Is an Aerospace Engineering Degree Worth It?

Aerospace engineering is a field that encompasses everything related to aircraft and spacecraft, including aeronautical engineering (aircraft) and astronautical engineering (spacecraft). In this article, we will explore whether pursuing a degree in aerospace engineering is worth it.

Earning Potential

One of the key factors to consider when evaluating the value of a degree is the potential for earnings. With an aerospace engineering degree, you can expect to make around $70,000 per year starting out, and around $119,000 in mid-career pay. Compared to other degrees, this is on the higher end of the spectrum.

Even with an associate’s degree in aerospace engineering, you can become an aerospace engineering technician and still earn around $66,000, which is well above the national average. If you decide to pursue a different engineering career, such as electronic engineering, the earning potential is still high, with an average salary of $101,000 per year.

Career Path Flexibility

One advantage of an engineering degree is the flexibility it provides in terms of career options. While aerospace engineering may be your initial focus, your skills and knowledge are highly valued in other fields as well. Many hiring managers and business owners appreciate the problem-solving abilities and work ethic that engineering graduates bring to the table.

For example, you could transition into electronic engineering or explore various career paths within the engineering field. Some common career paths include mechanical engineering, civil engineering, and chemical engineering. Regardless of the specific engineering path you choose, statistics show that over a lifetime, engineering graduates tend to earn more on average than individuals with other types of degrees.

Job Satisfaction and Meaning

When it comes to job satisfaction and meaning, the experience can vary from person to person. Individuals who are passionate about aviation and aerospace may find great satisfaction in an aerospace engineering career. It is essential to consider how much you enjoy the work you will be doing and how positively you believe it impacts the world.

According to surveys, aerospace engineering graduates tend to rate their job satisfaction and meaning as average or slightly above average. This field appeals to those with a deep interest in aircraft and flying. If you have a genuine love for aviation, becoming an aerospace engineer may be a fulfilling career choice for you.

Regret and Future Opportunities

Engineering degrees, including aerospace engineering, are among the least regretted college majors. Only around 15% of individuals with engineering degrees express regrets about their career choice. This may be due to the high demand for engineering skills and the potential for future opportunities.

It is worth noting that engineering degrees are highly respected across industries, and individuals with engineering backgrounds are often sought after by employers, even in unrelated fields. The skills and problem-solving abilities gained during an engineering degree program are highly transferable and can open doors to various career paths.

However, if you are aiming for higher-level positions or specialized roles, further education, such as a master’s or doctoral degree, may be necessary. For instance, if you aspire to be a rocket scientist and work for NASA, a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering may not suffice. However, the overall level of regret for engineering degrees remains low.

Demand and Automation

The demand for aerospace engineers is relatively stable, with around 66,000 jobs currently available. Over the next 10 years, it is expected that only 1,900 new jobs will be created in this field, indicating average growth. While demand may not be exceptionally high, aerospace engineers are still highly valued in the job market due to their specialized skill set.

When it comes to automation and outsourcing, the likelihood of aerospace engineering being automated is relatively low, with a score of 1.7 out of 100. The nature of the work, which often involves complex problem-solving and hands-on tasks, makes it difficult to automate. Due to the collaborative nature of engineering projects, outsourcing is also less likely.

Long-Term Financial Outlook

One of the standout advantages of an aerospace engineering degree is the long-term financial outlook. On average, individuals with engineering degrees earn significantly more over their lifetime compared to other types of degrees. While the exact reasons for this are not clear, the problem-solving skills and work ethic developed during an engineering degree seem to translate well into various careers.

Engineering graduates tend to have higher earning potential across different career paths. Whether you work in the computer and math field, management, or even arts and media, earning above-average salaries is possible. Engineering degrees have consistently been shown to provide individuals with the potential to accumulate wealth, making them the most likely degrees to create millionaires.


In conclusion, pursuing a degree in aerospace engineering can lead to a rewarding career with excellent earning potential and job opportunities. The high salary, potential for financial success, and relatively low level of regret make this degree option highly valuable. However, it is essential to consider your personal interests and passions before committing to this field. Doing thorough research and seeking advice from professionals in the industry can help you make an informed decision about whether an aerospace engineering degree is worth it for you.

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