Complete Guide to an Online Aerospace Engineering Degree

By the OnlineU team | Updated 2/11/2022
Quick Facts
Accreditation: ABET
Average Tuition: $28,987
Alumni Salary: $65,620

A bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering aims to equip students with the tools they need to design, build, and improve aircraft and spacecraft. Prospective students can pursue an online aerospace engineering degree at a few colleges, but fully online programs are rare. On this page, we list some of the most commonly searched schools that offer online bachelor's degrees in this discipline. Graduates of these programs may work for the government or private sector in one of the highest paying engineering disciplines, or they might continue their higher education to pursue an online Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering.

Below our list of colleges, read on for information on accreditation for aerospace engineering programs, potential career opportunities, and tips on funding your education.

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Most Popular Accredited Online Schools for Aerospace Engineering Bachelor's Degrees

Visitors to our site are most interested in these schools
Rank School Annual Tuition Recommend Rate
# 1 #1 Florida Tech-Online $12,240 65% (79 reviews)
80 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Aerospace Engineering (view all)
80 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Aerospace Engineering
  • BA Aviation Management
# 2 #2 University of North Dakota $15,895 67% (3 reviews)
173 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Aerospace Engineering (view all)
173 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Aerospace Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering - Aerospace
# 3 #3 Calvary University $11,164 Add Review
102 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Aerospace Engineering (view all)
102 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Aerospace Engineering
  • Professional Directed Studies: Airframe & Power Plant Mec...
# 4 #4 American Public University System $7,324 70% (175 reviews)
502 Programs, 3 Bachelor's in Aerospace Engineering (view all)
502 Programs, 3 Bachelor's in Aerospace Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Space Studies - Aerospace Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Space Studies - Astronomy
  • Bachelor of Science in Space Studies - Space Policy
# 5 #5 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide $9,912 36% (11 reviews)
110 Programs, 4 Bachelor's in Aerospace Engineering (view all)
110 Programs, 4 Bachelor's in Aerospace Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics
  • Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics - Aviation
  • Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics/Master of Aeronautical...
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology - Aeronauti...

Overview of Online Aerospace Engineering Degrees

Aerospace engineering students learn the physical and mechanical underpinnings of flight and space travel, which include the principles of aerodynamics, electromechanical systems, computation, thermodynamics, and space mechanics. Programs in engineering technology are similar but emphasize hands-on experience with machinery, allowing students to implement engineers' designs. Most aerospace engineering bachelor's degrees require 120-128 credit hours, which can take as little as four years to complete with a full-time schedule. But some schools estimate a six-year completion time for online aerospace engineering programs, which may be due to required campus visits where students are asked to work in laboratories.



Aerospace engineering students learn the physical and mechanical underpinnings of flight and space travel.

Admission requirements differ by school. Applicants typically need to submit high school or GED transcripts showing a 2.5-3.0 GPA, at least one letter of recommendation, and a personal essay. Many schools also require ACT or SAT scores, though some colleges have dropped entrance test requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does an Online Aerospace Engineering Degree Cost?

The median annual tuition for all online bachelor's degrees on our site is $13,919, drawn from a sample of 846 schools. The median tuition for programs on this page is $9,912, but this is drawn from a very small sample size. Distance learners typically pay a technology fee each term of enrollment on top of tuition, and their school may charge additional fees. Students are also responsible for additional fees, books, and supplies.

Is Aerospace Engineering in High Demand?

The BLS expects the aerospace engineering field to grow 8% in the 2020-2030 period. This growth rate is the same as the rate for all U.S. jobs combined. Students can expect 5,100 new jobs by the end of decade, and about 4,000 open positions per year due to growth and turnover.

What is the Difference Between Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering?

Aerospace engineering is a broader term encompassing both aeronautical and astronautical engineering. Aeronautical engineering deals with aircraft in the earth's atmosphere, whereas astronautical engineering covers vehicles that leave the atmosphere for space. Bachelor's students often learn concepts from both, although engineers tend to specialize in one or the other during their careers.

Can You Get an Aerospace Engineering Degree Online?

Fully online bachelor's degree programs in aerospace engineering are rare. This type of program is offered on campus more often because students need access to laboratories with cumbersome equipment and special instrumentation that allows them to study aerodynamics and propulsion systems. Even programs with asynchronous online coursework typically feature campus visits. For example, the University of North Dakota requires undergraduate aerospace students to complete lab lessons for a week or two during summer months.

Related Online Degrees

It may be difficult to pursue an aerospace engineering major online because this particular degree typically requires a certain level of in-person commitment. If you are set on an online degree, you might consider other fields related to engineering, aeronautics, or space travel. Below are some alternative options.

Aviation

Bachelor's degrees in aviation can cover everything from aviation management to professional pilot programs. A number of colleges offer online degrees, but pilot programs also require hundreds of hours of flight time.

