Students may learn about private, commercial or military aircraft in an aeronautics bachelor's program. Many programs also incorporate business courses designed to provide students with the skills necessary for managerial careers. Some programs include an option for focused study in air traffic control, commercial aviation or aviation technology. Certain jobs in this field may require candidates to earn certification or licensure after graduation. Students enrolling in the program should have a strong background in math and science, and prior flight experience may be required
In choosing an aeronautics major, students commit to learning many facets of aviation technology and aviation industry management, including skills relevant to careers from aeronautic equipment design to ground support and piloting aircrafts. These programs normally take four years to complete. Though courses may vary based on a student's specialization, common courses typically include the following:
- History of aviation
- Basic flight training
- Aeronautic propulsion systems
- Aircraft engine design
- Aviation controls
- Aeronautic navigation systems
Popular Career Options
Many careers are available for graduates from aeronautics programs, including roles in manufacturing, safety, research and flying. These careers may include the following:
- Air traffic controller
- Aviation technician
- Commercial pilot
- Aeronautics electronics specialist
- Aviation safety expert
Career Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that job openings for air traffic controllers would decline by -9% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). Air traffic controllers earned a median salary of $122,950 as of May 2015, per the BLS. Meanwhile, job openings for airline and commercial pilots should grow by 5% in the 2014-2024 decade, and commercial pilots earned a median salary of $76,150 as of May 2015, according to BLS reports.
Continuing Education Information
Certification requirements in aeronautics vary significantly by career field. For example, pilots are required to be licensed through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Though the requirements are significantly different, aircraft technicians are also required to possess FAA certification. Students seeking career advancement commonly pursue master's or doctoral degrees in aeronautics. Many students purse graduate majors intended to develop expertise in subdisciplines, such as air and space law, aerospace engineering or aviation safety.
Aeronautics bachelor's degree programs prepare students for careers in fields like air traffic control, aviation safety and piloting. Some flight training may be a program requirement, and students also learn about aviation technology and aircraft design.