NROTC Aerospace Engineering Major and Path

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by LiftsToFly, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. LiftsToFly

    LiftsToFly New Member

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    Hi everyone,
    I'm a high schooler planning on going into NRTOC, and I'm looking for some guidance regarding aerospace engineering in the Navy. I'd like to go into aviation after college, preferably as a pilot, or as an Aerospace engineer. The obvious thing to do would be to get a bachelor's in aerospace while doing NROTC, but I'm considering other possibilities. First off, if I were to graduate college and become an Aerospace engineer sometime after that, would I need a master's to do that? If so, could I get some other related degree, such as mechanical engineering, and then go back to school while in the Navy to get a master's in aerospace? Secondly, if I were able to get a master's in aerospace engineering in five years, would I be able to do that while in NROTC?
    Here are some of the schools I'm considering which each have different benefits and opportunities:
    •Cornell is a school I'd love to go to, but it doesn't offer a bachelor's in aerospace engineering
    •University of Maryland offers a 5 year program to obtain a master's in aerospace engineering
    •Virgina Tech offers a dual major program in aerospace and ocean engineering
    So really my main question is: If I want to become an aerospace engineer, how important is it that I get a bachelor's in aerospace instead of a related field?
     
  2. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

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    I will leave your main question for those here who are engineers.

    However, for starters, you must realize that upon graduation from NROTC, you are first obligated to serve the needs of the U.S. Navy. This could mean service in whatever capacity that the Navy needs you at. This could mean service NOT as a naval aviator, or engineering (e.g. Surface Warfare, submarines etc.).

    If you can accept this reality that he Navy does not guarantee its officers a particular job, then you can move forward. Once you are out of the Navy, your degree in AE or other engineering will be great for whatever job you wish to pursue. But until then, your job could involve many other jobs besides aviation or engineering.
     
  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    NROTC will only pay for a Bachelor's degree and not a Masters (normal processes anyway). You can work on any graduate degree you desire while in the Navy as long as you have a way to do it online. Later in your career you can probably get Navy to pay for a masters degree but I'm not sure how that works.
     
  4. LiftsToFly

    LiftsToFly New Member

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    Thanks for the answers!
    I do understand that I'm somewhat at the disposal of the navy regarding where I'm assigned. I do anticipate, however, that with a degree and interest in aerospace engineering, I'd be able to get a job doing that at some point, even if it's not right away. If the navy pays for me to get my master's later in my career, would I be able to choose what it's in an hence the career path?
     
  5. NavyNOLA

    NavyNOLA Member

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    You are not going to go into engineering in the sense you are imagining during your initial service obligation to the Navy. As an NROTC graduate, you can go: Pilot, Naval Flight Officer, Subs, Surface Warfare, Surface Nuke, NSW, EOD. Subs and SWO Nuke are all Nuclear Power Officers, so definitely within the engineering realm, but that's about it for the URL communities. I can assure you that pursuing aerospace engineering is not going to have any bearing on whether you are selected for Aviation or not. That being said, having an engineering degree is a requirement (or at least helpful) for transfer to certain other communities down the road.

    If your real desire is to be an engineer right after graduation, then NROTC isn't the path for you. You're also definitely not going to graduate school immediately following graduation. If your desire it to serve your country, serve an an Aviator or other URL officer, and then explore engineering opportunties in the future (EDO, AEDO, TPS, etc.), then I'd certainly recommend exploring NROTC.
     
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  6. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    I've no doubt there is an application and approval process. They may not be looking for Masters in areospace engineering when your time comes. Needs of the Navy always come first.
     
  7. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    "First off, if I were to graduate college and become an Aerospace engineer sometime after that, would I need a master's to do that? "
    You do not need a masters degree to work as an engineer in the Aerospace industry.

    "If so, could I get some other related degree, such as mechanical engineering, and then go back to school while in the Navy to get a master's in aerospace? "
    There is not a significant difference in employability in the aerospace industry between an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering or mechanical engineering. There is a huge overlap between the two curriculum. You can easily get a masters in aerospace with a BS in mechanical engineering and visa versa.

    "Secondly, if I were able to get a master's in aerospace engineering in five years, would I be able to do that while in NROTC?"
    NROTC will not allow an educational deferment to obtain your masters. So NROTC and a 5 year masters program do not mix.
     
  8. DeskJockey

    DeskJockey 5-Year Member

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    Some things for you to consider:

    1) Many engineering schools have eliminated a separate Aerospace Engineering BS degree or made it a sub-specialty of a Mechanical Engineering BS. I doubt that you will be disadvantaged in any way if you get a degree in Mechanical instead of Aerospace.

    2) It is theoretically possible to complete NROTC and defer entering active duty in order to get a fifth-year master's degree, but you shouldn't count on it.

    3) It should not be difficult for you to acquire a masters degree in engineering during your first "shore tour" (typically after having served four or five years in the air or on a ship), either full-time at Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), or part-time at a civilian university (often while serving as an NROTC instructor).

    3) The Navy has a specific career track that almost exactly matches your interests. After completing your training and qualifying as a naval aviator, you can apply for a lateral transfer to the Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer community. It is competitive, and you cannot apply until you have earned your wings.

    4) While in NROTC, you can apply to be predesignated as a future Engineering Duty Officer (non-aerospace). You would serve four years as a Surface Warfare Officer, then go to NPS or MIT for your masters degree before being assigned to perform ship--related engineering work.

    5) It is good to be making plans about your future, but it is important to realize that there is only so much you can know about what your interests and opportunities will be in the future. That being said, an engineering degree will always open doors for you, as will serving as a naval officer (or in any of the other services). My advice is that you focus on the big picture right now - which is getting into NROTC and taking up the challenge of earning an engineering degree. If you do that, you'll have plenty of time to manage the details of your career later on.