Engineering technology

Many varieties of engineering rely on engineering technologists who work closely with engineers to implement their designs and solutions. You can seek an online engineering technology degree in disciplines such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or industrial engineering. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers a B.S. in Engineering Technology - Aeronautical Science for students interested in flight technology.

Industrial engineering

Students of this discipline, sometimes called systems engineering, learn to design and improve fundamental production processes. Industrial engineering degree programs cover much of the same math and physics material as aerospace engineering programs.

Space studies

As with aviation, this field encompasses a variety of career paths. For example, American Public University System's B.S. in Space Studies features concentrations in astronomy and space policy, which you could potentially use to work in research or administration, respectively.

The Importance of Accreditation

Institutional accreditation is a stamp of approval from an independent agency asserting the overall quality of a college. Regionally accredited institutions are more prestigious than nationally accredited schools because the standards are more academically rigorous. Attending a regionally accredited college improves your chances of being able to transfer credits to another college or graduate school, which is important if you want to switch schools during your bachelor's program or earn a graduate degree in the future. You may be able to use federal financial aid at a college with either type of accreditation.



Graduating from an aerospace engineering program without ABET accreditation may have adverse effects on your employability.

In engineering, programmatic accreditation is also important. Many employers prefer to hire candidates who graduate from programs approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. However, none of the online programs on this page are ABET-accredited. Graduating from an aerospace engineering program without ABET accreditation may have adverse effects on your employability. You'll also be unable to earn a Professional Engineer (PE) license. Although a PE license usually isn't necessary for beginner aerospace engineers, it could help improve your employment prospects in the future.

Funding an Online Aerospace Engineering Degree

Most students fund their studies with financial aid, which generally combines gift aid and loans. Graduates don't need to repay gift aid, such as grants and scholarships, but they must repay loans with interest. Prospective students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which gives the government details about their financial situation and ability to pay. Online students usually qualify for the same financial aid as on-campus learners.

To help applicants, we've listed a few private scholarships below that aerospace engineering students might be eligible for. Applicants should check with their school's financial aid office to make sure they accept these funds.

This organization sponsors several renewable, annual awards ranging from $5,000-$10,000. Applicants must be student members of the institute and studying engineering at an accredited college.

Undergraduate women in aerospace engineering can earn $4,000 toward their degree. Recipients must be members of the Society of Women Engineers who are in at least their second year.

This foundation gives several annual awards to third-year aerospace engineering students, ranging from $1,000-$6,000. Applicants must be student members of the Vertical Flight Foundation, which researches helicopter technology.

Our Guides for College Students feature more information on funding your education and include lists of scholarships for specific student groups.

Careers with an Aerospace Engineering Degree

Aerospace engineering and engineering technology students can learn valuable soft skills, such as deductive reasoning, analytical problem-solving, and clear writing. These skills may help them succeed in the aerospace industry when combined with a knowledge of flight mechanics and dynamics.

In general, aerospace engineers and technologists concentrate on either atmospheric or space flight:

Aeronautical specialists help design and manufacture aircraft or weapons that fly through the atmosphere, such as missiles. They might work for commercial aircraft manufacturers, defense companies, or government agencies that create and update quality and safety standards.

Astronautical specialists work on spacecraft. Many of them secure jobs at NASA or other agencies that deploy satellites, but they can also work for firms pursuing commercial space flight.

We've provided details on aerospace engineer and engineering technology careers below. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provided the median annual salaries and job growth data through 2030.

Aerospace Engineers
Median Annual Salary: $118,610
Job Outlook: 8%

Aerospace engineers evaluate spacecraft or aircraft designs, create new aerospace systems, and ensure that projects meet designated safety and quality standards. They mainly work in laboratories where they test forces and stresses on airframes. Aerospace engineers often specialize in one of the phenomena that affect air or space flight, such as thermodynamics or celestial mechanics.

Aerospace Engineering Technologists
Median Annual Salary: $68,570
Job Outlook: 9%

Aerospace engineering technologists help build the aircraft and spacecraft that engineers design. They oversee teams that assemble airframes, install monitoring instruments, and perform rigorous safety and quality checks on finished craft. They collaborate closely with engineers, but much of their time is spent in manufacturing environments.

Continuing Education

Aerospace engineering alumni can also pursue an online graduate program in the discipline, which is more common than online bachelor's degrees. Schools typically require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree in the discipline, so they assume a level of familiarity with the subject matter that lets students dive right into advanced coursework with less lab time.

Master's students can often select a concentration allowing them to specialize, such as fluid mechanics or astrodynamics. Earning a master's degree may improve a graduate's marketability and earning power. A few colleges offer online doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering, which are geared toward engineers who want to work in research or academia.

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