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Education / Engineering / ATC

Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:04 pm

Hello. This is my first post, so I do apologize if this topic is in the wrong discussion.
Little bit about me.
My name is Jónas, I'm Icelandic 24 year old toddler and I'm currently living in Sønderborg, Denmark.
I'm a student and I'm taking a foundation year for Mechatronic engineering.

Little over a year ago I was working in the aviation field at the international airport of Iceland ( Keflavík airport ) as a ramp agent and also as an mechanic for the aprons machinery.
I had already started taking PPL and then I got really unfortunate by having a seizure, which means I couldn't go on with that dream.

So things changed and I got the idea of moving abroad and start to study engineering. As time pass I always think more about the aviation field, I just can't get it from my mind and I'm not willing to leave it yet, and I'm kinda between what I should do.
I would want to learn ATC or Aerospace engineering, however, I don't really know much about those things in general, like the cost of studying. job opportunities, where it should be best for a poor student like me to study or what schools it would be best to go for.

So my questions are for ATC:
Is there much difference on where you study, schools or continents, USA or Europe.
How to finance these studies.

Questions for Engineering:
What schools are recommended in Europe and USA.
Job opportunities.
How to finance.

Any answers and suggestions are welcome : )

Best Regards Jónas.
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RE: Education / Engineering / ATC

Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:39 pm

Quoting jonasinn (Thread starter):
Questions for Engineering:
What schools are recommended in Europe and USA.
Job opportunities.
How to finance.

I can only speak for engineering. I highly recommend it and when I say engineering, I am referring to having a university degree and working in the office, not in line maintenance. I would go for a full 4 year university education in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or aerospace engineering. Those fields will help you get a job in the office of an airline or one of the manufacturers (either a company like Airbus, or a supplier like Rolls-Royce, GE, Honeywell, Thales, etc). Engineering jobs pay very well for only a bachelor’s (4 year) degree. Once you are in aerospace, you can move around. The easiest place to start is at a supplier since jobs tend to be less competitive. Airline engineering jobs are great, but most airlines have very small engineering staff (ranging from 10 to 500 depending on airline). The manufacturing and companies designing have thousands of engineers.

With experience, you can get into an airline. When you are in management (typically what an engineering job is), you get to really influence how an airline operates. From repair, to maintenance planning, to reliability, etc there are many jobs. A proper engineering degree will open many doors. Make sure it is a real engineering degree that is accredited. Don’t get any degree with the name technology or aeronautics in it if it is not an engineering degree. Some speak highly of Embry Riddle, and their engineering program is very good, but don’t go there for an aeronautical science degree. That degree only qualifies you to be a pilot and does not open as many doors. You have to work harder to get an engineering degree, but it is highly worth it. Almost any large public university has an accredited program, so you don’t need to stick to schools that emphasize aerospace. Classes like fluid dynamics, heat transfer and electrical circuits are taught at all the schools and an emphasis in aerospace doesn’t have much impact on what you learn since a coal powerplant and a jet engine have the exact same mathematical and engineering formulas behind them when you are designing them.

A good strategy is look for airline internships in the engineering offices. In the US, Southwest and Delta usually have internships or co-ops posted. You can look at the qualifications that they are looking for and then go after those degrees.

As for financing your degree, that is up to you. I would highly recommend a subsidized public education over a more expensive private education if you are willing to put in the work and don't have the money to pay for it. As long as you get good grades and work hard, the institution you go to is less important than the degree for engineers (note that the opposite is true in business and law).
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
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RE: Education / Engineering / ATC

Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:52 pm

Well, I'm doing ATC after an English Lit degree and working as a programmer for a while, it takes all types!

[Edited 2014-01-08 15:52:40]
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RE: Education / Engineering / ATC

Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:10 pm

For ATC, the first thing I would do in your place would be to check the medical requirements. I am afraid if your seizure disqualified you from flying, it might disqualify you from ATC as well.

Even if it would not, I would go for engineering though. If you have the skills and predispositions for ATC line of work, you can jump in later, and still have a very solid fallback if anything should happen that would leave you unable to continue in ATC.
The light at the end of tunnel turned out to be a lighted sing saying NO EXIT
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RE: Education / Engineering / ATC

Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:45 am

Quoting jonasinn (Thread starter):
This is my first post


Quoting jonasinn (Thread starter):
Questions for Engineering:

I can try to help you with this part-

Quoting jonasinn (Thread starter):
What schools are recommended in Europe

In the UK: Cranfield. Possibly Imperial.
In the Netherlands: TU Delft.
In Germany: TU Munchen.
In France: Polytechnique or Supaero. For both of these, I'd suggest going in as a transfer student (e.g. Erasmus).

That's just off the top of my head - I'm sure there are a bunch more.

Quoting jonasinn (Thread starter):
and USA

A bunch of them: Georgia Tech, U of Michigan, UMD, MIT, Stanford, UIUC, possibly Purdue and Texas A&M. And again, I'm sure there's a bunch more to choose from.

Quoting jonasinn (Thread starter):
Job opportunities.

Plenty. But given that you're a European citizen, I'd recommend going to university in Europe. Jobs in aerospace in the US - for recent graduates - are very very very hard to get if you're not at least a permanent resident.

Quoting jonasinn (Thread starter):
How to finance.

In Europe, easy: ask for money from your parents to cover your tuition, and work odd jobs to cover the rest. Or you could find a scholarship. If you decide to come to the US, I'd advise against doing anything without a scholarship.
"There is an art, or rather a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."
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Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2001 1:38 am

RE: Education / Engineering / ATC

Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:50 am

Hi Jonas,

I'll weigh in here with my own (jaded, biased) experiences...
Firstly, I know nothing about the ATC route, but that obviously requires a specialised training path, I did a quick search and found this-

I note that one of the entry requirements is a medical... so, not sure what the nature of your seizure was, but this could affect your ATC prospects.

Now for your engineering questions;

Quoting jonasinn (Thread starter):
What schools are recommended in Europe and USA.

I can only speak for UK - I went to Kingston, which was great, but it is still a 'young' university and probably doesn't hold as much prestige as some others. I've heard good things about Brunel, Bristol and Bath uni's.
As for Embry Riddle... I personally haven't been blown away by the Riddle grads I've met, the one thing I think they all seem to have in common is debt. Lots and lots of debt. I believe it's much more expensive to get a degree in the US, and especially at Riddle, from what I've gathered the cost of an entire year's tuition at a UK university won't get you through one semester at a typical university in the US. I believe Kansas University, Kansas State and Iowa state are pretty good for aviation though. Certainly the big midwestern airframers seem to recruit heavily from those schools.
Btw, are you near Delft? -

Quoting jonasinn (Thread starter):
Job opportunities.

As for job opportunities, personally I believe the respective University systems in the UK/Europe Vs the US have a huge affect on job prospects. As aforementioned, because it is so expensive to go to the school in the US, I believe there is a relatively low throughput of engineering graduates to fill the large number of engineering jobs produced by the huge industrial base in the US, as a result, in the US if you have a degree, a social security number and a pulse, you can easily find an entry level engineering job - this was especially true pre-2008. If you are also a US citizen with security clearance, you probably don't even need a pulse.

As for the UK, the Universities are churning out so many graduates, that competition for the relatively few number of entry-level job openings is more intense, and it drives the salaries down. Only the best(or in my case, the lucky) get the aerospace jobs, the others end up in non-aero fields or quit engineering altogether. Not sure if the same is true on the continent, but I believe France and Germany are like this too.

Quoting jonasinn (Thread starter):
How to finance.
I think the answer for this will always be; scholarships, bursaries, grants and LOANS.
All the foreign students I met at uni were living off of loans and their own earnings - there is in fact quite a problem with getting foreign students to repay their loans after they've graduated and left the country! But I digress...
The UK government increased tuition fees from £3,000 a year to a whopping £9,000 a year, which was met by outrage and disgust by most UK students, meanwhile in the US one year at Embry riddle will set you back $42,294. You basically have to take out a mortgage to graduate there.
I note however that Universities in Iceland charge no tuition, is there no aerospace degree you could take on home soil?

Anyhow, take my comments with a pinch of salt, and good luck with your future career whatever you decide to do. (Mechatronics is a GOOD and growing field to study btw, so you're already on the right track)
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