry requirements and popularity, students won’t face a harsh employment market thereafter, especially if you find good aerospace engineering companies. Although it is best for candidates to research their career prospects before applying to university to ensure that this degree is the correct route for their aspirations.
What types of jobs can I get?
There is a range of areas that graduates can find work in, such as; Technology, Engineering, Technician, Aviation and Management. Students can research the RAF and other companies for an idea on what opportunities are on offer.
More specifically, graduates can find jobs well suited to them, for example; Aircraft Technician, Engineer Officer, Senior Design Engineer, Aerospace Electrical Maintenance Engineer, Quality and Simulation Engineer, Project Assistant and Estimator.
The most direct pathway after an aerospace engineering degree is to become an aerospace engineer
What can I study after graduating?
The postgraduate options include an exciting range of masters in aerospace engineering (MAs) and research degrees, including, Advanced Composites, Diplomas in Industrial Automation, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Plant Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing Systems.
Famous Aerospace Engineering Alumni
The best one of all, Neil Armstrong, who was the first man to land on the moon! He completed a Master’s of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Southern California.