Though master's degree programs specifically in aviation law don't exist in the United States, students who are interested in the field can pursue a Master of Laws (LL.M.) with a concentration in U.S. government or international law or a Master of Science (M.S.) in Airport Management. These programs provide instruction in the various regulations and policies, protocols, legal matters and issues within air transportation through traditional coursework.
Applicants to the LL.M program must have a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from an American Bar Association-accredited school and submit a current resume, recommendation letters and a statement of intent. To apply to an M.S. program, students must hold a bachelor's degree and submit letters of recommendation.
Master of Laws Degree
The year-long LL.M. curriculum includes one to three courses in aviation law and covers trade regulations, international transport laws, treaties and international contracts, airport administration, foreign aviation policies and economic issues. Students can expect to learn about procedural practices in aviation emergencies, the responsibilities of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and a number of treaty agreements that govern the international laws of air travel. Other common topics include:
- Safety measures
- Aviation privileges
- Cargo regulations
- Post-Sept. 11 laws
Master of Science in Airport Management
In M.S. programs in airport management, students learn about U.S. airport regulations, safety management, regulatory agencies, air space laws, liability and insurance issues, labor relations and aviation crimes. Possible course titles include:
- Governing agencies
- Aviation crimes and occupation laws
- Air traffic management
- U.S. and global aviation organizations
Airport management master's degree holders are qualified for executive-level management positions in the industry. Possible job titles include:
- Accident investigator
- Airport manager
- Safety controller
LL.M. graduates are eligible to work in education, government or private practice. Possible job titles include:
- Community college instructor
- Federal attorney
- Multinational attorney
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for lawyers is expected to grow at a rate of 6% between 2014 and 2024, with a mean annual salary of $136,260 as of May 2015.
At the master's degree level, there are two degree options for students interested in aviation law: an LL.M., which is aimed at experienced lawyers looking to expand their expertise in the field, and an M.S., which prepares students for careers in airport management.