10 Best Online Aerospace Engineering Degrees [2020 Bachelor’s Guide]

This is a fascinating time to break into the field of aerospace engineering. With the recent successes of SpaceX and the creation of Space Force, the field of aerospace engineering seems to have unlimited potential for exploration and innovation in the near future.

Aerospace Engineering Degrees

The need for continual advancements in aircraft such as planes and helicopters also provides potentially lucrative opportunities for the right people. If you’re interested in contributing to any of those efforts, an online aerospace engineering degree might be right for you.

Best Online Aerospace Engineering Degrees

Aerospace Engineer checking the airplane for maintenance

Aerospace engineers design, analyze, research, and improve both aircraft and spacecraft. In some cases they also work on airborne weaponry. Within the field of aerospace engineering are two broad specializations. Aeronautical engineers work on aircraft. Astronautical engineers work on spacecraft.

The field further breaks down into even finer levels of specialization. Some engineers focus on aerodynamics, acoustics, propulsion, celestial mechanics, thermodynamics, or one of many other possibilities.

The studies for your aerospace engineering online degree will include physics, chemistry, calculus, and the basic fundamentals of engineering principals. In an aerospace engineering program, you’ll typically share some classes with an electrical engineering online degree program.

Coursework will also include studies of stuff specific to aerospace engineering. In this camp are things such as aerodynamics and propulsion. Undergraduate engineering degrees have long been considered the best of all undergrad degrees for quick job placement after graduation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that demand for Aerospace Engineering jobs will increase by about 3%. That number is at the low end of the average range for all careers, but it doesn’t tell the full story.

Engineering degree programs are rigorous. The math alone is prohibitive for a good deal of potential students. So, even if the job demand isn’t on the high end, you’ll probably also be competing amongst a much smaller pool of applicants.

Earning an aerospace engineering degree online isn’t easy for most people. This is also why it’s potentially so valuable.

Aerospace engineering degrees may also quality you for work in other engineering disciplines. Electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and civil engineering are just a few possibilities.

A bachelors in aerospace engineering can also qualify you to work as a flight engineer. This is a job many people don’t know exists. In the cockpits of aircrafts both military and civilian are people doing the piloting and people monitoring the instrumentation.

People in the latter group are called flight engineers. While a degree in aerospace engineering isn’t required to be a flight engineer, it’s ideal for the profession and is likely to give you competitive edge over applicants without that background.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects this field to grow at 5% over the next ten years or so, 2% faster than the average for aerospace engineering degrees.

Aerospace Engineering Careers & Salaries

Aerospace Engineering Careers & Salaries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in aerospace engineering will grow about three percent from 2019 to 2029, which is about average for all jobs.

If you’re looking at getting this degree you probably have dreams of working in the aerospace industry, but it’s useful to remember that you’re not necessarily pigeonholing yourself or limiting your prospects.

Aerospace engineering degrees earn a lot of prestige and teach skills that can be applied to a wide range of engineering careers.

You may find yourself designing spacecraft, researching aerodynamics, or building new weapons systems for the Air Force. Or, you might yourself doing something only loosely related to those fields, like software engineering or civil engineering.

You may even end up in the cockpit of an airplane as a flight engineer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects this particular field to grow at 5%.

Careers Average Annual Salary
Engineering Manager Aerospace Engineer $144,830
Flight Engineer $121,430
Aerospace Engineer $116,500
Software Engineer $107,510
Materials Engineer $93,360
Mechanical Engineer $88,430
Industrial Engineer $88,020
Civil Engineer $87,060
Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians $64,310
Air Force Officer $62,000

An online aerospace engineering bachelor’s degree offers similar prestigious and rewarding careers similar to that of an online chemical engineering bachelor’s degree.

Choosing an Online Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering Degree

Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering Degree student studying online at home

There are many variables to consider while selecting an online aeronautical engineering degree.

Some of those variables are universal to everyone and some of them are specific to you and your circumstances.

  • The most obvious variable is cost. Pricier isn’t always better. Particularly with a degree as difficult to earn as aerospace engineering, a fancy university name may not be worth its price.
  • Ensure that your prospective university is regionally accredited. National accreditation may sound more auspicious, but regional accreditation is actually the gold standard.
  • Check to see if the program has any particular specializations that interest you. The backgrounds of the faculty also may come into play.
  • If you know right now that you’d like to aim for a particular specialization, then having a faculty member who happens to have a long history in that area of study may be useful. It could help not only in your education but in networking for opportunities in that particular niche.

