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Aerospace Engineering vs Mechanical Engineering (Salary & Differences)

Is aerospace engineering better than mechanical engineering in 2022? Which is more difficult or pays more?

Generally, Engineering is seen as one of the most difficult programs and careers to take on as an individual. Not alone, aerospace or mechanical engineering.

These two branches of engineering are complex and involve high skill and precision to be successful at it. In this article, you will be exposed to all you need to know about the above topic.

I will talk about their individual study programs, the ones with better and more career opportunities, how much these engineers get paid, to mention a few. Before I proceed into that, however, I feel I should make a quick summary of what the two branches entail, for better understanding.

Just as you know, Aerospace and Mechanical engineering are two important branches of Engineering. In fact, no branch of engineering is unimportant; They are all interconnected.

However, they are quite different from each other in their method of approach and the kind of problems they solve. It is no longer news that engineering was introduced to solve many problems of man.

What is Aerospace Engineering? 

Aerospace Engineering is a field of engineering concerned with the building, construction, development, and management of aircraft and spacecraft. Speaking further, this branch of engineering has two branches; Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering.

Aeronautical engineering deals with aircraft, while astronautical engineering deals with spacecraft. The engineers operating in these fields are assigned different roles, and sometimes they work together.

What is Mechanical Engineering?

Amongst all branches and disciplines in engineering, I see Mechanical Engineering as the broadest of it all. From the word “Mechanical”, meaning motion, Mechanical Engineering involves every machine that moves.

Engineers in this field design, build, and develop mobile machines. It is the fundamental part of all other aspects of Engineering.

Differences between Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

Even with the fact that the two disciplines are quite alike, they are very much different from each other, and of course, these differences are obvious. I will mention instances where you can also tell and agree with their differences.

Let’s take a look at Aerospace Engineering first. An Aerospace engineer will work towards developing the flight action of aircraft and spacecraft.

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Initially, aerospace engineering was only about aeronautical engineering, but as time went on, and the need to travel to outer space, the discipline became broader and included astronautical engineering.

This means an Aerospace engineer can either become an aeronautical or an astronautical engineer, sometimes both. This kind of discipline is specific as it only involves flying objects. Such is not the case with Mechanical Engineering. I will tell you why.

Mechanical Engineering is a less-specific, and broader discipline of engineering. It is believed to be the foundation of all engineering disciplines. As a Mechanical Engineer, you will deal with anything that moves, from components to machines, even to the human body.

In one way or the other, Mechanical Engineers have solved all of man’s problems involving machines. Even aerospace engineering is built based on motion, which involves mechanical engineering. This shows you that even though they are both different, they still share some background similarities.

Which is easier to study?

No discipline of Engineering is easy to study. If you want to be an engineer, irrespective of your field, you must be the serious type as it requires a lot of your time and focus.

Mechanical Engineering is not easy to study, neither is Aerospace Engineering. They both come with their challenges.

However, you should be aware of something. If you plan on being a mechanical engineer, you should be prepared to have knowledge in almost all the fields of Engineering.

On the other hand, if you are interested in being an Aerospace Engineer, you should be aware that you will be more focused on a particular discipline. They both come at different prices.

If you want to major in any of the two disciplines, you must be exposed to quite a range of subjects including mathematics, physics, and chemistry. The subjects serve as the basis on which Engineering is built. Ensure you are good at them before applying to be an Engineer.

Job Opportunities

Frankly speaking, the job opportunities you will be exposed to either as a Mechanical Engineer or an Aerospace Engineer is limitless.

There are thousands of career choices that will suit your qualification, without hassle trying to find a job. I will take it one by one.

As an Aerospace Engineer

If you finish a program in Aerospace Engineering, you should expect to be employed in companies whose operations may involve;

  • civil and military aircraft
  • missiles
  • satellites
  • space vehicles
  • weapons systems
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These operations pose like the ones with the highest number of career options for aerospace engineers. As an Aerospace Engineer, there are different areas where you can specialize in including; aerodynamics, avionics, materials and structures, propulsion, and systems integration.

