Who doesn’t get attracted to manufacturing big spacecraft or space ships or rockets?

Many students in India wish to become aeronautical engineers or aerospace engineers. But due to a lack of proper knowledge, they end up making the wrong decisions or doing something else. They don’t know what are the similarities and difference between aerospace engineering and aeronautical engineering?

Both aerospace and aeronautical engineering include designing aircraft, airplanes, missiles, and more but have some distinction.

As educators or career counsellors, it is our responsibility to guide those students and make them opt for the right career path. 

Let’s take this opportunity and understand what is aerospace engineering & aeronautical engineering and why these are different from each other.

Table of Contents

What is Aeronautical Engineering?

Aernautical Enginnering

Aeronautical engineering attracts those students who have an interest in designing, constructing, and maintaining aircraft. The term aeronautics refers to the study of flight, originated in the early 19 century by Sir George Cayley (who invented the conventional configuration of the airplane). Later, the Wright Brothers understood this mechanism, invented the first airplane, and became the first aeronautical engineers. 

In one sentence, aeronautical engineering deals with the creation, design, and maintenance of travel machines like airplanes, missiles, helicopters, satellites, and more.

What is Aerospace Engineering?

Aerospace Engineering

While aeronautical engineering deals with the study of aircraft that operates within the earth’s atmosphere, aerospace engineering is concerned with the study of space crafts used within and out of the earth’s atmosphere. Aerospace engineering offers a broad range of learning and covers the development of both aircraft and spacecraft.

This field of study offers a broader aspect of engineering comprising various smaller fields of engineering.

Difference Between Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering

The key difference between aeronautical and aerospace engineering is “Aeronautical Engineering is the study of aircraft operate within the earth’s atmosphere while Aerospace Engineering is the study of aircraft operate within & out of the earth’s atmosphere”.

In other words, aeronautical engineering is a specialization within aerospace engineering. 

Apart from this major difference, these two professions have some other distinctions also. Let’s go through one by one for better understanding: 

Scope in India & Abroad

Aeronautical Engineering: India will soon become the third-largest civil aviation market in the world. Having air traffic of more than 131 million passengers, our country needs qualified and skilled aeronautical engineers for the advancement of its aviation market. This means, in the coming years, the scope of aeronautical engineering will be on the rise. So, the students can surely go for this profession for a successful career.

Because India is in its development stage, the opportunities in the core profile are better abroad. They have an array of space centres with advanced technologies. They offer modern techniques to study and work. That’s why the scope of aeronautical engineering is better abroad. 

Aerospace Engineering: As mentioned above, India is on the way to becoming the third-largest in civil aviation in the world. It has a budget of more than 1.5 billion dollars for the aerospace sector. The country has a record to launch most satellites in a single mission and its leading space agency, the ISRO ranks at no. 5 worldwide. Therefore, it’s clear that there’s a lot of opportunities available for aerospace engineers in India. 

Talking about aerospace engineering scope abroad, there are immense opportunities available in countries like the USA, France, the UK, Germany, and more. These foreign countries are welcoming and hire many Indian aerospace engineers every year. You might be surprised but the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA (US Federal Government Agency) has a good number of Indian engineers working with them.

Required Skill Set

Aeronautical Engineering: This profession requires a great technological approach and advanced skills. You can check the skills in detail here:

  • Speed, accuracy, and analytical skills
  • Focus on work and attention to every detail
  • Ability to take responsibility
  • Alertness & presence of mind, and more.

Aerospace Engineering: It is a specialized technological field that requires excellent mathematical and observational skills. It takes years to complete research in this field. Thus, the candidates should have resilience and persistence to pursue the profession. Some other skills that a successful Aerospace Engineer should have are:

  • Outstanding academic background in the Science stream
  • Strong mathematical, reasoning, and analytical skills
  • Ability to work for long hours with immense concentration
  • Scientific acumen
  • Attention to details, and more.

Eligibility Criteria

Aeronautical Engineering: Aeronautical engineering aspiring candidates should match the eligibility criteria to opt for this 4 years course. Check out the eligibility criteria here in detail:

  • Students should have 70-75% marks in aggregate in PCM in Class 12
  • They should clear JEE Main & JEE Advanced. Their JEE scores are necessary for admission.
  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineering diploma holders can also acquire this profession.
  • For post-graduation or diploma courses, students should complete their bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering.
  • For getting a post-graduation degree from some institutes like IITs IISc, Science research institutions, a student should pass the GATE exam.

Aerospace Engineering: This 4 years course has eligibility criteria. Students need to be fit in this criteria to opt for the course:

  • For Aerospace Engineering, students should have a minimum of 60% marks (55% marks for SC/ST) in the Science stream (PCM).
  • For admission in Aerospace engineering post-graduation course, students should complete his/her bachelor’s degree (BE/B Tech or equivalent) with at least 60% marks (55% marks for SC/ST).
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the US recommends for a degree in a variety of disciplines, including Biomedical Engineering, Ceramic Engineering, Metallurgy, Chemistry, Oceanography, Industrial Engineering, Optical Engineering, and Materials Engineering. PhD is highly recommended for joining NASA.

Jobs/ Duties/ Job Profiles

Aeronautical Engineering: These engineers are responsible for:

  • Designing, creating, and testing aircraft, missiles, airplanes, etc.
  • Developing advanced techniques and technologies for supersonic jets, satellites, space shuttles, etc.
  • Improving air travelling safety
  • Addressing the environmental impact of air travel while developing aircraft.
  • Assisting in investigating aircraft accidents and project management, and more.