These are just some of the considerations to keep in mind while choosing your program.

Aerospace Engineering Curriculum & Courses

Aerospace Engineer giving instructions to Engine mechanic

Aerospace engineering studies include advanced mathematics, engineering basics, aerodynamics, and chemistry.

  • Aerodynamics: The bread and butter of aerospace engineering, aerodynamics is the study of the dynamics of air and solid bodies moving through air—basically, airplanes, helicopters, and spacecraft.
  • Electric Engineering: Even though electrical engineering is a degree field in itself, the basics are needed in the study of aerospace engineering as well. Aircrafts use electricity, after all.
  • Propulsion: This is the study of pushing or pulling objects through space. Propulsion systems are made up of mechanical power and a means for converting that power into force capable of moving an object.
  • Numerical Analysis: This is the study of algorithms and their application to mathematical analysis.
  • Statics: Statics is the branch of mechanics concerned with immobile bodies and bodies in a state of equilibrium.
  • Calculus: Calculus is the mathematical study of change. Different programs may have different requirements, but undergraduate engineering degrees typically bring you up to calculus III.
  • Chemistry: Chemistry is the study of the fundamental makeup of matter.
  • Technical Writing: Part of an engineer’s job is to communicate his or her findings and designs. Courses in technical writing prepare you to do so effectively.
  • Computer Science: Computers are integral to aerospace engineering both in terms of design and usage.
  • Aerospace Design: The field of Aerospace Design involves creating airplanes or spacecraft along with developing new techniques and materials for flight.

If you find yourself intrigued by the idea of studying these subjects, then a degree in aerospace engineering may indeed be for you.

Admissions Requirements

Aerospace Engineering Degree student studying at a cafe

No matter the school, undergraduate admissions typically revolve around a few of the same qualifications. Over recent years, those qualifications have become increasingly elastic.

Many schools now offer alternative methods you can use to fill in certain requirements. Even if you can’t fulfill any given requirement at first glance, remember to look deeper for possible options.

  • Application (and fee): All schools will have some kind of standard application form. They also usually charge a fee for applying. The fee generally isn’t prohibitively high, but that will depend in part on the school in question and in part on your circumstances.
  • High school transcripts: Your prospective college will want to see your high school transcripts. A GED may also suffice.
  • Standardized test scores: This is an increasingly loose requirement, but grades from a Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or an American College Testing (ACT) test are still often required.

Don’t give up if you can’t fulfill any of these requirements. Contact an admission counselor and ask for potential workarounds.

Accreditation

Aerospace Engineering Degrees Accreditation

Accreditation simply means that a school has passed an external body’s review process of educational quality. It’s intended to separate legitimate institutions from “diploma mills” that issue meaningless credentials and rob students of their time and money.

Regional accreditation is the very first credential experts look at to determine a school’s quality. National accreditation isn’t meaningless, but it’s simply not perceived as being on the same level as regional accreditation.

A further level of accreditation exists with ABET accreditation. ABET verifies the quality of specific school programs rather than the schools in their entirety.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

financial aid for aerospace engineering degree students

There are many ways to fund your undergraduate education.

  • The first and most popular is federal student aid. To get started with it, fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Remember that these loans have to be repaid and generally repaid with interest.
  • Scholarships are given based on either merit or personal circumstances. Merit scholarships include things such as good grades, athletics, and creative achievements. Scholarships awarded based on personal circumstances cover things such as sex, racial background, and religious orientation. Scholarships don’t have to be repaid.
  • Grants also don’t have to be repaid. They can come from state or federal governments, your school, private organizations, or nonprofits. Cast a wide net and check out all possible sources.
  • Federal Work-Study can provide you with a part-time job, usually somehow related to your field of study, so you can pay your expenses while attending school.

You can also contact your school of interest to find out about any financial aid opportunities they offer.

What Can You Do With an Aerospace Engineering Degree?

Aerospace Engineer checking the engine of an airplane

An aerospace engineering degree can get you a job designing spacecraft, building aerial weapons systems, testing aircraft, or helping pilot planes as a flight engineer. With the recent creation of Space Force, there are bound to be future aerospace jobs that no one’s even dreamed of yet.

