Is Embry-Riddle the Real Deal?

Hello again, everyone. Today’s post is gonna be short and sweet, because my heart is heavy today. In a few hours, I have to say goodbye to one of my best pals — my black Lab, Velvet. She’s nearly 17, and after many great years with my family, she’s being put to sleep this morning. R.I.P. to a very strong candidate for the best dog ever. :-/

But the show must go on here, so let me address John, who has a question about his aerospace studies.


My name is John. I appreciate the articles you have written, always find valuable information in them.


I do have one question I wish you could answer for me. Now that I have completed my AS in Engineering at a community college, I am looking to attend a four year University. My degree being Aerospace engineering, I’ve looked into Embry-Riddle as my main choice.

Excellent choice. My dad, who served in the U.S. Air Force for 26 years as a mechanic, just so happens to be an Embry-Riddle graduate.

Me and Velvet in 2001

My dilemma is that I’ve been researching other universities and good Engineering schools in general, and most sites don’t even list this school that claims they “specialize” in the field of Aerospace/Aeronautics.

It’s not just a claim — rest assured that Embry-Riddle is indeed the real deal in the world of aeronautics. And that’s not just loyalty to my pop’s alma mater. Check out the Embry-Riddle Wikipedia entry for an array of bona fides, such as:

1) Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (its full name) is the no. 1 ranked aerospace engineering program in the country among schools without a Ph.D program. And it’s been ranked no. 1 ever since the category was introduced in 2001. (The lack of a Ph.D program could be why the school isn’t showing up in the sources you’re using for your research).

2) Embry-Riddle has some really tight integration with the U.S. Armed Forces, so that should tell you a lot. The school has 130 satellite campuses, most of which are located near/on military bases. Basically, then, the Air Force has chosen Embry-Riddle as their main partner for educating its own airmen about all aspects of aerospace.

3) 25% of all commercial pilots graduated from Embry-Riddle.

So have no doubt — Embry-Riddle is the real thing.

Should I consider other more affordable schools?

You should always *consider* more affordable schools. 🙂 Certainly, Embry-Riddle isn’t the only game in town, and if you were able to score a significantly cheaper education of equivalent or near-equivalent rigor, then that would definitely be something to consider seriously. However — in this particular case, the aerospace engineering programs that stand up to Embry-Riddle are going to be much, much fewer and far between than if we were comparing almost any other major.

Or is attaining a degree from this particular school offer me a more competitive edge in the job market?

No question about it, Embry-Riddle definitely gives you a competitive edge in the aerospace job market.

Thank you for your time.

You are surely welcome.

And now, I’m off to spend the last hours with my canine homegirl and do my best to console my family. I’ll approve your comments as fast I can get to them. Thanks, and see you all tomorrow.

26 thoughts on “Is Embry-Riddle the Real Deal?”

  1. Embry-Riddle is definitely the real deal. I know grads who have gone on to work in NASA and do aviation policy work in the US Senate. For your chosen field, it’s absolutely worth the expense and experience. Take a trip to the campus. Make it a beach vacation. Ask to speak with alumni. Hands down the best choice you can make. Like Josh, I’m the child of a 40 year military vet. I’ve seen thir grads do well.
    Take care and good luck!

  2. Hey John,

    I am currently a senior in Aerospace Engineering, and I thought I would add to Josh’s advice. Embry-Riddle is an awesome school, but have you given any thought to graduate school? The reason I ask, is that schools like Embry-Riddle will probably not take your transfer credit, and you will have to do all 4 years there. Embry-Riddle has some fantastic masters degree programs for Aerospace Engineering that are tailored to the field of study that interests you. Also, getting a masters degree in AE will make you a whole lot more money.

    My recommendation is this: spend 2 years at a state school that will accept all of your transfer credit, get really good grades and do some networking, and then go to Embry Riddle for graduate school. You will finish your degree faster, be more marketable in the economy, and possibly get out debt-free (if you play your cards right).

    Defiantly go to Embry Riddle, but do it for grad school. You?ll get all the benefits without the price tag.

    Good luck!

  3. John,
    I have attended Embry-Riddle for the past two years studying Aerospace engineering and I strongly agree with Jane’s statement above. The school is set in a great location and the class sizes are small, but I believe that the only reason Riddle is so expensive is what is offered your junior and senior year. I made the mistake of dishing out almost $70,000 for my 1st and 2nd year just to realize that I wanted to switch to civil engineering. I now regret taking basic prerequiste courses at Riddle for 70 grand when I could have taken them back home at a community college for free. I would take Jane’s advice above. Good luck.

