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Educational Institutions




At the end of this block of study, you should be able to:

6.4 Contrast the difference in technical education with that received at the college level.
6.5 Explain the different programs that are available to help with college expenses.

The success received in the field of aerospace has evolved from the cooperative arrangements of colleges and universities, industries, and civilian and military agencies. This effort emphasizes education, research and development, manufacturing, sales, and services. Special attention is focused upon careers requiring scientific, engineering, and technical backgrounds. There also are careers in administration, management, finance, and other services including supply, repair, and maintenance. Thousands of vocational and career possibilities exist within this field which offer job advancement and recognition. The services of trained individuals are needed by the education al community, aerospace manufacturing firms, aerospace research and development companies, governmental agencies. commercial airlines, and consulting firms.

Our focus in this section is devoted to how educational institutions can assist you in your preparation for a career.


The 1990s look like a boom period for the Nation's 1,200 community, technical, and junior colleges. Enrollment is expected to top six million, nearly half the college-going population, by the end of the century. More than 40 percent of the 13.5 million postsecondary students today take classes at community colleges.

While enrollment at four-year colleges grew by 8 percent between 1985 and 1989, enrollment at two-year colleges grew by 21 percent. Community colleges are accessible to a wide range of students with various educational goals. With the increasing need for skilled workers in technological and semiprofessional occupations, job seekers are finding community colleges the place to acquire or improve skills. Some students will attend a community college for two years and then transfer to a four-year school.

One hundred and sixteen community colleges in 33 states are offering a program called Tech Prep (Preparation for Technologies) or the 2+2 Program. The concept of the program is to pair community colleges with local high schools to prepare students for further academic and vocational course work. The students, mean while, can earn credit toward their college courses.

Technical institutes prepare high school graduates for the aerospace industry Their goal is to train a top-grade technician. Technical training provides the skilled manpower to operate the weapons and machinery of our aerospace world. Only skilled technicians can master the complexities of today's highly sophisticated aircraft and space vehicles.

Technicians manipulate gauges and scientific testing equipment. They use the principles of higher mathematics, science, and engineering, but leave the responsibility for the final decisions to the engineer in charge. They are imaginative and have excellent common sense and judgment in turning the ideas expressed by the engineers into items capable of manipulation. They often guide the craftsmen in the construction of the prototype unit. They are excellent at collecting data, performing lab tests, and making computations. They prepare scale drawings and reports, build models, and trouble-shoot scientific equipment as the need arises.

On the average, there are 38 technicians to every 1()() scientists and engineers in the aerospace industry. Communications and electronics activities have a reverse ratio. There are 237 technicians for every 100 engineers and scientists in those categories.

Test-equipment technicians keep instruments in good operating condition, diagnose faults, and repair damaged instruments. They must be capable of working with a minimum of supervision since they do very little routine work and must work almost independently.

Instrument calibration and repair technicians (ICRT) have sensitive assignments. If a pressure transducer is off tolerance by only a little over a pound, a space launch can be postponed for several days. In calibrating, the ICRT compares a working instrument with a primary or secondary standard. Since technicians make a very lengthy and precise calibration to the highest level possible, they must have a thorough knowledge of the theory of instruments, error probability, and long-term reliability.

The technical institute does not train "narrow" specialists. People are trained in a broad, general field, such as electronics. Electronics will provide you with a solid foundation upon which to build a lifelong educational program. The technical institute student is defined as "collegeable but not college oriented." The mental ability of college and technical students is about the same, but technical students prefer to work with their hands.

Technical courses are more directed. While math and physics are required in nearly all technical institute curricula, they are slanted toward the student's field and tend to be rather less abstract than that given in college. Technical institute classes normally enjoy far more demonstrations with actual equipment or visual aids than do college classes. The student's time is more evenly balanced between theory and practice.

The technical institute graduate receives an associate degree in science or engineering. The college student continues for two to four years after the technical institute student has graduated and entered industry.


Education at the professional level produces aeronautical and aerospace scientists and engineers. There is a constant need for people with this special kind of knowledge, and the industries actively compete for their services. Activities in the aerospace technologies include basic and applied research, development, design, application, operations, administration, and management. Closely related to these is a broad range of experimental work. Research and development by scientifically inclined young men brought about the development of the airplane. In later years, other people trained in scientific research refined the achievements of these early inventors. Today, research and development is big business. It takes the creative imagination, concerted planning, and the coordinated energies of many trained and educated people to produce the necessary aerospace machinery and weaponry for our Nation.

According to research, the United States could face a shortage of 500,000 engineers and scientists by the year 2010 One reason for this shortage is that there has been a declining number of high school graduates who are adequately prepared to make the choice to pursue science or engineering in college. These graduates simply do not have enough background in mathematics and the sciences to continue on at the college level. There is a small number of American students currently pursuing advanced degrees in the science and engineering fields.

High school preparation is really important for students interested in the sciences or engineering. You need the highest levels of math, physics, and chemistry offered by your school. You must realize the importance of taking these advanced courses and not becoming slack during your senior year. Some colleges and universities offer a High School Student Research Apprentice Program and/or a Pre-College Engineering Summer Program. These colleges and universities accept juniors and seniors for laboratory research and seminars in subjects ranging from biology and chemistry to education and psychology. Students are offered a familiarity with university life as well as hands-on experience in a field of study. The summer experiences offer students a competitive edge when they enter their first year of college.

The Kodak Educational Aid Program offers a comprehensive range of scholarship programs and educational research grants. The program annually awards three-year, full-tuition scholarships to approximately 100 selected students at 40 public and private colleges throughout the United States. Financial need is not a consideration.

The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering has as its primary mission to help young Blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians get through college training in the sciences and engineering. This organization also is looking for ways to encourage primary and secondary students to become interested In the science and engineering fields.

The field of engineering is widely diversified. It offers diversity in the number of specialties that can be selected. Selection can be made from as many as 25 areas. Within these areas, there are more than 85 subdivisions, such as aerospace, agricultural, biomedical, ceramic, chemical, civil, electrical, industrial, mechanical, and metallurgical. Engineering graduates make the highest starting salaries of all college graduates. If you want an engineering degree, you must take an approved engineering program in one of the accredited engineering schools. You may enter a four-year degree program that allows you to land entry-level engineering jobs or a five-year program that combines undergraduate and graduate training. This type program will give you a bachelor's degree and a master's degree upon completion. Those who go on to graduate from master of business administration (M.B.A.) programs command more money after graduation than those with liberal arts backgrounds.

Many students combine a liberal arts and engineering education. They take dual programs where they study for three years at a liberal arts college or university and two years at an engineering school. After completing the required courses, they receive a bachelor's degree from each institution. Then there are five- and six-year cooperative programs that allow them to combine work experience and classroom study in alternate semesters. Some engineering graduates go on to pursue master's degrees and others who want to teach or go Into research get doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees.

To become an engineering technologist, students must enroll In a four-year-approved engineering technologist program. This type program will lead to a bachelor of engineering technology degree. These programs usually are less demanding In math and science than engineering programs.

Master's and doctor's degrees are awarded by graduate schools In a number of fields. The master's usually takes one or two years of study beyond the bachelor's. The doctor's may take three to five years or longer as many students work on related research projects or teach part-time while doing their own study.

Approximately 500 universities offer the doctorate, generally the Ph.D. or Ed.D. (doctor of education). More than 700 institutions award master's degrees of which the most common are the M.A. (master of arts), M S. (master of science), and the M.E. or M.Ed. (master of education).

The criteria for admission to one of the better universities are listed below:
1. A first-rate application attached to a first-rate transcript.
2. A strong high school program that indicates that you're willing to stretch yourself.
3. Several nonacademic activities. These type activities indicate that students are willing to commit to a significant area of activity and stay with it.
4. A curriculum showing significant involvement m one area as opposed to a laundry list of many activities. College personnel are looking for a measure that students are willing to seriously commit to college study.
5. A sense of humor.
6. A sensitivity to other people.
7. A high score on ACT or SAT. These standardized test scores do not tell about your intellectual qualities or your academic readiness, but they indicate how well you are expected to perform in college.
8. A possession of special talents and skills, such as athletics, music, art, and occasionally poetry and theater.


College tuition increases peaked in 1981-1982 at about 13 percent, but they have been slowing ever since. These increases have reached about 8 percent for private schools and 5 percent for public colleges in the 1987-1988 school year.

The primary purpose of the finance aid programs at colleges and universities Is to help students obtain sufficient funds to achieve educational goals. Of course, the first source of assistance is the family. When this source Is inadequate, other sources may be available, such as the National Direct Student Loan, Supplemental Grant, College Work-Study, Pell Grant, Guaranteed Student Loan, and many other state grants.

The Pell Grant Program is a federal aid program that provides financial assistance to half-time, three-quarter, or full-time students who have not earned a bachelor's or first professional degree. The maximum award Is limited to five full years of academic study. A sixth year is permissible if your degree requires more than four years to complete. For further information, contact the Department of Education in Washington, D.C., the college financial aid office where you intend to enroll, or your high school guidance counselor.

The purpose of the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Is to assist qualified students with exceptional financial need who, for lack of financial means of their own or of their families, would be unable to attend college without such a grant. Normally, this grant is accompanied by an equivalent amount of the National Direct Student Loan. Up to $4,000 per academic year may be available.

Most colleges participate in the National Direct Student Loan Program which provides low-cost loans to students who demonstrate financial need. All students receiving this loan must pursue a full-time course of study This loan bears 5 percent simple interest on the unpaid balance beginning six months from the date the borrower ceases to be at least a half-time student with the first repayment due one month later.

The Perkins Loan Program is a low-interest loan (5 percent) that is available for both undergraduate and graduate students. Various amounts are available depending on your level of study and other restrictions.

The Stafford Loan Program (formerly the Guaranteed Student Loan) Is a low-interest loan from banks and credit unions.

The College Work-Study Program provides fobs for undergraduate and graduate students who need financial aid to pay for college expenses.

Dependents of deceased veterans should contact their local veterans administration office for information on benefits payable. You also should inquire through your school counselor about state programs now available and various other college assistance programs. Scholarship programs include the National Achievement Scholarship Program for Outstanding Negro Students, the National Merit Scholarship, and the Science Talent Search. A lack of money should not prevent you from advancing your education.

To get information about scholarships, go to the following website http://www.scholarshiphelp.org



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Updated: February 09, 2005