Career Path: From MechE to Aerospace Engineering

In summary, aerospace engineering is a branch of mechanical engineering and a MechE with a Bachelor's Degree in mechanical engineering can start working with aircraft or pursue a Master's Degree in aerospace engineering. In addition to courses like thermo, fluids, and structures, important subjects for a career in aerospace include aerodynamics, propulsion, controls, and guidance. A Master's Degree in aerospace engineering typically requires studying a broad spectrum of relevant subjects and there may be course differences for different concentrations. However, the initial specialization does not lock an engineer into one field forever and they can expect to continuously learn new skills. The work of an engineer in an aerospace company can be multidisciplinary, with smaller companies allowing for more diverse tasks and larger companies often having engineers focus on
  • #1
navierstokes
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I know that aerospace engineering is a branch of mechanical engineering, and as a student of mechanical engineering myself, I'm curious to know what kind of knowledge a MechE coming out of a Bachelor's Degree should have if he wants to start working with aircraft (or pursuing a Master's Degree on aerospace engineering).
Apart from classes like thermo, fluids, structures (things that we learn in a typical mechanical engineering degree), what else is important if I want to start a career in aerospace?
 
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  • #3
FactChecker said:
You should probably look at the requirements of a particular school that you are interested in. Here is a typical list of subjects for an MS in Aerospace Engineering. It is from the University of Texas in Arlington http://www.uta.edu/engineering/futu...mechanical-and-aerospace-engineering/msae.php

Thanks. I'm not very familiar with how a master degree works. I mean, I've given a look at the master's degree program on aeronautical engineering of a given school, and there were various concentrations: aerodynamics and propulsion, controls and guidance... When you enroll on a master's degree, you get to study only one of those subjects? Let's say: a MechE with a master's in aerospace engineering (focus in aerodynamics, for instance) could work with controls and guidance?
 
  • #4
navierstokes said:
Thanks. I'm not very familiar with how a master degree works. I mean, I've given a look at the master's degree program on aeronautical engineering of a given school, and there were various concentrations: aerodynamics and propulsion, controls and guidance... When you enroll on a master's degree, you get to study only one of those subjects? Let's say: a MechE with a master's in aerospace engineering (focus in aerodynamics, for instance) could work with controls and guidance?
There will be some course differences for the different concentrations. The Masters degree usually requires you to study the broad spectrum of relevant subjects. Sometimes you can select some and omit others, but you shouldn't count on it. You can probably get a list of courses for each concentration.
 
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  • #5
FactChecker said:
There will be some course differences for the different concentrations. The Masters degree usually requires you to study the broad spectrum of relevant subjects. Sometimes you can select some and omit others, but you shouldn't count on it. You can probably get a list of courses for each concentration.

I was able to find the courses offered by each department, but I don't know if there are any courses that all MS students are required to take. This school is focused in aeronautics, and it offers a Master's Degree in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering. I'm asking because I'm interested both in the Propulsion and Aerodynamics concentration and the Aerospace Systems and Mechatronics concentration. In general, a engineer with a MS in aeronautical engineering would have enough knowledge of both areas to work on both fields, or he needs to especialize in one of those?
 
  • #6
Your initial selection would not lock you in forever. My progression of specialties over 37 years in aerospace was: math => economic analysis => operations research => real-time computer simulation => software engineering => flight controls. They were all interesting. Whether you change the company groups you are in or not, you always have to be learning new skills anyway. Expect change and be adaptable.
 
  • #7
FactChecker said:
Your initial selection would not lock you in forever. My progression of specialties over 37 years in aerospace was: math => economic analysis => operations research => real-time computer simulation => software engineering => flight controls. They were all interesting. Whether you change the company groups you are in or not, you always have to be learning new skills anyway. Expect change and be adaptable.
That's good to know. My biggest concern whilen choosing a specialization was being stuck on that forever.
 
  • #8
Also, I would like to know how, typically, is the work of a engineer on a aerospace company. I mean: how multidisciplinary is the job? Does a single engineer ends up applying different kinds of knowledge (like strenght of materials and structures, fluid dynamics, controls...) or is the work divided and there are some engineers that only work with thermo, others for structures, etc...?
 
  • #9
navierstokes said:
Also, I would like to know how, typically, is the work of a engineer on a aerospace company. I mean: how multidisciplinary is the job? Does a single engineer ends up applying different kinds of knowledge (like strenght of materials and structures, fluid dynamics, controls...) or is the work divided and there are some engineers that only work with thermo, others for structures, etc...?
That entirely depends on the company and the position. In general I would say the smaller the company the more you get to do. Often in larger companies people do one job each. That one job however could be something like systems integration where you work across multiple fields.
 
  • #10
donpacino said:
That entirely depends on the company and the position. In general I would say the smaller the company the more you get to do. Often in larger companies people do one job each. That one job however could be something like systems integration where you work across multiple fields.
I wonder how a engineer working in such a specific field manages to remember all other important stuff that he learned as a mechanical engineer. For example: a engineer working in aerodynamics probably won't need to deal with stress analysis every day.
 

Related to Career Path: From MechE to Aerospace Engineering

1. What is the difference between Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering?

Mechanical Engineering is a broad field that deals with the design, analysis, and manufacturing of mechanical systems. Aerospace Engineering, on the other hand, focuses specifically on the design and development of aircraft, spacecraft, and related technologies. While there is some overlap in the fundamental principles and skills required for both fields, Aerospace Engineering requires a more specialized knowledge of aerodynamics, propulsion systems, and materials used in the aerospace industry.

2. Can a Mechanical Engineer transition into a career in Aerospace Engineering?

Yes, it is possible for a Mechanical Engineer to transition into a career in Aerospace Engineering. Many of the skills and knowledge gained in Mechanical Engineering can be applied to the aerospace industry. However, additional education and training in specific areas such as aerodynamics and aircraft design may be necessary to make the transition.

3. What job opportunities are available for a MechE in the aerospace industry?

Mechanical Engineers can find job opportunities in various areas of the aerospace industry, such as aircraft design, propulsion systems, and aerospace manufacturing. They may also work on projects related to space exploration, satellite design, and unmanned aerial vehicles. Additionally, many aerospace companies hire Mechanical Engineers for roles in research and development, quality control, and project management.

4. What skills are necessary for a career in Aerospace Engineering?

To succeed in Aerospace Engineering, one must have a solid foundation in mathematics, physics, and mechanics. In addition, strong problem-solving and critical thinking skills are essential, as well as a good understanding of computer-aided design (CAD) software. Knowledge of aerodynamics, thermodynamics, and materials science is also crucial for a career in this field.

5. How can I prepare for a career in Aerospace Engineering as a MechE?

To prepare for a career in Aerospace Engineering as a Mechanical Engineer, it is important to take courses in aerodynamics, fluid mechanics, and aerospace materials. It may also be beneficial to participate in internships or co-op programs in the aerospace industry to gain hands-on experience. Networking with professionals in the field and joining relevant organizations can also provide valuable insights and opportunities for career advancement.

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