  4. The advice to go to E/R for grad school is good, but you still have to think about the calibur of the undergrad degree you get. E/R, I’m sure, has a great grad program, so they’re probably looking for the best. You would need to go to a school with a good reputation and good, well connected faculty in order to get considered at a place like E/R.

    I think you were smart to go to community college to get your gen ed classes done. I did the same, and it was the best thing I ever did. I now go to an expensive private school (about 20 mins from E/R, actually), and they took almost all of my credits, and I’m about to graduate with a great education from one of the best schools in the state. From everyone I know that has gone to private school, and even a friend or two at E/R, the education you get is priceless. You graduate respected and more prepared than your peers at other schools, and in the end, you’ll be making so much money the student loans will be easy to pay off and well worth it.

    Good luck! Daytona is awesome too.

  5. The reality is that education comes at a price. Great institutions are even pricier. Despite the cost, is this an institution that will provide you with the opportunities and support you need to be successfully? That to me is more important than the cost. You can always apply for scholarships and loan repayment programs to offset the cost. While money is an issue for almost all o
    f us, don’t let it be the sole determinant of your decision. Be blessed and good luck with everything!

  6. Embry-Riddle is a great school. I personally went to Daytona State(FL), that’s right across from the Daytona Beach Campus(Do they have more than one?). Anyways, I would contact NAVAIR and see what kind of dent they can put in your tuition, not to mention giving you a job afterwards. The Pax River branch(MD) of NAVAIR is a really great branch and is becoming one of the biggest bases. You might want to check into that branch directly.

  7. Hey John,

    I am currently a Junior in the ERAU BSAE program.

    First thing about ERAU…you’ve gotta be passionate about airplanes and flight. Everything from the classwork, to the names of buildings and parking lots revolves around aviation.

    When I was deciding what school to go to, I had really thought about my goals and where I wanted to be later on, who I wanted to work for, what I wanted to have as my daily job. Ultimately for what I want to do, I have to be the best of the best in the industry (trust me, Aerospace is a VERY competitive industry). ERAU is absolutely the number 1 in Aerospace Engineering. That’s not just a claim, we have the numbers, awards, alumni, projects, and a lot of other things to prove it. When I thought about my education I knew that I didn’t want to take any chances, I wanted to get the best and I feel that ERAU can give me the best education for my field.

    Money is tight these days, for everyone. Yes I will say up front, my total amount to attend each semester is around $17K. They do offer a few scholarships and you could easily get a job on campus doing a variety of different things. I know everyone dreads student loans, I know I do. Although it scares me everyday, I realized, especially this summer that students can be ok financially if they focus on getting a job. I’m at an internship with GE which is paying a good ~$700+ a week, and im just here for the summer. If you focus on getting an internship, you’ll open the door to a lot of different jobs in the future, and those jobs will pay well if you do well in school, and you won’t have to worry as much about money later on. Some companies even pay students to complete their masters degree at ERAU.

    I know I am biased with this but my main point is to really think about where you want to be later in life, what you want to be doing and who you want to work for. Try not to be so afraid of the money issues, they will work themselves out later on if you focus on getting the A’s. ERAU is a great school, especially for Aerospace Engineering and can provide you countless opportunities to learn in and out of the classroom.

    I do agree with Jane however. If money is a really tough issue for you then consider going to a state school and come to ERAU for your masters degree. If you can though, I strongly recommend attending ERAU at some point during your Aerospace career be it BS, MS or Ph.D.

    Good luck and feel free to contact me if you have any questions!


  8. I don’t have much say on the quality of E/R, but, for the price difference, why not go to UF and get a ‘nearly’ equal caliper degree for about a tenth of the price? As a graduate of the Mechanical Engineering program (maybe I’m a bit biased!), I feel very competitive with my degree. Plus, I got paid to go to school (no worries about student loans!). The Aerospace Engineering program is combined into the Mechanical department (different courses, same leadership), so I can tell you that you would learn ALOT!

    Again, you could always transfer for grad school!

  9. From what the other posters say, ER sounds like the real deal. Don’t go there “defiantly” either, as Jane said 😉
    Besides, if you went to another school outside of Florida, wouldn’t you have out of state or private tuition to pay anyway? Is there another school of equal “caliber” compared to ER and in such an ideal location? I found this website that may be helpful. Good luck and hope you get some financial aid!

    Josh, my condolences to you on the loss of your four-legged family member. 17 years is an incredible lifetime for a pet. She obviously had a good home.

  10. My son is at ERAU and as we looked at colleges, we weighed the pros and cons of a small lesser known college and ERAU. We believed he would get a cutting edge learning experince at ERAU and we have been very pleased with the oppurtunities made available to him in his first year. The school also offers a first year program that is geared to help students excell in areas that they may never had to have struggled with. Our families choice…ERAU

  11. @ Alex:

    Hey Alex, that sounded like solid information about ERAU. A friend of mine just got accepted there, and he told me about the school some time ago. But I have important questions that only a person who attends or have attended, can answer. Can you tell me more about it? Do you have an email?

