Best Online Master's in Aerospace Engineering Programs
This list highlights the 24 best value colleges offering online master's programs in aerospace engineering. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is ranked #1, offering a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering (Non-Thesis Option) for $29,559 per year. Graduates of the school reported a median salary of $153,600. In the #2 spot, the University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign offers a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering for only $17,344 per year, making it an affordable choice for distance learners who are looking for a high quality and affordable education.
2020 Online Colleges Offering Aerospace Engineering Degrees - Ranking Details
What Is an Aerospace Engineering Degree?
Aerospace engineers design, maintain, and improve aircrafts and spacecrafts. Their work is integral to many important organizations and private enterprises.
During a master's in aerospace engineering, you'll prepare yourself to enter the workforce by applying science-based coursework with instrumentation and laboratory studies. You'll be tasked with learning complex research and development techniques as they relate to fluids, materials, propulsion, and structures. Online aerospace engineering master's programs include both practical and theoretical studies alongside a variety of tools and techniques.
Can You Get an Aerospace Engineering Degree Online?
Some of the best master's programs in aerospace engineering can be found online. As long as the university is accredited by the U.S. Department of Education, or another regional organization, you can rest assured that your online degree is respected among potential employers.
Keep in mind, most online degrees in this field will require some in-person learning. Engineering is an area of study that requires a lot of hands-on work with equipment. This is especially true for aerospace engineering, where you'll need to use special instruments to design complex systems.
How Many Years Is a Masters Degree in Aerospace Engineering?
You'll likely start your college experience by filling out an entrance exam and applying for student loans and scholarships. This process can take months in and of itself. But once you're accepted, it's good to have an idea of how long you'll be studying at the master's level.
While bachelor's degrees in aerospace engineering generally take four years to complete, master's programs can add another one to two years to your education. Each program may vary in length, but most require 30 to 60 credit hours. For aerospace engineering master's programs online, students can often take on a more flexible schedule than on-campus degrees allow. In this case, your degree may take longer, but it may also allow you to maintain a job while you study. For those who have the resources to attend class full-time, an online program can be completed in less than two years.
In order to be accepted into an online master's degree in aerospace engineering, you'll need to have earned a prior degree in a related field. Ideally, you'll have achieved your bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering, however colleges may also accept other degrees. Bachelor's degrees in aviation, engineering specialties, and space studies are suitable to prepare you for master's-level coursework. When it comes to grade point average, most schools require a 3.0 GPA or higher from your previous degree, which must also come from an accredited engineering institution. A Graduate Record Examination (GRE) may also be required for some programs.
Aerospace Engineering Courses
Aerospace engineering coursework blends physics, mechanics, and a variety of technical and theoretical studies. You can take many of these classes online through your school's learning management system. Some courses, however, require hands-on learning in laboratory settings, where you'll be tasked with designing, assembling, and repairing mechanical equipment. Let's take a look at some of the most common courses in an aerospace engineering master's program.
Aerospace Engineering Concentrations
Many aerospace engineering degrees require you to choose an area of specialization, otherwise known as a concentration.
One of the most common concentrations is aerodynamics and fluid dynamics. The former covers the movement of an object through the air while the latter looks at the movement of gasses and liquids.
Or, you may be interested in aerospace structures. In that case, you may want to choose a concentration focusing on how structures behave in high performance scenarios while flying at high speeds through air and space.
Propulsion is another specialization on offer from aerospace master's degrees, wherein you'll learn how to design and test propulsion components from both spacecraft and aircraft.
What Can You Do With an Aerospace Engineering Degree?
Below, you'll find some potential engineering careers for those who graduate with a master's in aerospace engineering. It may be helpful to keep in mind that an 8% job outlook is the national average across the U.S., while $45,760 is the median annual wage for all workers. In general, engineering jobs offer salaries well above this median.
Becoming an aerospace engineer is the most common aspiration coming from aerospace engineering students. In this role, you'll get the opportunity to design a number of different systems, including missiles, satellites, aircraft, and spacecraft. Roles often emerge within the federal government and military, or a handful of private companies. Aerospace engineers earn a median salary of $122,270, with an 8% job outlook that matches the national average.
Aerospace technologists, sometimes known as operations technologists, run the systems that test the mechanical structures and capabilities of aircraft and spacecraft. They play a vital role in the safety and performance of these structures. Typically, this role may have you working in manufacturing plants or laboratories.
Professor of Aerospace Engineering
Maybe you'd like to stay within the academic world and become a professor of aerospace engineering? With your background in aerospace engineering you'll be able to teach students the fundamentals of the underlying technologies, physics, and mechanics that drive your field while giving speeches and symposiums. You may also participate in academic research to move forward the field of aerospace technology.
Avionics technicians work directly on the maintenance and testing of aircrafts. They use their knowledge of mechanical and aerospace engineering to ensure systems are functioning properly and that they're capable of high-speed air travel. You'll install machinery, maintain parts, and test electrical equipment.
Most entry-level roles in the field of aerospace engineering do not require licensure. Beyond these roles, you'll likely be required to possess a license by either your employer or the state.
The two most common licenses come from the Professional Engineering (PE) and Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exams. The National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors (NCEES) administers these exams, which — upon completion — makes you an officially licensed engineer in your state.