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Aeronautical engineer: Entry requirements

The most common route into this field is through studying a degree in aeronautical/aerospace engineering. However, employers may be open to other relevant degrees such as:

  • mechanical engineering;
  • physics/applied physics;
  • production/manufacturing engineering;
  • space-related courses;
  • electrical and electronic engineering;
  • computer science/software engineering;
  • mathematics.

Information on relevant degrees and the universities offering them can be found at the Association of Aerospace Universities .

Many large aerospace companies offer graduate training schemes in the engineering field and entry with an HND only will not be possible for these programmes. However, it may be possible to enter at a technician level or through an apprenticeship in a lower level manufacturing role. Progression to an aeronautical engineer can only be made with further qualifications.

In order to register as an incorporated engineer (IEng) you must have an accredited degree or have equivalent educational experience. To become a chartered engineer (CEng) you must also have an accredited Masters degree (or appropriate further learning to a Masters level). A search facility for accredited courses is available at the Engineering Council . A Masters in aeronautical/aerospace engineering can also be particularly useful if your first degree is in a different subject. Postgraduate study may also allow you to specialise in a certain area of aeronautical engineering.

Pre-entry experience is advisable. Gaining work experience helps you learn key skills, develop knowledge and learn about potential employers. Many aeronautical engineering degree courses include sandwich placements but you can also get experience through vacation work. Employers value industrial placements as an opportunity to identify potential graduate recruits.

Candidates need to show evidence of the following:

  • strong technical knowledge;
  • ability to think creatively and be innovative;
  • problem-solving and analytical skills;
  • meticulous attention to detail;
  • a level of commercial awareness;
  • strong communication and teamworking skills;
  • ability to work to deadlines with self-motivation;
  • organisational skills;
  • time management skills;
  • ability to cope with new demands and new problems to be solved;
  • a love of aviation, aircraft and flight technology.

Language skills may be useful because of joint ventures with international companies and the possibility of opportunities to travel to company sites outside the UK. Security clearance is required for defence work. Due to the technical nature of this job, employers may stipulate that you have normal colour vision.

For more information, see work experience and internships and search courses and research.

Written by AGCAS editors
May 2012

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