  12. CC transfer student

    As a 2 year transfer student from CC to ERAU, I will give you a first person POV. If u transfer, make sure you get with a good study group from day one. ERAU is like a big high school. In most classes it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. You need to get old exams to pass current exams (if u know what I mean), teachers are mosly anal retentive, and (unlike CC) birds of the same feathers always tend to flock together.

    In some ways its more like a prison than a real school, with racial devides and nasty attitudes. I graduate next summer and will likely get a good job, nut not from my work at ERAU. Instead, it’s what I accomplished at the CC that will get me the opportunities after college (GPA). ERAU will take the credits from CC but not consider the credits for your GPA. If you do not do good (less that 2,0) the first two semesters after you transfer in, you will be kicked out of school regardless of your CC GPA. This is what happened to me, and if it wasn’t for ‘dealing with the devil’, I would not have pulled myself out of the hole.

    After repeating three courses ($9K+) in two semesters, I am only concerned about getting that piece of paper and could seriously care less about actually learning. Once they have your money, you’re on your own buddy!

  13. I’m not for certain what the out-of-state tuition at Wichita State University is, but it’s a school to consider. I would guess that it’s around 10K a year though, since in-state students pay 5K. Our Aerospace department is probably bigger than our all our other Engineering departments combined (except Mechanical). We have a great deal of students that come from other countries to study here, not to mention out-of-state students. Why? Because Wichita is the Air Capitol of the world. There are so many airplane industries right here in town. Wichita State also has good connections with big name places like NASA. Most of the Aerospace students have a pilot’s license before they get their undergraduate. At least give WSU a look 🙂

  14. What is your chances of being in the 25% that graduate? How many graduates are employed from Embry-Riddle verse the other schools? If your education cost an extra $106,000.00, based on the average pay how long many years would it take you to recover that cost in salary? Of course you should follow in your fathers footsteps if you respect him and want to. I am sure you could start a family tradition if you had a son what would you want him to do? Good parents say “be happy and healthy” love and except whatever you choose.

  15. My husband has both a bachelor’s and an master’s in aerospace engineering.

    Guess what? He hasn’t worked in aerospace since 1989, and even then, when he worked at NASA for 8 years, he did more electrical engineering type work.

    A degree is a degree is a degree. Sure, ERAU is a good school for aeronautics, but you can also get a very good degree from other schools that may be less expensive.

    Don’t limit yourself to one school. Check out all your options. A degree like aerospace engineering will get you a good education in pretty much any school you decide to attend.

    We live in Texas, where the Univ of Texas and Texas A&M both offer great programs in aerospace engineering.

    You’ll get a good amount of training with an internship and work experience….where you got your education really won’t matter much once you start working.

  16. Go to the campus and check it out yourself. Talk to the students who are already there. When you go, you decide if it’s worth it or not.

  17. equally awesome (cheaper) aerospace/aviation school!

    while i’ve never been to embry-riddle myself, i hear the name often and from what i’ve heard, it sounds like it’s not worth it.
    -i currently attend the university of north dakota which despite its very random shitty location, still gets students from all over the country and world for their aviation/aerospace program. while i’m not in the program myself, i have friends in the program who love it and supposedly embry-riddle is the “rival aviation/aerospace” school. i’ve met people in it from places such as vegas, new york, colorado, and even saudi arabia and china.-however i’m only attending the university of north dakota because it’s in my hometown and i can’t wait to get out of here. while i enjoy the school, the state itself gets very very cold in the winter and the culture is very predominantly white conservative and farming-based so i personally don’t fit in very well and people can be close-minded. (the campus is like a temporary escape from the dominant culture)
    -well anyway, i think you should totally research the university of north dakota aviation/aerospace program but only come here for that haha, otherwise it’s not worth it. good luck! 🙂

  18. my son intends and is working hard to get into Aerospace engineering at E/R. . I know a lot of students how r still looking for the jobs though they r not graduates of E/R.after 9/11 to get jobs has become difficult if u r not a US citizen which is well understood. but do yoy think after having studied at E/R that it provides a cutting edge vis a vis job oppurtunities.
    i am looking at it as a investment for his bright future.

  19. Hey man,

    I lived in Prescott, AZ for a while(Embry-Riddle is here) and it is a great school. I personally know a couple of people that are attending there now and they claim it was their best choice and they would make it again if they had too. If you are thinking NASA, I would go against that as their space programs are coming to an end this year.

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