Education

Can I Major In Engineering And Go To NASA

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 8 minute read

An engineering degree is an excellent choice if you want to work in space exploration and research. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States government employs a diverse group of engineers. Engineers who work in space exploration solve problems in a variety of ways, from designing spacecraft and hardware to developing new materials for spacecraft. Most sought after at NASA are graduates with a degree in aeronautical engineering, computer hardware engineering, electronics engineering, or mechanical engineering.

What Future NASA Engineers Should Know Before Deciding on a Field of Study

If you want to work in an engineering capacity at NASA, you must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering. That’s a given. It’s common for aspiring NASA engineers to fear they’ll be hindered by their choice of engineering discipline. In reality, there are a wide variety of engineering positions available at NASA. NASA employs a total of 20 engineers in a variety of positions, ranging from officer to director.

The agency as a whole and specific projects and undertakings require different kinds of engineering than others. Astronautical engineers, who design and build aircraft and spacecraft and the equipment they use, are obviously important to NASA’s space exploration efforts. NASA relies heavily on computers for its research, so computer engineers are needed in a wide range of engineering positions.

Due to NASA’s wide range of projects, general engineering skills are also critical to the agency. In order to gain a wide range of engineering skills, consider pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering or electrical engineering, rather than the more specialized subdiscipline of computer engineering.

Engineering majors that don’t directly relate to space exploration are the only ones that won’t help you land a job with NASA. It’s possible that nuclear engineers will be able to find work in nuclear thermal propulsion.

In the event that you have completed a bachelor’s degree in an engineering discipline that does not directly prepare you to work for NASA, you may wish to pursue a master’s degree in an engineering discipline that is more relevant to NASA. The Society of Petroleum Engineers reported that a petroleum engineer could pursue a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and end up working for NASA.

How to Get a Job at NASA

The first step to becoming a NASA engineer is to get a college degree in a relevant field of study. In spite of the fact that some NASA positions require advanced degrees, all students must first complete their undergraduate studies. If you want to be an engineer, you’ll most likely need to declare your major and enroll in a four-year university or an associate’s program before continuing on to a bachelor’s program.

Expect to spend at least four years completing your bachelor’s degree in engineering. Your education may take longer in engineering programs that include co-op experiences, which are essentially long-term, paid internships. Looking for relevant opportunities while you’re in school is a good way to get an edge on other candidates for a job at NASA. Find out if any of your professors are working with NASA or on other projects related to space exploration, and see what you can do to help. Take advantage of NASA internships to get your foot in the door and see what it’s like to be a NASA employee. You can also meet potential mentors and make other professional connections.

Once you’ve earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering, you’re eligible to begin applying for jobs at NASA. If you are hired now for entry-level positions with the agency, you will be able to advance your career within NASA, making you eligible for positions that are only available to NASA employees. There are two options if you don’t land an entry-level position at NASA: You can either go to graduate school to further your education or work in an industry setting to gain the experience and skills necessary to land a higher-level position at NASA in the future. If you want to be a NASA engineer, you’ll want to look for opportunities that will get you closer to that goal, such as pursuing relevant job roles and pursuing graduate school programs that have the potential to help you land a job with the agency.

Remember that not everyone who works for the space agency is a permanent employee. There are short-term positions, as well as NASA contract work opportunities, available. In order to determine the type of employment arrangement you want to pursue in your relationship with NASA, think about what you hope to get out of the relationship.

Obtaining a NASA Engineer Degree

Both the theory and practice of designing and building products that solve problems are essential for engineers. Regardless of the specific engineering discipline, most undergraduate engineering degree programs incorporate classroom, laboratory, and field-based education.

Engineers study the fundamentals of engineering theory and principles, but they also devote a significant portion of their time to designing and building tools, engines, electronic systems, and vessels. Internships and cooperative programs are common ways for students in many engineering programs to gain real-world experience.

Engineering at NASA requires a certain degree of education.

A bachelor’s degree in engineering is the bare minimum requirement for employment with NASA. It is more likely that you will need an advanced education if you want to work in a high-level or competitive position. In order to become an astronaut, for example, you should aim for a doctoral degree such as a Ph.D. or a doctorate in engineering (DEng or EngD). The number of people employed by NASA who are actually astronauts is extremely small. There were only 44 “active” astronauts out of the nearly 17,000 NASA employees at the end of 2021. Engineers who have the best chance of becoming an astronaut are those who have a high level of education and work experience, as well as advanced and specialized technical skills, because this workforce is so small.

Aerospace Engineering is a major.