Now, let us find out the Job Opportunities available as an Aerospace Engineer.

  1. Civil and Military Aircraft – This particular industry records the highest amount of Aerospace Engineers recruitments. Many of these engineers even train to work in these companies. They are usually involved in the production, design, research, and maintenance of aircraft, be it a civil or military one.
  2. Missiles and Weapons Systems – Built on the principle of Projectiles, this industry is for engineers who will love to use their skills in developing missile systems for a nation.
  3. Satellites – This is a very important industry and engineers should never be scarce here. They are usually in charge of space research, satellite manufacturing, and launching with rockets. A good example of this is NASA.
  4. Space Vehicles – This is the direct opposite of the industry involved in manufacturing civil and military aircraft. Engineers in charge of this industry are called astronautical engineers. They are employed by space research companies including NASA, SpaceX, etc.

As a Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical Engineers usually further their studies in specific branches after obtaining a Bachelor’s degree. These branches include;

  • Computer-aided engineering
  • Design engineering
  • Manufacturing engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Medical engineering

If we are to argue about the discipline of Engineering with the highest number of career opportunities, I will pick Mechanical Engineering without any doubt. This particular branch is somehow connected to everything we see and use today. This makes Mechanical Engineers useful almost everywhere.

Examples of places where Mechanical Engineers are in high demand include;

  • Aerospace and automotive industries
  • The armed forces and the Ministry of Defense
  • Construction and building services
  • Energy utilities, including nuclear
  • Engineering consultancies
  • Government agencies
  • Manufacturing industries
  • Medical engineering
  • Oil and gas industries, including petrochemical industries
  • Process industries, including pharmaceuticals, food, and cosmetics
  • The public sector, including the Civil Service, local authorities, hospitals, and educational institutions
  • Research establishments, both academic and commercial
  • Sports engineering
  • Transport, including road and railways.

I believe you also agree with me now that Mechanical Engineering has more job opportunities. You do not need to go far searching for a job. As long as there is a need for an engineer, then you are automatically qualified as a Mechanical Engineer.

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Aerospace Engineering vs Mechanical Engineering salary

This is the part where many have been waiting for. Here, you will know how much you can earn if you become a professional in any of the two careers of interest. Let us get to it.

Aerospace Engineers Salary

Starting salaries of Aerospace Engineers are usually less since they have no previous experience. It can range between $24,000 to $27,000.

However, aerospace engineers with experience can get paid as much as $39,000. Remember this all depends on your level of expertise and experience.

Senior engineers get paid the highest. Some are paid as much as $58,000.

However, if you have no experience and you own a Master’s degree, your starting salary could be pumped a little. This shows you how much Aerospace Engineers are paid. Let’s get to see that of Mechanical Engineers.

Mechanical Engineers Salary

The starting salaries of Mechanical Engineers are lower compared to that of Aerospace Engineers. As a starter with no experience or on a graduate training scheme, you can get paid between $18,000 to $27,000.

When you have experience, your salary can be between $25,000 to $35,000.

Just like any other career, senior-level members get paid the highest. As a Senior Mechanical Engineer, such as a Chief engineer, you can get paid between $45,000 to $60,000.


Engineers can get paid even up to $100,000. It all comes down to their level of expertise. From this, you can agree with me that Aerospace Engineers are paid higher than Mechanical Engineers. This fact is simply because Aerospace Engineers are work-specific, unlike Mechanical Engineers.

However, if I was to choose the better career between the two, then I will not choose any. Both careers are excellent and maximize full potential.

Also, they are both important disciplines of Engineering, and sometimes, one part cannot do without the other. They work hand-in-hand.

About Samson Adebayo

I am just that guy who tries to share his knowledge with other students via Academicful. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a great day!

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