Aeronautical Science Job Information
Read about a career in aeronautical science. Research the educational and skill requirements, and learn about the job description and employment and salary outlook for aeronautical science careers.
Aeronautical science is the science of flight, and this field relates to careers involved with the design and development of aircraft. Aeronautical engineers study how flight may be achieved within the Earth's atmosphere and use that knowledge to design airplanes. Some graduates holding degrees in aeronautical science become pilots. While not all piloting jobs require students to graduate with aeronautical science degrees, the credential is a definite advantage.
For those who do not wish to work as pilots, an aeronautical science degree can lead to a career in the design, construction or maintenance side of the industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), aeronautical engineers design both aircraft and propulsion systems, keeping in mind the aerodynamic performance of the construction materials used in creating aircraft.
Only a select few schools offer aeronautical science degree programs. Degrees in the field include an Associate of Applied Science, a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science. Classes in aeronautical science programs focus on math, physics and computer science. Because many individuals who complete aeronautical science programs choose to pursue careers as pilots, many programs also require students to take flying lessons in order to earn a pilot's license before they graduate.
The BLS reported that aeronautical science professionals needed the following traits:
- Ability to multitask and handle stress well
- Extreme concentration if working as a pilot
- Understanding of basic physics, the dynamics of flight and a solid background in computers
- Solid verbal communication skills, since both pilots and individuals on the mechanical side of the industry must clearly convey important information
- Strong math, critical thinking and record-keeping skills
- Ability to work in a team
Employment and Salary Outlook
The BLS reported that 103,500 civilian jobs existed for pilots in 2010, which translated to an expected job growth of 11% from 2010-2020. The BLS also reported that 81,000 aerospace engineering jobs, including aeronautical engineering positions, existed in 2010, and a 5% job growth was expected in this segment over the same decade. As of May 2012, the median salary for commercial airline pilots was $73,280, per the BLS. The same source indicated that aerospace engineers earned a median annual salary of $103,720 in May 2012.
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