The degree may also qualify you for other engineering fields such civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and industrial engineering. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average pay for aerospace engineering degree holders as being $116,500.

How Much Does an Online Bachelor’s in Aerospace Engineering Cost?

Total tuition cost for an online bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering ranges from around $10,000 to around $55,000. Credit-hour costs can be as low as nearly $200 to over $700 per credit hour.

You may be able to lower your costs by taking some community college courses and transferring to a bachelor’s program. Most associate’s programs today have a streamlined path intended for such a transfer.

How Long Does it Take to Get an Online Bachelors in Aerospace Engineering?

Bachelor’s in Aerospace Engineering student studying online in a cafe

Bachelor’s degree programs generally take 4 years, assuming you attend full-time and don’t take extra courses on top of what’s required.

Careful course planning is especially important with technical degrees such as aerospace engineering. Each course builds upon specific perquisites that can’t be leapfrogged. If you want to take Calculus II, you first have to compete Calculus I; Aerodynamics II requires the foundational knowledge of Aerodynamics I; etc.

If you go to school full-time in the traditional 16-week semester system and plan your courses to maximum efficiency, you will complete your degree in four years. Doing an 8-week semester system full time may get you to graduation faster.

Which Degree is Best for Aerospace Engineering?

The best degree for aerospace engineering is, well, aerospace engineering. Still, it’s not infeasible that you can break into the field with a degree in some other type of engineering.

Engineering and the hard sciences don’t generally have as much flexibility in educational requirements as other career fields do. It’s going to be nearly impossible to work as an aerospace engineer without a degree in some kind of engineering.

Can You Get an Aerospace Engineering Degree Online?

Aerospace Engineering Degree student studying on her laptop

Yes. There are a number of online bachelor’s degree programs in aerospace engineering, and the field is continually expanding.

With recent cultural shifts and circumstances (such as the COVID-19 pandemic), online education is growing daily both in terms of availability and quality.

What Degree Do You Need to Be an Aerospace Engineer?

Any kind of engineering degree may get you into a job as an aerospace engineer, but to maximize your chances you really want to aim for a degree specifically in aerospace engineering.

The technical knowledge required for the field is too complicated to be acquired in many ways besides getting a degree in an ABET-accredited aerospace engineering program.

Is a Degree in Aerospace Engineering Worth it?

Aerospace Engineers working on an aircraft

Yes, a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering is worth it. With an average salary of $116,500 (Bureau of Labor Statistics), it provides potential for some of the strongest earnings and job opportunities out there.

Engineering degrees in general have long been thought of as the most bankable of all degrees. Right now is a particularly interesting time to break into aerospace engineering. With the creation of SpaceX and Space Force, it may be the cutting-edge career field of the near future.

Universities Offering Bachelor’s in Aerospace Degree Programs

Each of the universities included below are regionally accredited and offer aerospace bachelors degree online.

#1  Eastern New Mexico University

Eastern New Mexico University campus

Eastern New Mexico University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#2  Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University campus

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#3  Everglades University

Everglades University campus

Everglades University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#4  Florida Tech

Florida Tech campus

Florida Tech is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#5  LeTourneau University

LeTourneau University campus

LeTourneau University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#6  Liberty University

Liberty University campus

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#7  University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh campus

The University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#8  Utah Valley University

utah valley university campus

Utah Valley University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

#9  Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology

Vaughn College Aeronautics and Technology campus

Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#10  Wilmington University

Wilmington University campus

Wilmington University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Getting Your Aerospace Engineering Degree Online

Aerospace Engineering Degree student studying at a cafe

Aerospace engineering isn’t the type of degree people generally stumble into accidentally. If you’re reading this page, you’ve probably long dreamt of building spaceships, designing airplanes, or contributing to some other exciting project in the field of aerospace engineering.

This is something bigger than just a piece of paper or even a career. It’s a calling coming from deep down inside of you.

Investing your time and money into getting an online degree can be intimidating. Just remember that choosing to not get the degree also comes with its own costs, both emotional and financial.

If someone you loved was thinking about taking a chance on a big goal, what would you tell them? The answer you’d give them is probably the answer you should be giving yourself right now.

Jeff Suwak
WRITTEN BY
Jeff Suwak
Jeff's writing focuses on higher education programs and trends. He has a Bachelor's in English, as well as multiple certifications from the University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, and the University of California. Jeff's background is in technical communication, science writing, and music journalism.