1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Engineering Looking for a career in Aerospace Engineering

  1. Feb 26, 2008 #1
    Hi, I'm currently a student in high school, and I found this forum. I want to go into aerospace engineering, due to two things - I love creating things, and I love aircraft and spacecraft, so it's a great fit, right? What I'm concerned about right now is the colleges/universities I should consider. Now, without limiting by GPA or test scores, etc, which colleges/universities would you guys suggest? I originally was aiming for Cal Tech (which I live close to), but I meet someone who told me Embry-Riddle was the place to go. He said Cal Tech and MIT were engineering research universities that happen to offer aerospace, whereas Embry-Riddle was an aerospace university more geared towards getting you hired with some hands on activities. I know I'm new here and all, but any advice is highly appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 26, 2008 #2
    If you can get accepted to Cal Tech / MIT, and can afford it, and turn it down, then generally speaking you're a dumbass. But that's just my opinion. ^_^
  4. Feb 26, 2008 #3
    Haha, well I don't know a lot of engineers, so I don't have a lot of resources to get this kind of information.
  5. Feb 27, 2008 #4
    Before you apply to any school, I recommend reading the college reviews written by students. For Embry Riddle in Florida, here is the site : http://www.studentsreview.com/FL/EAU.html

    Just type in the other schools you wish to attend by typing in name and searching. I am also in high school and in my sophomore year wanted to be an Aerospace Engineering, but after taking Physics, I realized it was Physics that really stimulated me.
  6. Feb 27, 2008 #5
    Awesome, I didn't know a site like that existed!
  7. Feb 28, 2008 #6
    Ok, sorry for the late reply. Your friend is right BECAUSE:

    (a) ER is a school mainly for aircraft handywork. If you want to be an Air Traffic Controller, Ground Crew, A/C mechanic, Pilot, Test Pilot, work for the FAA.

    (b) A UNIVERSITY on the other hand, is for the theory. If you want to work at Boeing, Lockheed, Northrop, and do the MATHEMATICAL work in designing aircraft.

    ER is more for a 'tech job' in the aerospace market. A good 4-year Univ. is for a real 'engineering job'.

    My advice, ER is TOO expensive for what you get out of it, which is LESS than a local in-state 4 year school. Stick to a proper univ. and get an engineering degree for a resonable amount of money. ER is in excess of 30k a year. TOO EXPENSIVE.
  8. Feb 28, 2008 #7
    Hi bentrinh - I want to let you know I work in the admissions office at Embry-Riddle and I'm a graduate of the Daytona Beach campus (just so you know). I want to correct some of what's been said here so you'll be better able to make an informed decision about what's right for you. We are indeed a full-fledged university, in fact US News and World Report has ranked us #1 in the specialty category of “Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering Programs” at schools where the highest degree is a master’s, Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus took first place, followed by the U.S. Air Force Academy in second, and Embry-Riddle’s Prescott, Ariz., campus in third.The university, which has one of the largest aerospace engineering programs in the nation, has won the top spot every year since the category was introduced in 2001. Another very important factor to consider as you explore school options is to look for engineering programs that are "ABET accredited," and we have indeed earned that accreditation. It's very important for engineers, so ask about that at any school you look into.
    Like all universities, we're engaged in research. Unlike all universities, our undergraduate students are often able to participate in research (at some schools it's only grad students who get that opportunity). So that's a real plus for students who want hands-on real life education. The capstone design project is required of all our engineering majoes (as dictated by ABET) and so provides something really good to put on your resume, gives you an understanding of working with a team and managing projects.

