Whenever you are travelling somewhere on a flight, do you notice the difference that your body feels when the plane is journeying in the air, somewhere in the middle of the clouds? The cabin temperature might seem strange to our body and that’s why whenever medical emergencies happen during an aeroplane flight, their seriousness is at another level. To handle these conditions, Aerospace Medicine is a specialised medical field that concentrates on maintaining the health and performance of cabin crew that frequently remain in an aviation and space environment. It is considered slightly different from the typically chosen medical degrees and offers a plethora of career opportunities that a graduate can discover. Through this blog, we aim to explore what the discipline of Aerospace Medicine comprises, the courses available in this field as well as the job prospects you can choose from.
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What is Aerospace Medicine?
Medical emergencies can happen anywhere anytime and especially during a flight, ensuring the presence of a team of medical professionals is extremely important. As an area of study, Aerospace Medicine analyses the physiological and psychological impact of a space environment on individuals. Perusing these two parameters, it formulates effective preventive and medicinal measures that can help in lessening the impact of an airborne environment on the human body. In simpler terms, it strives to maintain the well-being and safety of the aviation crew as well as passengers. To qualify for a program in this field, the candidates require an MBBS degree with qualifying marks which can vary from college to college.
Pursuing a degree program in Aerospace Medicine, the individuals are provided with a deeper insight into the implications observed by a human body in a space environment. Further, they are provided with clinical training in the following areas of study:
- Radiation health
- Space medicine: Basic Flight Surgeon Training
- Flight Medicine
- Hypobaric and Hyperbaric Therapy
- Military and Civilian Aviation
- Flight Familiarization
- Elective subjects such as travel medicine, administration, etc.
Courses in Aerospace Medicine
Most of the specialised programs available in this field are of postgraduate level and are majorly pursued by MBBS graduates. Below we have listed some of the popular courses in Aerospace Medicine that you can opt for:
- MD in Aerospace Medicine: This 2-year postgraduate course is for MBBS graduates aiming to gain specialised expertise in Aerospace Medicine.
- MD Aeromedical Retrieval and Transport: This 2-year course equips the candidates with advanced training in Retrieval medicine and Aeromedical evacuation.
- MD Aviation Medicine: This is also a 2-year program that provides students with the knowledge of maintaining the optimum health of the aircrew in aviation as well as the space environment.
- MD Health Science Endorsed in Aeromedical Retrieval and Transport: It is a master’s degree program that involves the study of aeromedical transports and how medical emergencies are handled during a flight.
- MD Oral Health: During a flight, there is a frequent change in the pressure that can impact the human body in various. This course aims to prepare medical professionals for tackling situations regarding oral problems in a space environment.
- Civil Aviation Medicine (Certificate): This short-term course provides students with the knowledge of performing a thorough examination of the cabin crew and if they are fit for handling the airborne environment.
- Aeromedical Retrieval and Transport (Diploma): Like the other Aerospace Medicine course this course also provides deep and practical knowledge of the aeromedical evacuation and retrieval medicine
- MSc Aerospace Medicine: This is an advanced-level degree program that involves a detailed study in the theoretical and practical instructions in advanced aviation.
- Aerospace Medicine (Diploma): Pursuing this diploma course, students in various aspects of flight medicine like pathology, clinical, psychology, physiology and operation aviation medicine.
There are certain prerequisites that you need to fulfil in order to pursue a course in Aerospace Medicine which are as follows:
- Since most of the courses in Aerospace Medicine are available at the postgraduate level, you must have completed your MBBS degree or its equivalent medical science program with the minimum percentage specified by the university.
- Most universities also require the applicant to clear NEET PG to pursue a degree in aerospace or aviation medicine.
- If you are planning to study aerospace or aviation medicine abroad, you will have to provide MCAT scores along with Language proficiency scores such as IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, etc. You will also have to submit a lucrative Statement of Purpose (SOP) and Letters of Recommendation (LORs).
It is necessary that students know about the required skills to pursue a career in aerospace medicine. It can give you an edge in the industry and increase the chances of selection. Some of the basic skills regarding space medicine are as follows.
- Being alert
- Critical thinking
- Spontaneous actions
- Interpersonal and communication skills
- Leadership skills
Since Aerospace Medicine is evolving as a pivotal sub-field of Medical Science, there are numerous medical institutions around the world that offer a plethora of courses in this field. Following are some of the key universities providing a wide range of degree and diploma courses in Aerospace Medicine.
- Monash University
- King’s College London
- The University of Sydney
- University of Pretoria
- University of Otago
- University of North Dakota
- Wright State University
- Auckland University of Technology
Career in Aerospace Medicine in India
The Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) is the sole institute in India for students who aspire to make a career in aerospace medicine. It is one of its kind in entire South Asia for conducting courses in Aerospace Medicine/ Students must complete their MBBS and then specialize in a Doctor of Medicine level (MD).
Career Opportunities in Aerospace Medicine
Combining the broad spectrum of Medical Science with Aviation, there is an array of sectors offering job prospects in Aerospace Medicine. Here is a list of employment areas in which you can build a prosperous career after completing a degree in Aerospace Medicine:
- Federal Aviation Administration
- National Transport and Safety Board
- Airline Medical department
- Airline Medical Clinic
- Aerospace Manufacturing
- Commercial Spaceflight Operations
Aerospace Medicine has many companies across the world that are connected to making space-related medicines and other pills. There are many job positions available for students who have received complete training in aerospace medicine. The average salary package for aerospace medicine in India can range from Rs. INR 10 lakhs -20 lakhs p.a.
The domain of Aerospace Medicine is expanding with the advent of biotechnology and innovations in aviation as well. Further, it has sprouted into a varied array of disciplines such as,
- Clinical/Civil/Military Aerospace Medicine
- Space Medicine
- Operational Medicine
- Emergency Aerospace Medicine
- Interplanetary & Space Station Medicine
- Research and Development
- Industrial Aerospace Medicine
- Gerontology & Geriatric Aerospace Medicine
Aerospace or Aviation Medicine is a specialised field of preventive and occupational medicine and corresponds to the medical treatment and handling medical emergencies in a space environment.
Yes, NASA requires specialised medical practitioners with expertise in aviation and aerospace medicine and can efficiently tackle medical emergencies faced by astronauts in a space environment.
MD Aviation Medicine is commonly offered as a 2-year course for MBBS graduates aiming to gain expertise in the field of Aerospace and Flight Medicine.
MBBS graduates can opt for an MD in Aerospace Medicine to apply for opportunities to work with NASA.
If you are curious about the amalgamation of Medical Science with Aviation, a course in Aerospace Medicine can provide you with an insight into the know-how of Space Medicine as well as Aeromedical Care. Take the help of Leverage Edu‘s AI tool to browse through a wide range of courses in this unique specialisation of Medical Science and find the right combination of program and university that fits your interests and career ambitions.