General engineering principles and aerodynamics are among the topics covered in an aerospace engineering bachelor’s degree program, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Studies in subjects like these are required for an aerospace engineering program to be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

  • Mechanics of orbit
  • a void of empty space
  • Materials that are used in spacecraft

At the undergraduate level, aerospace engineering isn’t always offered as a distinct major. Aerospace engineering is offered as a specialization within the field of mechanical engineering at some institutions. In the United States, there will be 76 bachelor’s degree programs in aerospace engineering that have been accredited by ABET by the year 2021.

Computer Engineering is my area of study.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering often includes courses in computer science and electrical engineering. Programs accredited by ABET provide students with the computer science and engineering foundations they need to design and build computer systems and the hardware and software that power them. To prepare for a career in computer engineering, students should expect to take classes in digital design and circuits and systems, as well as programming classes, as part of their education. As of 2021, there are 292 bachelor’s degree programs in computer engineering recognized by ABET in the United States.

Electrical and electronic engineering is my chosen field of study.

Electronic and electrical engineering students are required to take courses in electrical circuit theory, digital systems design, and differential equations as part of their undergraduate education. Most electrical and electronics engineering bachelor’s degree programs include coursework in electromagnetics, microelectronics, and microprocessors. In 2021, there were 392 bachelor’s degree programs in electrical and electronics engineering in the United States that were accredited by ABET.

Mechanical Engineering is my primary academic focus.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a mechanical engineering bachelor’s degree typically includes courses in mathematics and science as well as engineering and design. There are many topics covered within a mechanical engineering curriculum, including mechanical engineering systems, manufacturing processes and systems, controls, thermal/fluid system design, modeling and simulation, as well as the creation of new products and processes for existing ones Mechanics can specialize in a wide range of fields, from aerospace engineering to automotive engineering to power generation to sustainable energy generation, thanks to the broad scope of mechanical engineering as a major. In 2021, ABET accredited 392 bachelor’s degree programs in mechanical engineering in the United States.

It’s possible to find work as a technician or technologist in the engineering field even if you don’t want to be a full-fledged engineer. An associate’s degree in engineering is all that most engineering technicians need to get the job done, and they don’t even have to design anything themselves.

Do you know what it takes to be an engineer in the space agency?

When used in the broadest sense, NASA engineers are experts in aeronautics and space flight engineering who develop solutions for NASA missions. As a result of their training in the principles of science and mathematics, engineers are capable of creating a wide range of innovative products and solutions to a wide range of problems. It is possible for engineers with diverse backgrounds to specialize in a variety of engineering applications.

Engineers must first understand the scope of a problem, such as the need for equipment that can operate both inside and outside the Earth’s atmosphere, before designing a solution. Engineers use computer technology, statistical data analysis, and prototyping to develop and test these solutions. They also run calculations and run simulations.

Positions in NASA Aerospace Engineering

In the field of space exploration, aeronautical engineers use their engineering skills to create spacecrafts, missiles, and other equipment that can withstand the harsh conditions of space. NASA aerospace engineers aren’t just responsible for designing spaceships and rockets; they’re also in charge of developing propulsion systems, mission plans, and more.

Hardware design and development for computer systems

Engineers who can design and build computerized equipment for space exploration are also employed by NASA. Although computers and computer hardware are widely used in NASA, computer engineers may also design and develop robots and robotic equipment as a side project. It is common for computer engineers to hold a bachelor’s degree in a related field like computer science or electrical engineering, but this is not always the case.

Engineers in electrical and electronic fields

In space exploration, computers are not the only electrical devices. Electrical and electronic engineers at NASA have a broader range of duties, including the creation of a wide range of electrical and electronic devices. NASA’s electrical and electronics engineers may work on motors, aircraft, instrument panels, computers, video and communications equipment, robots, radar systems, and electrical wiring systems, among other projects. NASA engineers need bachelor’s degrees in electronics engineering or a related field to design and maintain the agency’s electrical and electronic systems.

Engineers in mechanical design

A wide variety of tools and machines are employed by astronauts during their missions to the moon and beyond. Sensors, steering mechanisms, and even spacecraft engines are all the work of mechanical engineers, and mechanical engineers are the ones who create them. When it comes to space exploration, mechanical engineers are often required to work on anything that has moving parts of any kind.

Many of space exploration’s problems and attempts to solve them necessitate the involvement of engineers from various fields. Aspiring NASA engineers should be resourceful and innovative problem solvers with the interpersonal skills necessary to work well with a multidisciplinary team of engineers, technicians, and researchers.

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