Aerospace Engineering: These engineers are responsible for:

  • Designing, manufacturing, and testing aircraft & aerospace products.
  • Checking technical and financial feasibility of any project.
  • Checking safety measurement of proposed projects.
  • Developing design methods, quality standards, sustainability, and more.

Best Colleges/ Institutes

Aeronautical Engineering: Various universities all over the world offer programs or specializations in aeronautical engineering. We have collated a table of some reputed institutions in India & abroad:

Institutions in India Institutions in Abroad
Indian Institute of Technology/ IIT Bombay California Institute of Technology
Manipal Institute of technology  Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PEC University of technology  University of Toronto, Canada.
Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.


Aerospace Engineering: Here is a list of some of the institutions that offer the best aerospace engineering programs in India & abroad:

Institutions in India Institutions in Abroad
IITM, Chennai  Massachusetts Institute of Technology
IIT Bombay, Mumbai  California Institute of Technology
Chandigarh University  University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal  Queen Mary University of London
IIT, Guwahati / IIT, Kharagpur  Georgia Institute of Technology.


Top Recruiters

There are multiple companies and organizations in India and abroad that offer job opportunities to aeronautical and aerospace engineers. We have listed down some of the most reputed recruiters for these professions:

Aeronautical Engineering Aerospace Engineering
Defense Research and Development Laboratories (DRDO) Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA 
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Civil Aviation Department
National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Indigo Airways Boeing
Air India  Defense Research and Development Laboratories (DRDO)
Indian Airlines Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)
Jet Airways Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC)


Aeronautical Engineering: The average salary of an Aeronautical Engineer as fresher falls between 5-11 Lakhs Per Anum (LPA).

Aerospace Engineering: The average salary of an Aerospace Engineer as fresher falls between 6-12 Lakhs Per Anum (LPA).

Note: Overall salary of both professions varies. It depends upon your skills and experience. The salary increases according to your experience and expertise. 

FAQs Related to Aeronautical Engineering 

Question. How can I become an aeronautical engineer after the 12th?

Answer. You need to appear for the entrance exam to get admission in aeronautical engineering. You must fulfil the eligibility criteria mentioned above.


Question. Is aeronautical engineering hard?

Answer. No, the course is not so hard. You just need to believe in yourself and work hard to achieve success.


Question. Is aeronautical engineering good for females?

Answer. Of course. This profession is suitable for everyone regardless of gender. A candidate should be good at Mathematics and interested in aviation.


Question. How many years does it take to study aeronautical engineering?

Answer. Aeronautical engineering course is of 4 years. You can become an aeronautical engineer within 4-5 years.

FAQs Related to Aerospace Engineering  

Question. Is Aerospace Engineering a good career?

Answer. Of course, aerospace engineering is a good career choice. The profession also offers good salary opportunities in India & abroad.


Question. Which college is best for aerospace engineering?

Answer. Talking about India, all IITs are good for completing aerospace engineering. For abroad, it varies according to your country choice.


Question. Is aerospace engineering good for the future?

Answer. Yes, the career of an aerospace engineer is bright. This profession is reputed and offers good salary opportunities.


Question. What is the scope of aerospace engineering in India?

Answer. India will soon become the third-largest civil aviation market in the world. That’s why there is a great demand for aerospace engineers in India.

Final Words

Both aerospace and aeronautical engineering offer the study of the design of aircraft. The major difference is aerospace engineering focuses on both aircraft and spacecraft within and outside the atmosphere, the aeronautical engineering focuses on those within. Both are good in their places. However, career opportunities are broader in aerospace engineering.

As a career counsellor, you need to check the eligibility of the student, clear all doubts about both career choices, find out his/her interest, and then suggest one between these two.

For guiding students better, it’s important to have clear information about every course, advanced tools & skills, and validation. 

Global Career Counsellor Program helps individuals who want to kick-start their career as a career counsellor or want to polish their skills. It is Asia’s 1st Comprehensive Online Program by Univariety in Collaboration with UCLA Extension.

If you are a career counsellor or an aspiring one, transform your career with Global Career Counsellor Program.


Assistant Manager - Content Marketing | + posts

Parul is an enthusiast writer, currently working at Univariety. Despite being from a technical educational background, she started her career in writing because of her passion. She loves sketching and doodling while enjoying a cup of black coffee. When she is not writing, she likes watching movies, travelling, and exploring new places.

Darshana Aradhye
Darshana Aradhye
Trained Global Career Counsellor, Founder at Sadh Careers, Pune | + posts

Ms. Aradhye is a trained Global Career Counsellor who has over 15 years of experience in the field of education and counselling. She has worked with multiple schools and delivered various workshops. She is a skilled professional in Curriculum Development, Public Speaking, Teachers Training, Management, and Strong Community & Social Services. She has worked with several well-known organizations from being a counsellor to educator to academic head to Head Mistress to Principal in reputed schools of Ahmedabad.


  1. Avatar

    this was very informative, though giving a reference to the above blog, one can also give AME CET to get admission to topmost aeronautical engineering colleges and know more about the aeronautical eng course details, admission process and syllabus.

  2. Avatar

    First of all,thank you so much for this info.In the future we expect more info regsrding various group of study for the upcoming student.

    • Avatar
      Parul Sharma Reply

      Hi Neela,

      We are glad that you find the information useful!

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