    The companies named above (Boeing, Lockheed, Northrop) all recruit our students and attend our career fair every year. United Space Alliance is also a big employer of our grads. You can see the list of companies that attended our last career fair here:
    http://www.erau.edu/career/expo/07_exhibitors_daytona.html [Broken] Our graduates are highly sought after after, particularly in the field of aerospace. It's true that many of our students study flight and other aviation fields, that creates an environment that's valuable for engineers because you're exposed to the actual aircraft and flight performance in your every day studies and interactions with other students. So if you have a question about how something (an engine let's say) actually performs, or maintenance requirements, you can walk right across campus and talk to the faculty and students who actually work on them. Plus, it's nice to be among people who share your interests and passion.
    The campus is a residential one with about 4,800 students and we're located in Daytona Beach Florida about five minutes from the beach, we're close to Orlando and Kennedy Space Center.
    I looked at the studentreview site referenced above, and I wouldn't trust it. There are better ways to get the real deal (but that's just my opinon).
    Do all the research you can, talk to as many people as possible, visit the schools on your short list, ask to speak with current students, faculty and alumni, ask about employers and make the decision that's right for you. Lastly - you may want to look at some of our other programs as you decide. Engineering Physics is pretty specialized and it sounds like something that may appeal to you.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  9. Feb 28, 2008 #8
    Well, that's vague.

    The key point here is "where the highest degree is a master's," immediately excluding the high end of the data pool.

    Not large enough to have Ph.D. students...

    Anyone with NSF grants (which is basically any serious research institution, they are one of the very small set of government agencies responsible for dispensing funding) has to satisfy this criteria called "broader impact" when they're applying for money. The easiest way to check this off and improve your odds of getting grant money for your lab is called "undergraduate researchers." And the NSF has sessions at scientific conferences where they will openly tell people as much. So really, most places want undergrads, and the undergrads without research experience are the ones that didn't try hard enough to find it or to prepare themselves for it.

    Thanks, ABET!

    Wait, that goes for *any* ABET-accredited engineering program, then?
  10. Feb 28, 2008 #9
    Im sorry, but your school isnt worth the high priced tuition.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  11. Feb 28, 2008 #10
    I am in my first year at Riddle and I do believe the cost is high, but lots of people including me get university grants that knock the cost down a great deal. (I pay about 23thousand/year) . Believe it or not cost is not the most complained about problem here at the university, its the lack of girls. In almost all of my classes there are usually 0 - 4 girls tops.

    The comment made about ERAU being a school "mainly for aircraft handywork" is completely wrong. People come here for 1. aeronautical science (pilot) 2. aerospace engineering. 3. air traffic controlling. My advise of anyone who wants to go to ERAU would be to take the first year, maybe even the second, at a local community college then transfer because the 1st and 2nd years are definitely not worth the high tuition.
  12. Feb 28, 2008 #11
    I pay about $6000 a year, or I would if I didn't have enough aid that it ends up paying me instead...
  13. Feb 28, 2008 #12
    rotc scholarship i guess?
  14. Feb 28, 2008 #13


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    You pay 23 thousand dollars a year tuition? Wow!!!
  15. Feb 28, 2008 #14
    Unfortunately yes. I am hoping for an academic scholarship next semester to ease the cost.
  16. Feb 28, 2008 #15
    The cost is 30k+ /year, that's just outrageous. Do you really think a year's worth of education is really worth 30 grand? College in a way, is a business.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  17. Feb 28, 2008 #16
    Yes, that's what I'm concerned about! I saw the "best aerospace program" ranking, and if you read the fine print I just see it says "where the highest degree is a master's". Not to sound cocky, but I think I have a decent shot at getting into the higher-end universities. ERAU's skewed ratings and high acceptance rates (85%~? What the...) doesn't seem to support that it's a very "good" (or lack of a better word) university.

    Also, in addition at my search for colleges, I have another question...
    There are so many different sub categories of Aerospace Engineering. Does one specify in say mostly propulsion, or would you learn everything so your employer could move you around in any type of Aerospace related job?
  18. Apr 2, 2008 #17
    I know, I know I'm bumping an old thread, but don't have a full answer yet... This is with I have so far:
    The most important on top:

    Cal Tech
    UC's (Davis, Berkeley)
    ERAU (as a backup?)
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2008
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook