Individuals interested in airfield and airport management should be able to pay close attention to detail, be effective communicators and be excellent at time management. Certificate programs are the quickest way to train for entry into this profession, requiring less than a year of study. Coursework generally covers topics such as airport scheduling, safety and security procedures and aviation law. Students also get basic business knowledge in areas such as finance and management.
Associate and bachelor's degree programs include many of the courses covered in certificate programs, and certificate credits will often transfer. Bachelor's degree courses may also include studies in international airport management, airport design and labor relations. Students at both levels must complete general education courses including algebra, English composition and science.
Airport Management Certificate
An airport management certificate program equips the student with basic knowledge in the functions and procedures of directing airport functions. Upon completion of most programs, students will be able to assess factors impacting airline delay, handle security aspects of an airport and be familiar with Federal Aviation Regulations.
Completion of a certificate program in airport management can take 16-20 credit hours. Coursework typically involves classroom learning and offers general base knowledge in airport scheduling, finance and operation. Some course topics might include:
- Laws in aviation
- Safety procedures
- Security in aviation
- Managing the airfield
- Operations of the airport industry
- Fundamentals of airport finances
Associate of Applied Science in Airport Management
This program offers students the fundamentals needed to understand the varied aspects of working in the airport and airfield environment. Business aspects of the industry, such as marketing and finance, may be paired with the specific concerns involved with working in the aviation field, such as improving airport design to enhance productivity and addressing security issues. In addition, aviation ground school is typically a part of this degree program, which enables better communication between airport management and both pilots and aircraft mechanical personnel.
An associate degree in airport management typically takes two years to complete. The second year of instruction is usually focused on the study of airport management. Course topics could include:
- Airline marketing
- Airport laws and regulations
- Airport safety
- Ground school for flight instructors
- Aviation history
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Bachelor of Science in Airport Management
Bachelor's degree programs in airport management offer a curriculum with a strong emphasis on business principles tailored to the unique business design of airport management. Those working in airport management must coordinate consumer needs, security, airplane mechanics, air traffic control and airline productivity. Because of the multifaceted nature of this niche, the emphasis is placed on communication, flexibility and being able to work with others as a team.
Many universities admit students with high school diplomas or equivalent into Bachelor of Science degree programs in airport management. However, some universities only accept college transfer students or associate degree graduates. In these cases, most majors are accepted, though studying business or an aviation-related field is recommended.
Most bachelor's degree programs in airport management take four years to complete, although schools that accept only college transfers offer 2-year programs of academic study for students who already have associate degrees. Coursework is typically focused on building knowledge of airport and airfield systems, communication abilities and business skills. Other courses can include:
- Airline marketing
- International airport management
- Security and safety
- Aviation regulatory enforcement ethics
- Air cargo management
- Labor relations in aviation
Popular Career Options
Certificate programs in airport management train individuals for entry-level employment. Potential positions could include:
- Airfield operations officer
- Finance assistant
- Airport safety officer
An associate degree qualifies the graduate for employment at both regional and international airports. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities are better at smaller airports. Upon completion of this degree program, graduates could seek employment in a variety of aviation-related occupations, such as:
- Airfield operations specialist
- Airport safety and regulations manager
- Supervisor of airport consumer affairs
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the BLS, administrative service managers made a median yearly salary of $86,110 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov).
For those seeking upper-level management positions in airport services, a master's degree is recommended. Interested individuals could work towards a master's degree program in aviation or business with specializations in airport planning or aviation.
Because airports are highly complex institutions, undergraduate certificate and degree programs in airfield and airport management are wide-ranging, emphasizing both theoretical studies and practical skills-building. Associate's and bachelor's degree programs typically go beyond certificate programs by offering general education studies alongside courses in airfield and airport management.