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Air Transportation Major: Information and Requirements

Majors in air transportation cover both business and technical subjects for students aspiring to enter a career in air traffic control, air transportation logistics, or airline management. Read on for major requirements and fields of study as well as course info.

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Essential Information

Some air transportation bachelor's degree programs provide education in aircraft structures, management, and business fundamentals through a range of coursework detailing airport operations, aircraft flight and piloting, and air transportation systems. Other majors focus on technical subjects, such as aircraft engine types, systems analysis, and engineering. A few schools also offer aeronautical majors, including airline or airport administration, aircraft maintenance, air traffic controlling, and aerial environmental studies.

Prerequisites are typical of bachelor's programs and usually require an introductory course before declaring an air transportation major. Specializations are also common, such as physics and engineering principles and management. Many of these programs culminate with a capstone research project. Several schools also encourage participation in commercial or student-run organizations and events for air transportation majors.


Air Transportation Management Majors

Air transportation management majors typically include courses on the history of air transportation development and its influence on politics, societies, and the global economy. Courses common to aviation management programs include:

  • Aviation and aeronautical law
  • Airport and airline management
  • U.S. air transportation policies and procedures
  • Business accounting, communication and administration

Engineering Majors

Majors focusing on engineering may include courses in:

  • Aircraft composition
  • Physics and aerodynamics
  • Plane and engine design
  • Aircraft systems and controls maintenance

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Aeronautics, Aviation, and Aerospace Science
  • Air Traffic Control
  • Airline Flight Attendant
  • Aviation Management and Operations
  • Commercial Pilot and Flight Crew
  • Flight Instructor

Majors Related to Piloting Small or Commercial Aircraft

A few schools also offer majors for students interested in piloting small or commercial aircraft. Courses within these programs teach:

  • Single-engine, jet and commercial plane operations
  • Aviation laws and regulations
  • Crew and passenger safety procedures
  • Navigation, air stability, weather and meteorology

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that transportation salaries varied depending on the specific job within the industry. For example, in 2015, annual average salaries for aerospace engineers were estimated at $110,570, while aircraft mechanics and service technicians earned $60,160. Commercial pilots took home an average income of $84,510 the same year, and air traffic controllers received a mean yearly salary of $118,740.

Continuing Education and Licensure Info

Pilots, aircraft mechanics, and air traffic controllers must meet training and licensure requirements specified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Graduates of a bachelor's degree program in air transportation can continue their studies through a master's degree program in aviation management, logistics, or engineering. The FAA also offers continuing education opportunities in the form of professional certification courses for pilots, maintenance workers, and aircraft designers.

There are many different fields a student can pursue in an air transportation bachelor's degree program, such as air transportation management, engineering, and piloting. These degree programs prepare students for a variety of jobs, many of which require licensure and offer the opportunity for professional certification and continuing education.

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