Aeronautics and aviation each have their basis in flight science and engineering. However, depending on your end goal, one field may be better suited for you over the other. There are a number of training programs for each offered throughout the country so, for whichever you decide, you’ll definitely have options when it comes to schooling. Here’s a bit of basic info on each!
Aeronautics is typically taught as a subset (or concentration) of aerospace engineering, and focuses on the details of manned flight. Those entering the field of aeronautics would work on applications such as the manipulation of an aircraft’s design to be more efficient and aerodynamic, estimating the propulsion needs of a particular aircraft, and/or the testing and analyzing of said designs.
Those studying aeronautics begin their studies by focusing on engineering and mathematical principles and then move on to more advanced coursework, like aerospace propulsion, flight dynamics, and thermodynamics. Aeronautic engineering majors will also complete coursework in areas such as flight theory and aviation law.
Aeronautic/aerospace engineers have the option to work for a variety of different employers, ranging from NASA to government agencies to private sector jobs. So, if working for mission control has always been your dream, or if designing airplanes, helicopters or defense systems is your thing, than aeronautics is the field for you!
Aviation includes engineering, as well – however, it’s an industry in and of itself, offering a wide array of job opportunities. Those majoring in aviation can train to be either pilots or navigators. Aviation management programs teach the basics of airport operations, including aviation law, aircraft design, security, and weather issues. In addition, community colleges and technical schools offer a variety of aviation based programs, allowing for training as industry mechanics and technicians, as well as flight attendants, ticketing agents, and more.