Choosing the right aerospace engineering program can greatly affect your long-term career goals.

Specialty engineering programs often can lead to some of the most lucrative careers, such as designing, testing and manufacturing a variety of aircraft. Choosing the right undergraduate and graduate program can make a significant difference in the trajectory of your career. Consider several different factors when deciding on a program in aerospace engineering and watch your future take off!


If you're entering college as an undergraduate, it's important to choose a well-respected program that can prepare you for a career as well as graduate school. Regardless of your preferred location, top-notch schools from coast to coast offer strong programs. According to U.S. News and World Report, for example, the top five schools for undergraduates in aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical engineering include the California Institute of Technology, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and Georgia Institute of Technology. Additionally, all of these schools offer doctorate-level degrees for those anticipating an academic career beyond a bachelor's degree.


It may come as no surprise that the top undergraduate schools in this engineering specialty are also, for the most part, the top graduate schools. In addition to those mentioned, Stanford, Purdue, University of Illinois, University of Texas, Princeton and Texas A&M University round out the top 10 graduate schools in this discipline, according to U.S. News and World Report. It's also important to consider the size of graduate programs. The top 10 schools range from relatively small, with California Institute of Technology and Purdue both enrolling fewer than 600 students, to quite large, with Georgia Institute of Technology boasting more than 4,000 students.

Economical Options

When considering a highly ranked collegiate program, cost is always an important consideration. Public universities can be considerably less expensive than their private counterparts, especially if you are a resident of the state where the school is located. Four of the top 10 undergraduate institutions -- all of which are state schools -- are roughly $10,000 per year. Georgia Institute of Technology, Purdue and University of Texas, for example, all hover around this price point. Private schools, on the other hand, can be considerably more expense, with Stanford and Massachusetts Institute of Technology both boasting price tags in excess of $40,000 per year.

Other Considerations

With the technology of education ever increasing, it's no surprise that conventional brick and mortar schools are starting to offer convenient options for today's busiest students to pursue an education, even in a complex field such as aerospace engineering. The University of Washington, for example, offers evening and online degrees that are instructed by their full-time faculty. Employing cutting edge technology, working students and professionals can further their education with a minimum amount of limitations.