Is it possible for me to go into Aerospace Engineering at 37?

  • #1
Brystar57
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2
Good afternoon everyone

My name is Bryant, I am a recent graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, recent graduated of an M.S. in Aeronautics specializing in Space Operations since May of 2023 and but been having a difficult time of going for the Aerospace Industry. I have tried applying, thinking my Masters's degree was enough, but I found out it was not enough. So now I am stuck in limbo, trying to get myself out of it. But I have heard of an ABET degree, which is something that I am considering. I want to go for NASA's Artemis Program, but to apply to NASA and its contractors. has been difficult I tried my best, but I am always getting rejection letters for what I have, and I feel what I have is not enough. I don't want to feel worthless, but I am trying my best to make it there. And I have a fear that I am getting older too. I am currently 37 and going to be 40 soon and I have been working in Retail for a long time, and I want to pivot my life to the Aerospace Industry (Space Sector), but its been super challenging to do so.

I need help. I don't know what to do and I am doing my best to seek for answers and possibilities for myself and my future I feel my future is in Jeopardy. And yet my dream of working with NASA's Artemis Program I want to get there. To work at those NASA Centers.

I am trying to find the right path so I can course correct myself. Ever since I entered the University, I have had a fascination with Aircraft, Rockets, and spacecraft. I always had it, but it grew even more, and I determined that this was what I wanted. But I fear my age could be a factor. Also I want to better myself and learn new things and skills to get stronger for NASA and the Aerospace Industry. What can I do, for a Recent graduate trying to make it to the world of Aerospace (Space Sector).
 
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  • #2
It is not legal, in the USA, for an employer to discriminate based on age. It is a specifically protected category.

Are you getting rejected before or after an interview?
 
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  • #3
Hi, no, it's not that I am saying that I want to go back into engineering, specifically aerospace engineering, but at my age, it could be a liability to get in.

I am getting rejected on both when I apply and after the interview. My recent interview highlighted a problem that may require me to return for an ABET Aerospace Engineering degree. But I don't know if I should pursue a B.S. or an M.S.
 
  • #4
Dale said:
It is not legal, in the USA, for an employer to discriminate based on age. It is a specifically protected category.

Are you getting rejected before or after an interview?
Its just that I feel I am stuck in a limbo and trying to find out how to break out of this limbo to go for a direction to head myself towards.
 
  • #5
I'm sure there's someone who can speak in a more detailed way to this (and at the risk of stating something you already know), "engineering" can be used in a broad sense, and in a more specific professional sense. The engineering profession is quite regulated. One of the problems many people face who, say have a background in physics and then do an MSc in engineering is that to qualify as a professional engineer, they need to have come through an accredited undergraduate program. They can still get hired and work in the industry, but they can't get that specific designation of "professional engineer" and so there are jobs that they simply will not be qualified for. The details are specific to your geography and industry.
Something else to consider is to not get too fixated on big name projects. Careers (even when you get a late start) are quite long and you will come across many opportunities. Rather than aiming for the Artemis project right away, set that (or its equivalent) as a long term goal. Look at getting into something that will build up a skill set that will be in demand in that industry.
 
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  • #6
Brystar57 said:
I am getting rejected on both when I apply and after the interview
Getting rejected is part of a job search. The fact that you are getting interviews probably indicates that your resume is ok for the types of positions that you are seeking. So I wouldn’t immediately think of going back to school. I would probably focus on improving your interviewing skills
 
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  • #7
How many jobs have you applied to? How many applicants do you guess apply for each position?

Further, before additional years of schooling, can you afford it? If you can't afford to stop working and going back to school - likely with limited financial aid - discussing it as a potential plan makes little sense. This will not be cheap.
 
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  • #8
Brystar57 said:
I am a recent graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, recent graduated of an M.S. in Aeronautics specializing in Space Operations since May of 2023 and but been having a difficult time of going for the Aerospace Industry. I have tried applying, thinking my Masters's degree was enough, but I found out it was not enough. So now I am stuck in limbo, trying to get myself out of it. But I have heard of an ABET degree, which is something that I am considering.

Brystar57 said:
My recent interview highlighted a problem that may require me to return for an ABET Aerospace Engineering degree. But I don't know if I should pursue a B.S. or an M.S.

* Does your university have a career counseling/career placement office and an alumni office? Have you consulted them for advice? Have you determined where recent grads have found jobs?

* To emphasize a point that Choppy brought up: Do the employers you are interviewing with require candidates who eventually can become licensed professional engineers, but your degree does not qualify you for such a path?
Brystar57 said:
I want to go for NASA's Artemis Program, but to apply to NASA and its contractors. has been difficult I tried my best, but I am always getting rejection letters for what I have, and I feel what I have is not enough.

