PhD in Aviation Management: Info on Doctoral Programs

Airline industry professionals who want to pursue the highest degree in the field can pursue a Ph.D. in Aviation. Although these programs are rare, they provide advanced theoretical and research training in this subject.

Essential Information

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in Aviation are designed for aviation professionals interested in furthering research and development in the aviation industry. These multidisciplinary programs include classroom lectures and individual research projects that explore the principles of aviation safety management, business management, economics, airline industry foundations and airline regulations. Students learn how to pool their collective knowledge and experience to solve real-world industry problems and advance existing technologies and procedures. Prior to graduation, students must submit a dissertation.

In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's and a master's degree in a related field. Most schools also require students to have extensive professional experience in aviation-related careers; applicants may have worked as flight instructors, aviation managers, airline safety specialists, or aviation engineers.

Ph.D. in Aviation Management

Courses in a Ph.D. program in aviation cover advanced theories and concepts in multiple areas of the aviation industry. Possible course titles include:

  • Foundations of the aviation industry
  • Historical developments in aviation
  • Aviation safety management
  • Aviation and the economic environment
  • Aviation and law
  • Quantitative research methods

Popular Career Options

A Ph.D. in Aviation doesn't prepare individuals for any specific career in the aviation industry; rather, they are designed to provide experienced professionals with an extra level of knowledge that can help them in their current careers. The degree can also prepare them direct their aviation careers toward research or academia. Some positions that are open to graduates of a Ph.D. program include:

  • Airline executive
  • Airline safety regulations manager
  • Flight instructor
  • Aviation management professor
  • Aeronautical engineer
  • Professor
  • Researcher

Job Outlook & Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that employment for postsecondary teachers would grow by 13% between 2014 and 2024, while aerospace engineers and top executives will likely see -2% and 6% changes in employment, respectively (www.bls.gov). In May 2015, the average salary for a college professor was $71,060; however, salaries varied by specific subject. Aerospace engineers made an average of $110,570 during that year, while chief executives managing private companies made the highest average salary, $220,700, in May 2015.

Doctoral programs in aviation provide experienced aviation professionals with the field expertise and research skills they need to direct their careers toward academic study or pursue executive positions in the field.

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