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Mechanical Engineering or Aerospace Engineering?

  1. Jun 26, 2011 #1
    Hi,
    I'm going to be a junior in High School next year and I am trying to decide what I want to be. I think i narrowed it down to Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering. What would be easier to find a job with? Are they both relatively easy, or hard? I heard that if you have a degree in Aerospace, you can work in mechanical and vice versa. What are the pros and cons of each?
    Thanks!!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 28, 2011 #2
    Mechanical Engineering is the most general type of engineering, whereas aerospace is quite the opposite really, since it's quite limited to the aerospace industry. Mechanical engineering jobs could be anything from designing a kettle to a car, working in the nuclear industry or manufacturing... Having said that you're quite right that if you have a degree in one, in some cases you can get a job in the other field. However as far as I know there are more jobs out there for mechanical engineers. It does depend on how far you want to go with your degree as well. I mean if you want to continue to a PhD level and get into research or if you want to do a BSc or MSc. I hope that gives you a general idea. Feel free to ask more questions.
     
  4. Jun 28, 2011 #3
    Thanks! Which one is more stable?
     
  5. Jun 29, 2011 #4
    What do you mean by stable?
    If you mean in terms of you being able to find jobs, it still depends on the economy at the time you graduate. For instance maybe in 10 years time the Oil industry( which is again another area mechanical engineers can work in) would not be doing so well and maybe the renewable energy industry will be more popular ....
    It also depends on how specialized you want to become, etc.
    Also make sure that you also enjoy the subject a little bit especially if you want to go as far as doing a PhD which will take years. you could always do a BSc in a field and then do you masters in a different (but similar) field, etc.
     
  6. Jun 29, 2011 #5
    I have been reading about Mechanical Engineering and it interests me a lot. By stable I mean you have a job for a long time and you aren't only hired for a contract and then laid off. I want to be able to support a family.
     
  7. Jun 29, 2011 #6
    Oh yeah, as far as I know most definitely you will most probably go into full time employment in any engineering field as oppose to contract jobs.

    I think some universities give you an option to change from a mechanical to an aerospace engineering course (or vice versa) after the first year if that's what you are worried about. It's something worth checking out ..
     
  8. Jun 29, 2011 #7
    Thanks! You've been a big help. I think I'm going to go into Mechanical
     
  9. Jun 30, 2011 #8
    Mechanical engineering is a great field of study. I myself have a degree in ME, but I work in the aerospace field. A relative of mine works in the oil industry and he has a degree in mechanical as well. Old classmates of mine that graduated in ME currently work in more computer science-related fields (CAx tools). Having an ME degree tells employers that you are versatile.

    Aeronautical engineers, from what I've been told, have a very similar course of study to mechanical engineers. The difference comes in the last few semesters of study, where they take more classes in aircraft structures, composites, aerodynamics, advanced thermodynamics and heat transfer, stress analysis, and advanced fluids. It's all basically classes that deal with phenomena specific to aircraft and there's enough classes that differ from the ME degree to warrant a different title. Aeronautical engineers usually work for aerospace companies, but it doesn't mean that they can't do other ME work. I would imagine that the AE degree gives you an advantage on your resume if you're applying for work an aerospace company, but it might not be that advantageous if you were applying, let's say, in the energy field.

    About the stability of jobs, I agree with hoomanya. I know that during the "Great Recession" the aerospace industry tanked. However, from what I've been told, it's been a great industry to work in when the economy was booming. Like most jobs, it depends on the economy. However, I do believe that engineering professions in general are inherently more stable than most other kinds of jobs. About specialization, you might consider doing a degree in mechanical and then, if you find out what you want to specialize in, do a graduate degree in that field. You could do ME first, then get a masters in AE. You could even do a masters in a (mostly) unrelated field. I've seen MEs that graduated and really loved computer science, so they got a masters in CS. They took a couple years longer than other CS grad students because they lacked the undergrad basics, but it's not impossible. Some schools allow you to get two masters degrees simultaneously. An ME prof I know got two masters, one in EE and the other in ME (he works doing MEMS, so both have helped him). You've definitely got options, so don't be afraid to choose something.
     
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