Brystar57 said:
And yet my dream of working with NASA's Artemis Program I want to get there. To work at those NASA Centers.

Also emphasizing another point that Choppy brought up: Such a narrow goal will likely lead you to disappointment. Have you determined whether there are even openings for fresh grads in this program? Or whether you'll need to acquire many years of professional experience first?
 
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  • #9
Hi everyone sorry for the long absent on this I was caught with other things that has happened along with going to conferences and all. Anyway, I do apologize. I needed time to reflect and see what it is I can do with what I have and grow from there. Also I do want to point out I have a 4.0 GPA.

Here is an update on what is going on:
I am becoming more open to working in the Space Sector on different projects. It doesn't have to be Artemis, though I am setting that as a long-term goal. It can be even Missiles, or the Defense I can get into. It doesn't matter as long as it involves Space. That's all I care about.

I am going more for entry-level with what I have and what I can do at the current moment.

I applied to the Air Force Civilian Service for the PAQ and COP program for Recent Graduates so trying to enter for Space Operations and among related entry-level positions that involve Space with my degree. I am waiting on their response from the Interview. (Crossing fingers, I really want this!)

I been to the AIAA SciTech 2024 as I am a member of the AIAA along with going to Spacecom 2024 in Orlando, FL. I met with so many people there and very knowledgable of the Aerospace Industry.

I just came back from a Career Expo at my University, so I got a lot of insights on what I need to do.

Also, I have a federal resume done from the USAjobs Resume Builder. I passed my resume to a couple of companies and agencies, both regular and federal, such as Northrop Grumman, The FAA (Space Division), the NRO, and more. Even some gave me advises and went thru my regular resume to have it brushed up.

I do want to pursue engineering in the traditional sense, it is still part of the plan, but I am going to wait till I am more established or a company or agency gives me the time and finance for me to do it because going at it alone for another degree is so expensive and quite frankly I cannot do at the current moment but later on it will be possible. I feel bad and awful I got the engineering bug later in my life.

Anyways sorry about before and I do want to say thank you to everyone that offered me advice I been absent for a while.
 
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  • #10
Also I have a course completion of Spacecraft design, development and operations from the AIAA alongside I have a course I am taking on Design of rockets and space launch vehicles that will finish in early April 2024.

I am curious to ask what is it that I have that can fit with Space as a whole and that if I am doing is a good or not?

I really want a future, secured so that way I can pursue my education more and go for the goals I want to pursue. I don't like that I feel I am stuck and want prosperity in my life.

I don't know if having a Masters's degree was a deterrent in my life or not.
 
  • #11
Brystar57 said:
Also I have a course completion of Spacecraft design, development and operations from the AIAA alongside I have a course I am taking on Design of rockets and space launch vehicles that will finish in early April 2024.

I am curious to ask what is it that I have that can fit with Space as a whole and that if I am doing is a good or not?

I really want a future, secured so that way I can pursue my education more and go for the goals I want to pursue. I don't like that I feel I am stuck and want prosperity in my life.

I don't know if having a Masters's degree was a deterrent in my life or not.
I'm a bit confused. Your first update (Reply #9) indicated that you had met directly with representatives of organizations and companies that you would be interested in and that you had gotten feedback from them; furthermore, that update had a positive, optimistic tone. Now this current post (Reply #10) indicates you're not sure that your educational path is the right one. Please clarify: What direct feedback did you get, and why do you still have lingering doubts?
 
  • #12
CrysPhys said:
I'm a bit confused. Your first update (Reply #9) indicated that you had met directly with representatives of organizations and companies that you would be interested in and that you had gotten feedback from them; furthermore, that update had a positive, optimistic tone. Now this current post (Reply #10) indicates you're not sure that your educational path is the right one. Please clarify: What direct feedback did you get, and why do you still have lingering doubts?
I am sorry I confused you, I meant to say I am grateful for the feedback and I am positive I am working things out.

However I am still worried that if what I did is significant enough or not? Its just that I was at the Career Expo at my university recently, as of a few days ago, and alot of students had Engineering on their tags and I felt like I came from out of place but I am going for the same industry as they are.

Also with some positions they say B.S. but I got an M.S. and me thinking ok that's not a problem because I have my masters but I heard from some Aerospace companies not all that they are scaried of hiring someone with a Graduate degree like myself? Thats what gets me worried and that If getting a Masters degree is a benefit or a curse?

The feedback I got was to fix up my resume to make it match to the job description of what it says. Alongside that to do better in my interviews, which I am grateful of. And is in the process of working on the feedback I got on my recent business trips to these conferences.

Anyways Please forgive me everyone, I am not the best at these forums and still exploring the Aerospace/ Defense Industry and world.
 
  • #13
I'm even more confused - your "Aeronautics" degree is different from an "Aeronautical Engineering" degree, but you want an Aeronautical Engineering job? And you want advice after meeting with these companies?
 
  • #14
Vanadium 50 said:
I;m even more confused - your "Aeronautics" degree is different from an "Aeronautical Engineering" degree, but you want an Aeronaautical Engineering job? And you want advice after meeting with these companies?
No, it doesn't have to be engineering in the traditional sense. I am well aware I cannot do that yet, but there are some people who do lighter engineering but not core engineering like you mentioned. I know a friend of mine who works in Caltrans, and she does light engineering work, but she doesn't have an engineering degree, at least from what I know.

What I did was more of Mission Planning, Analysis, Statistics, and Operations, Light engineering, that kind of stuff, and the University said oh, there are going to be jobs out there, and since I went to a university that specializes in Aerospace, it would benefit me a lot.

I know the AFCS has Space Operations, at least I think they do, and I hope I get a response from them soon.

I forgot to mention I am talking to a recruiter from a recruiting company specializing in the Aerospace/ Defense industry as well.
 
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  • #15
Dale said:
It is not legal, in the USA, for an employer to discriminate based on age. It is a specifically protected category.

Are you getting rejected before or after an interview?


It is only illegal to discriminate against people over the age of 40 for being old, at least federally

https://www.eeoc.gov/age-discrimina...tion involves treating an,are age 40 or older.

So strangely this is everyone's last chance to discriminate against Bryant, and I would assume they probably are.
 
  • #16
Your written sentence structure and grammar are, umm, not ideal. (Perhaps English is not your native language.) This could be one reason you are not getting job offers. Companies have only your resume and cover letter to judge whether they want to interview you. In the short term, I suggest that you engage with a guidance counselor or professional resume writer to ensure that your written correspondence conforms to English norms. In the longer term, enroll in English courses that will improve your written (and perhaps oral) communication skills. It is one of the best things you can do for your future, regardless of what field you end up in.
 
  • #17
marcusl said:
Your written sentence structure and grammar are, umm, not ideal. (Perhaps English is not your native language.)
I had not noticed that. Can you quote a couple examples? Thanks.
 
  • #18
marcusl said:
Your written sentence structure and grammar are, umm, not ideal. (Perhaps English is not your native language.) This could be one reason you are not getting job offers. Companies have only your resume and cover letter to judge whether they want to interview you. In the short term, I suggest that you engage with a guidance counselor or professional resume writer to ensure that your written correspondence conforms to English norms. In the longer term, enroll in English courses that will improve your written (and perhaps oral) communication skills. It is one of the best things you can do for your future, regardless of what field you end up in.
I understand that, I am talking to a recruiter from a recruiting company that is helping me of that alongside with some of the contacts I got to know at the conferences. So I do have connection to people in the Aerospace/ Defense industry.
 
  • #19
berkeman said:
I had not noticed that. Can you quote a couple examples? Thanks.
Choose any of his posts. The first paragraph of this thread is an example. Even the first sentence will do.
 
  • #20
marcusl said:
Choose any of his posts. The first paragraph of this thread is an example. Even the first sentence will do.
Brystar57 said:
My name is Bryant, I am a recent graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, recent graduated of an M.S. in Aeronautics specializing in Space Operations since May of 2023 and but been having a difficult time of going for the Aerospace Industry.
One last chance...
 
  • #21
Have you tried expanding job search to the defense sector in more general roles? Ie., something not as niche as "space."
 
  • #22
marcusl said:
Your written sentence structure and grammar are, umm, not ideal. (Perhaps English is not your native language.)
berkeman said:
I had not noticed that. Can you quote a couple examples? Thanks.
marcusl said:
Choose any of his posts. The first paragraph of this thread is an example. Even the first sentence will do.
I'm not marcusl, and this is about a week late, but I can see some things that make me "stumble" slightly upon reading them.
Brystar57 said:
My name is Bryant, I am a recent graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University,
Run-on sentence, should be separated by a period instead of a comma.
recent graduated of an M.S. in Aeronautics
I would say "recently graduated with an M.S. in Aeronautics" or "recent graduate of an M.S. program in Aeronautics" or "recent graduate of an Aeronautics M.S. program".
in Space Operations since May of 2023
If that is when he earned the degree, I would say "in May 2023" (not "since")
and but been having
"and have been having"
a difficult time of going for the Aerospace Industry.
"a difficult time getting into the Aerospace industry."

Some of this may be a matter of British- versus American-English style, the last item in particular.

It's always clear to me what he wants to convey. That's not a problem. Nevertheless, if someone is reading a lot of applications quickly, I can imagine that the imperfections in expression might be a negative factor.
 
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  • #23
But they are getting interviews. So if there is a language barrier issue it is more likely about spoken language during the interview.
 
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