How to Choose an Aerospace Technology School

Programs with aerospace technology specialize in the science, engineering and maintenance of airplanes and spacecraft. At the associate degree level, aerospace technology programs are designed to train prospective technicians, while bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in aerospace engineering and aeronautical engineering technology prepare future designers and engineers.

Aerospace, aviation or aeronautical technology programs are available at 2-year and 4-year schools around the country. These professional, science-based degree programs prepare students for careers as technicians, mechanics and engineers in the aerospace and aircraft industry.

Top 10 Aerospace Technology Schools

The schools listed below are some of the best schools for aerospace, aviation or aeronautical training:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition
(2015-2016)*
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's $46,704
Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $12,204 (residents), $32,396 (non-residents)
University of Michigan--Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $13,856 (residents), $43,476 (nonresidents)
Purdue University--Main Campus West Lafayette, IN 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $10,002 (residents), $28,804 (nonresidents)
California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $45,390
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $46,320
Princeton University Princeton, NJ 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $43,450
University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $15,054 (residents), $30,214 (nonresidents)
University of Maryland--College Park College Park, MD 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Graduate Certificate $9,996 (residents), $31,144 (nonresidents)
University of Colorado--Boulder Boulder, CO 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $11,091 (residents), $34,125 (nonresidents)
University of Texas--Austin Austin, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's Doctoral $9,806 (residents), $34,676

Sources: *NCES College Navigator

School Selection Criteria

Since many universities and colleges focus on all aspects of aerospace engineering, students need to keep in mind their interest in aerospace, aviation or aeronautical technology, along with the following factors when choosing a program.

  • Students interested in becoming licensed professional aerospace engineers should select a program approved by ABET, which ensures industry and career standards in academic programs.
  • Students might consider schools that offer internships or other opportunities for hands-on training, such as lab or simulation courses.
  • Prospective students interested in avionics manufacturing or maintenance might enroll in courses that prepare them for the Federal Aviation Administration mechanic certification exams required for aircraft mechanics.
  • Students interested in space technology or design should find a program that has a close relationship with a company that designs or develops vehicles for space.

Associate Degree in Aerospace Technology

2-year associate's degrees are designed for those seeking entry-level employment as aerospace technicians, which programs provide instruction in the fundamentals of aerospace technology.

Bachelor's Degree in Aerospace, Aviation or Aeronautical Technology

Baccalaureate degree programs in aerospace engineering or engineering technology train prospective engineers and engineering technologists over four years of study. Students may need to complete a research project during their senior year. Bachelor's degree programs in aeronautical engineering technology may place more focus on aviation transport and domestic aircraft.

Master's Degree & PhD in Aerospace, Aviation or Aeronautical Technology

Graduate degree programs in aerospace engineering are designed for those seeking an advanced career in aerospace engineering, design research or postsecondary teaching. Master's degree programs typically take two years of full-time study to complete, which may include time spent on an original research thesis. However, non-thesis program options are also available.

Both undergraduate and graduate degrees are available in aerospace, aviation or aeronautical technology almost anywhere in the country. When choosing a school, students will want to consider those with programs that appeal to their specific interests.


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