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Top Online Aviation Degrees For 2024

An online aviation degree can help you prepare for careers related to airports and airplanes.

If you’re interested in taking to the skies or helping others enjoy safe, smooth flights, then you might consider earning an aviation bachelor’s degree. Professionals with aviation training tend to hold exciting jobs and earn above average salaries.

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Aviation is a diverse field with a range of career opportunities, so you may want to take a look at where an online degree in aviation could lead you.

Online Aviation Degrees

There are programs that allow you to train online for a career in aviation and aeronautics. Whether you want to work in airport management, airplane maintenance, or flight services, you can take online courses to develop your expertise in your chosen field.

Studying aviation online at the best aviation colleges can involve exploring concepts related to science, business, mechanics, security, and law.

Aviation curriculum often includes courses on:

  • Flight safety
  • Weather and Aviation
  • Navigation systems
  • Aviation leadership principles.
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Many students focus on a particular concentration area. Concentration options typically include:

  • Aviation management
  • Aircraft maintenance
  • Flight

To prepare you for a certain career path, your coursework may focus primarily on your area of interest. For some specialties, you may be required to earn a pilot’s license. While many aviation principles can be studied online, becoming licensed requires spending time in the cockpit of a real plane.

You may need to qualify for your license before enrollment or go through training at a local site that’s approved by your college program. Studies in aviation maintenance may require hands-on training at a local facility as well. Some schools require applicants to have an airframe and powerplant mechanic certificate.

Getting an aviation degree can help prepare you for other certifications that are required for various roles. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) oversees many of the certificate programs in this field.

Common aviation careers include airline pilot, air traffic controller, and airplane mechanic. Professionals in the field who are interested in business tend to pursue roles in aviation management. Managers coordinate the personnel, operations, and finances of flight-related organizations, such as airports, airlines, and airplane manufacturers.

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Aviation Careers & Salaries

Aviation studies can lead to a variety of jobs related to airports, aircraft, and flight. Some students with an aviation major want to become pilots. The two main types of pilots are airline pilots and commercial pilots.

Airline pilots and copilots are employed by airlines, and they run flights according to set schedules. Pilots may transport people or cargo. Many works for major airlines, but there are also government jobs for airline pilots.

Commercial pilots provide flight services as needed. They may be a corporate, charter, tour, or medical pilots. They can also offer agricultural services, such as spraying fields.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in transportation and material moving pay a median annual salary of $34,080, but jobs related to flight and aircraft often pay higher.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Chief Executives $185,950
Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers $160,970
Air Traffic Controllers $130,420
General and Operations Managers $103,650
Commercial Pilots $93,300
Avionics Technicians $67,840
Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians $66,440
Flight Attendants $59,050
Airfield Operations Specialists $51,330
Transportation Security Screeners $44,300
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Some of the above jobs may require additional training or certification beyond a bachelor’s degree in aviation. Graduates who want to take to the skies in a different capacity may consider careers as flight attendants. This job involves working closely with pilots and helping keep passengers safe and secure.

Another branch of aviation to consider is aircraft repair and maintenance. Aircraft technicians usually focus on planes’ mechanical and electrical systems. Avionics technicians deal with electronic instruments.

There are also a number of aviation jobs associated with airports. For example, transportation security screeners make sure that people and materials passing through the airport comply with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) standards.

Air traffic controllers provide instructions to pilots during takeoff and landing, and they also pay attention to airplanes’ in-flight progress. Airfield operations specialists work closely with air traffic controllers and maintenance staff.

Airports also depend on a variety of managers. Professionals in airport management may head up various departments or individual airlines’ operations. Airports often have chief executives as well. Aircraft manufacturers also hire managers.

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Aviation Curriculum & Courses

During your time in college, you may study aviation business, flight principles, airplane maintenance, and airport operations. Here are examples of courses you may come across in your studies:

  • Aerodynamics: Aircraft must be aerodynamic, so this class will focus on the scientific principles that allow aircraft to take flight and remain stable.
  • Airport Security: Strict rules govern aviation safety and security practices, so this class covers the regulations and how to comply with them.
  • Aviation Administration: This course provides an overview of marketing, facility operations, and other business principles related to aviation management.
  • Aviation Regulations: During your time in this class, you’ll explore the laws and rules related to flight and talk about what it’s like to work in complicated, high-stress environments.
  • Corporate Flight: This course addresses business and operations principles for students who want to provide on-demand flight services for corporate clients.
  • International Aviation Business: Many flights cross national borders, so this course covers essential principles for coordinating operations in other countries.
  • Leadership for Aviation: In this class, you’ll learn to promote teamwork, safety, and efficiency in aviation settings, and you’ll discuss case studies related to these principles.
  • Navigation: Modern aviation involves various navigation tools in the aircraft and the control tower, and this course will teach you how to use some of them.
  • Safety Principles: Everyone involved in aviation plays a role in making sure flights are safe, so this course will discuss methods for reducing accidents.
  • Turbine Engines: You’ll study turbine engine theory in this class and become more familiar with the operations and maintenance of these engines.
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There’s usually overlap among specialties, but your curriculum list will likely depend on what branch of aviation you choose to study.

How to Choose an Online Aviation Program

Not all online bachelor’s degrees in aviation are the same, so it’s strategic to compare and contrast program characteristics to help you find the best program for your needs.

  • Accreditation. The most respected college degrees come from schools that have the approval of one of the country’s regional accrediting agencies.
  • Certification opportunities. Completing select aviation programs may qualify you to take a certification exam for becoming a flight attendant, an airline pilot, or an air traffic controller.
  • Format. Online college programs use a variety of formats, such as at-your-own-pace classes, hybrid campus-online programs, accelerated course schedule, and synchronous live classes. It’s helpful to determine your ideal online format.
  • Prerequisites. Some programs require students to already hold a pilot’s license or a mechanic certificate. Others provide a pathway to earn the necessary certificates during your studies.
  • Price. Many students count tuition costs as one of the top factors in where they go to school. While it’s important to consider your budget, financial aid may help bring a pricier school within reach.
  • Specializations. If there’s a particular branch of aviation that interests you, you can choose a school that offers a program for that particular concentration. For example, if you want a career in aircraft service, a degree in aviation maintenance might make more sense than a general aviation management program.
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An admissions counselor can help you learn more about the characteristics of the aviation program that you’re considering.

Admissions Requirements

Getting into an aviation program is similar to applying for other bachelor’s degree programs, but there may be additional requirements, too.

  • High school transcripts. These official forms show your previous coursework and grades.
  • Mechanic certificate. Some studies require students to possess a mechanic certificate that covers airframe and powerplant skills.
  • Pilot’s license. You may have to be FAA approved as a pilot either before beginning college or by a certain point in your program.
  • Standardized test scores (if required). This isn’t a universal requirement, but some colleges request SAT or ACT scores.

The admissions requirements can depend on which aviation specialty you plan to study.

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Accreditation

Your academic plans may change part way through your studies. If you decide to go to another school or switch programs, it’s helpful to be able to transfer as many of your previous credits as you can. To increase the possibility of a smooth transfer, it’s beneficial to attend a regionally accredited college.

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Accredited colleges have been evaluated and approved by an accrediting agency. This shows that they meet industry standards for a good education. Regional accreditation is the most highly respected form of accreditation in the US. Employers appreciate and recognize accredited degrees, too.

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