Graduates of aviation degrees often earn an Associate of Science (AS) or a Bachelor of Science (BS), and they will normally be prepared to sit for any licensing exams required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Such programs are available through community colleges, universities, and specialized aviation schools.
Some programs are available online, but they may require applicants to be licensed pilots.
Associate's Degree Programs in Aviation Maintenance Technology
These programs often focuses on general aircraft maintenance or aviation management. Students can learn to inspect, repair and maintain helicopters and airplanes, as well as learn to troubleshoot avionics electronics. Upon completion, individuals may take the FAA exams for professional licensure as an aircraft mechanic. They can earn a combined airframe and powerplant mechanic license or a single license in either category. Students will participate in hands-on labs and lectures and may also take part in internships. In the classroom they may study topics such as:
- Air transportation regulations
- Repair materials and tools
- Airplane servicing techniques
- Deciphering aircraft blueprints
- Servicing aircraft engines
Bachelor's Degree Programs in Aeronautics
Also known as aviation flight operation, these programs can prepare students for various aviation careers, including pilot and management positions. Students generally study flight regulations, aircraft systems and practical flying techniques. They can build problem-solving skills and learn to communicate as business professionals. They can also gain the skills needed to pass FAA licensing examinations. First-time students typically have to take general education courses, as well as core studies in aviation. Major topics of study commonly consist of:
- Aviation meteorology
- History of aviation
- Air traffic control
- Aviation security and law
Popular Career Options
Students enrolled in these programs can prepare for a wide variety of employment opportunities involved in the aviation industry. These positions could include:
- Aviation manager
- Aviation safety expert
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians is expected to increase by 1% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also indicated that in 2015, these professionals earned a median annual salary of $58,390.
After completing a bachelor's degree, students may continue on into master's degree programs to study subjects like aviation management or aviation safety. At this level, students can study subjects like transportation security, human factors in aviation, labor relations and international aviation in order to prepare for, or to advance in, management positions in aviation settings. Beyond the master's degree level, Ph.D. programs are also available in aviation management.
Associate's or bachelor's degree programs are available for those interested in a career in aviation. Although there are a variety of careers within the field, job growth is very slow.