Online Aeronautical Degrees: Overview by Program Level

Get info about online programs in aeronautics. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, as well as career and continuing education options.

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Essential Information

Degree programs in aeronautics are available entirely online at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. In associate's and bachelor's degree programs, students must complete general education courses such as English composition, mathematics and science. Courses in aeronautics examine the fundamentals of the industry, including aviation safety, business management, aviation maintenance and aviation law.

Students at the bachelor's degree level take more intensive courses such as meteorology and aerodynamics, and these programs are designed for applicants with some field experience.

Applicants to a master's degree program must have a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering or a related field. These programs may allow for specialized studies in areas such as spacecraft, aviation safety and management.

Associate's Degree in Aeronautics

Associate of Science (A.S.) degree programs in aeronautics are available completely online. Programs can be completed in two years.

Program Information and Requirements

Entering students must have a high school diploma or GED. Applicants should have completed high school classes in English, algebra, history or social sciences and lab sciences.

All A.S. degree program information, including course material and orientation details can be accessed online at all times of day. Students' computers must be equipped with speakers and a webcam to participate in class video Web conferencing. Faculty and classmates also interact through e-mail and online discussion boards.

List of Common Associate's Level Aeronautics Courses

To fulfill requirements for the A.S. degree, students take general education courses in English, writing, physical sciences, social sciences, economics and math.

Statistics For Aviation

This statistics course covers samples, populations, descriptive statistics, basic probability, distributions, random variables, tendency and dispersion. Class participants test hypotheses on samples of various sizes to get an understanding of correlation coefficients, Chi-squares and confidence intervals.

Aviation Law

This course traces the development and history of state and federal regulations. Students learn about the liabilities and employee rights of aviation staff, including pilots, airplane manufacturers and airport workers. Topics include criminal statutes, international agreements, liens and case studies.

Aeronautics for Management

This is an introductory class on aviation aimed at future management professionals. Students learn about the career environment of aviation, safety and security, flight science and meteorology.

Career Information for Graduates with Aeronautics Degrees

Online aeronautical degrees prepare graduates for a variety of careers within the aircraft and aerospace industry. The list of potential employers is long, and includes the aerospace industry, government agencies, airlines, flight schools, aircraft manufacturers, defense contractors and insurance firms, among others.

There are many possible job titles in this field as well. Potential careers include pilot, aerospace engineer, aircraft manufacturer, accident investigator, aviation safety and maintenance worker, airport management staff, ground support and flight crew, electronics or avionics technician, air traffic controller and more.

Students can gain entry to some of these careers with an associate's degree, but other careers will require at least a bachelor's or a master's degree.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), airline pilots, co-pilots and flight engineers made a median annual salary of $117,290 in May of 2015 ( Aerospace engineers earned a median annual salary of $107,830 that same month and year.

Continuing Education Information

Some of the positions available to aeronautics degree holders, such as pilot and air traffic controller, require additional training, certification or licensure.

Bachelor's Degree in Aeronautics

Programs are available online for a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Professional Aeronautics or a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in professional aeronautics.

Program Information and Requirements

Online bachelor's programs are recommended for applicants with some experience in the field, such as air traffic controllers, pilots, meteorologists, flight engineers and aviation maintenance staff. Some schools will allow professional expertise to count as prior-learning credit. Programs can be completed in as few as three years.

Reliable high-speed Internet access is required. Students should expect to participate in online classroom activities 3-5 days per week. Classmates and faculty communicate through Web conferencing, e-mail and online discussion forums.

List of Common Bachelor's Level Aeronautics Courses

For the bachelor's degree, students fulfill general education credits in math, English and writing, social sciences and humanities. Additional classes in safety, maintenance, security, transportation and aviation history are recommended.

Introductory Aerodynamics

In this course, students examine wing theory and the airfoil theory. Other focuses include flight conditions, compressible and incompressible flow, stall speed calculation, flight performance and drag.

Airport and Airline Management

This course discusses the development of airports and airlines and the responsibilities of their staff. This class also features historical perspectives of the role of government regulations for airlines and airports. Topics include business and management principles and how they apply to running an airport or airline.


This introductory course examines aviation in terms of atmospheric conditions. During this class, participants account for potentially dangerous factors and situations, such as wind, fog, thunderstorms, ice and turbulence. Students learn how to use and interpret pressure maps and surface maps. Topics include jet streams, horizontal and vertical pressure, air masses, fronts, thermal patterns and atmospheric moisture.

Master's Degree in Aeronautics

Graduate students can find online programs for a Master of Science (M.S.) in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering or Master of Aeronautical Science. Students choose concentrations such as management, safety systems, human factors in aviation and space studies. Some of these programs are designed for students who have an undergraduate degree in engineering, while others are open to students who have a bachelor's degree in another field, such as mathematics or one of the physical sciences.

Program Information and Requirements

Programs focused on engineering usually require that applicants hold a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering or another field of engineering. These students should have undergraduate education in thermodynamics, aerodynamics, flight and fluid mechanics, material mechanics and propulsion.

Students must have access to high-speed Internet. Recent versions of Internet browsers and operating systems are recommended.

List of Common Master's Level Aeronautics Courses

Students take advanced classes in aerodynamics, meteorology, acoustics, mechanics and mathematics for engineering. Other key classes may include control systems, space missions and aviation management.

Development of Spacecraft and Aircraft

Students learn how military, defense and economic needs shape the research and manufacture of spaceships and airplanes. This class also discusses test and maintenance systems.


In this class, students take an historical survey of the development of rotorcraft, such as helicopters. This course covers issues in rotorcraft design, configuration and manufacturing. Students examine regulations and facility requirements.

Aircraft Performance

This course explains aerodynamic performance for aircraft in terms of turbine, turboprop and reciprocating engines. Graduate students also learn in depth about balance, weight, stability and control.

Completely online degree programs at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels are available. Bachelor's degrees require some field experience and a master's degree requires a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering or a related field.

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