Skip to content

Can A Mechanical Engineer Become An Aerospace Engineer?

Mechanical engineering is a broad engineering program, offering many different specializations or concentrations.

Aerospace engineering falls under the mechanical engineering umbrella.

Accordingly, you may wonder if it is easy to become an aerospace engineer after completing mechanical engineering.

In this guide, you will learn if it is possible and how you can accomplish it.

Can A Mechanical Engineer Become An Aerospace Engineer?

A mechanical engineer can become an aerospace engineer.

Mechanical engineers design and build mechanical systems and machines.

Typically, they think about a problem or concern that people have and develop effective solutions through machines.

Aerospace engineers perform the same tasks, however, they concentrate on airplanes, spacecraft, missiles, and satellites.

Since this is the case, mechanical engineers already have the solid foundation necessary to pursue aerospace engineering.

They may only need to take a few courses to understand supplementary, specific details or an extra, higher academic program to gain more job opportunities.

In addition to aerospace, mechanical engineers have many opportunities to work in closely-related fields, including petroleum engineering.

How Can A Mechanical Engineer Get Into The Aerospace Industry?

There are different ways a mechanical engineer can get a job in the aerospace industry.

If you already have a mechanical engineering degree, you can either pursue an additional aerospace engineering certificate or you can apply for a master’s degree in aerospace engineering.

With the latter, you may open up more job positions and higher salaries as you will have a higher level of expertise.

Furthermore, you may catch the eye of prestigious aerospace companies such as NASA, SpaceX, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, and Boeing.

That said, obtaining further education is only one of the ways you can get into the aerospace industry.

Most aerospace companies employ mechanical engineers, as well as aerospace engineers.

There are also many opportunities in the tech industry for mechanical engineers. Learn about them in our guide.

Is Mechanical Engineering Related To Aerospace?

Mechanical engineering relates to aerospace engineering since they both work in the design and development of machines.

However, they have different focuses.

A mechanical engineer has a broad set of knowledge concerning power-producing machines.

An aerospace engineer focuses on the flight, navigation, and testing of airplanes, spacecraft, and missiles.

In either occupation, they may create new designs, update existing ones, identify areas for optimization, inspect and repair, analyze data, and solve problems with design and development.

Learn more: Do Mechanical Engineers Study Quantum Mechanics?

Can A Mechanical Engineer Do Masters In Aerospace Engineering?

It may be worthwhile for a mechanical engineer to do a master’s in aerospace engineering if you wish to pursue an aerospace engineering job.

A graduate degree in an aerospace engineering program will open the doors for advanced job positions, leadership positions, and higher salaries.

Furthermore, a master’s may allow you to focus on a particular aspect or aspects of aerospace.

In this way, you can gain in-depth knowledge and understanding in an area you are passionate about.

Your background in mechanical engineering will assist you in your master’s, as you will have expertise in subjects apart from airplanes or spacecraft.

You may be able to use this knowledge to design multi-purpose systems such as cabin design, or equipment that moves aircraft or spacecraft safely.

Aerospace is a vast field with many opportunities for various engineers. Electrical engineers can enter aerospace, too.

Do Mechanical Engineers Build Planes?

Mechanical engineers can work on airplanes.

They may work on the design, development, testing, or repairing of the systems of the airplane.

Yet, they may focus on engines, propellers, sensors, and navigation systems.

If you are a mechanical engineer who is passionate about planes, you may consider doing a certification or higher degree in aerospace engineering or aeronautical engineering.

Interested in alternative career paths for mechanical engineers? See how mechanical engineers get started in renewable energy.

Can Mechanical Engineers Work For NASA?

NASA, a prominent organization in the aerospace industry, hires many engineers to work on important projects.

A mechanical engineer is one of the most important roles on their teams.

They design, develop, and build spacecraft, machines for space exploration, and Space Station equipment and machines.

They also design and build machines used to move other equipment safely and efficiently.

If you wish for NASA to hire you as a mechanical engineer, it is advantageous to have a master’s degree or a Ph.D.

However, they can and do hire undergraduates with extraordinary skills or knowledge.

Your coursework or focus should angle towards the aerospace industry if possible.

You can also apply for one of their internship programs, which may increase your chances of getting hired after completion.

Is Mechanical Better Than Aerospace?

Mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering are both exceptional academic programs and career choices.

In terms of academia, both programs are equally difficult, requiring math, physics, statistics, thermodynamics, the behavior of materials, and computer systems.

In aerospace engineering, you will also take more concentrated courses on aspects of flight, air dynamics, and gravity.

As a graduate of mechanical engineering, you have access to a larger pool of jobs, but the average pay is much lower than in aerospace engineering.

In aerospace engineering, you can earn an average of $122,270 per year and as a mechanical engineer, you may make $95,300 per year.

What Can Mechanical Engineers Do In The Aerospace Industry?

There are many job positions for mechanical engineers in the aerospace industry.

If you complete further certifications or qualifications, you can become:

  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Mechanical Designer
  • Robotics Technician
  • Automation Technician
  • Systems Engineer
  • Non-Destructive Testing Engineer
  • Mechanical Meteorologist
  • Airplane and Spacecraft Cabin Design Integration Engineer
  • Stress Integration Engineer
  • Aircraft or Spacecraft Performance Engineer
  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Satellite Engineer
  • Missile Engineer
  • Operations Support Engineer
  • Mechanical Source Inspector

Should You Choose Aerospace Or Mechanical Engineering?

If you have trouble deciding between mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering, professionals advise you to take an introductory course in both programs.

This way, you can get a proper feel for each career path and what it will entail.

A safe route is to take mechanical engineering as an undergraduate degree and pursue aerospace engineering later, if you so wish.

A mechanical engineering degree paves the way for many opportunities, even within the aerospace industry itself.

Final Thoughts

Whether you wish to take mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering, or follow mechanical engineering and work in the aerospace industry, you will have plenty of opportunities.

The aerospace industry is a growing sector, indicating there will be many exceptional projects shortly.