Aerospace engineering is an increasingly popular discipline, involving both aeronautics and astronautics.
If you are an electrical engineer, you may wonder if it’s possible to go into aerospace easily.
Fortunately, as aerospace development requires different engineers, there is plenty of room for you and your expertise.
Read more to find how you can become an aerospace engineer and what it entails below.
Electrical engineers can go into aerospace, as their knowledge and skill is applicable.
Aerospace engineers design and build aircraft, spacecraft, weapons such as missiles, and satellites.
Since these systems require electrical circuits and systems, electrical engineers can assist in both their design and builds.
Electrical engineers can also carry out tests, diagnose and repair, and optimize systems.
If an electrical engineer wishes to go into aerospace, they may need to take specialized courses to learn how to apply their knowledge specifically to the domain.
To learn more about the majors, read our comparison of electrical and aerospace engineering.
Did you know that mechanical engineers can transition into aerospace, too? Read our guide to find out more.
Aerospace engineering is one of the most difficult engineering paths.
It requires extensive knowledge, heavy analysis, and precise technical skills.
In school, you need to take chemistry, physics, algebra, trigonometry, calculus, general engineering, mechanics, and aerodynamics.
Despite its difficulty, aerospace engineering is a rewarding program.
With a bachelor’s degree, you can take home an average pay of $122,270.
Additionally, experts predict job opportunities in the field to grow 8% before 2030.
Electrical engineers can work on airplanes to design, build, maintain and repair electrical systems in airplanes.
These systems determine communications, navigation, control, amongst other important elements of aircraft and flight.
Most electrical engineers who work on planes are avionics engineers.
However, you can also be an aircraft instrumentation engineer, electrical systems designed, avionics system designer, or avionics systems engineer.
NASA hires different engineers, including electrical engineers, to design and work on rockets, spacecraft, airplanes, and robots.
To work at NASA, you need to display significant academic skill, expertise, or experience within your engineering field.
Although it can be difficult to make the cut, working at NASA is prestigious.
Typically, NASA electrical engineers make above $100,000 per year.
Likewise, they offer numerous benefits to their employees including career stability and career advancement opportunities.
SpaceX is an aerospace manufacturer, committed to building state-of-the-art space transportation with rockets and spacecraft and developing strong global broadband networks.
Similar to other aerospace companies, electrical engineers design and construct electrical systems.
Much like NASA, you need to showcase superior skills and knowledge within the electrical engineering field to work at SpaceX.
If you have the opportunity to work at SpaceX, you may enjoy an average salary of $98,000 per year, health benefits, and equity packages.
In the aerospace industry, there are many positions for electrical engineers. The most popular electrical engineering specializations include:
- General electrical engineers
- Electronic parts engineers
- Electronic boards engineers
- Computer engineers
- Software engineers
- Microelectronics engineers
- Robotics engineers
- Telecommunications engineers
- Signal processing engineers
- Microwave electronics engineers
- System safety engineers
- Electrical power launch engineers
- Electrical test engineers
- Electrical design engineers
- Electrical embedded hardware engineers
- Supply chain engineers
- Automation and control engineers
Mechanical engineering is a broad discipline, as it focuses on designing and building machines.
Aerospace engineers dedicate themselves to designing and building aircraft and spacecraft.
Therefore, aerospace engineering is a mainly specialization of mechanical engineering.
That said, it does include a general knowledge of electrical engineering since electrical circuits and systems are a large portion of machines.
If electrical engineers wish to be in the aerospace industry, they have two choices: undergraduate focus on aerospace engineering, or aerospace engineering as a higher degree.
Most Masters of Aerospace Engineering programs require an undergraduate degree, with a high GPA, in an engineering program.
Depending on which academic institutions you are applying to, you may need to complete a few courses in undergraduate aerospace engineering prior to official admission.
Some universities offer a blended concentration option of aerospace and electronic engineering.
It is specifically for undergraduate students who wish to pursue electrical engineering in aircraft systems (avionics).
You can gain knowledge applicable to the aerospace domain without taking supplementary aerospace engineering courses.
Anyone can be a pilot, as long as they take the necessary pilot training and instruction.
Electrical engineers, especially those with specializations in the aerospace domain, may find aviation courses easier to understand.
In particular, you may find classes on aerodynamics and aircraft systems effortless as you covered these courses in depth during your aerospace engineering degree.
If you decide to become an aerospace engineer, your education and career path are straightforward.
You need to accomplish an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering with an aerospace engineering focus, or electrical engineering with an aerospace engineering focus.
Typically, these programs are four to five years long.
After you graduate, you can apply for any entry-level engineering position.
If you wish to work for a prestigious company or organization, you may need to acquire a Professional Engineer license.
On top of your 4-5 year program, you must also work under a professional engineer for at least four years, and pass two exams (the Fundamentals of Engineering exam and the Professional Engineering exam) provided by your state Licensing Board.
Likewise, during the remainder of your career, you must maintain and improve your skills to retain your license.
Once you obtain your position in the aerospace industry, you may have the chance to advance in your career and earn higher salaries.
Whether you pursue aerospace engineering on its own, or specialize in aerospace engineering alongside or after electrical engineering, a rewarding career awaits.
There are plenty of job opportunities, projected to only grow more in the next decade.
Moreover, there is a high earning potential even in entry-level positions.