Aviation managers oversee that many processes in the airline industry run smoothly. They need at least a bachelor's degree for lower levels of management, but a master's degree is required for most upper-level positions.
Managers in the aviation and airline industry are responsible for the hiring of employees. They also ensure that luggage arrives on time and that airports run smoothly. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement to begin a career in aviation management, with a master's degree often required for higher-level positions. In these programs, students learn basic business skills with an emphasis on specialized information for the aviation industry. Some programs include internships.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in aviation management; master's for upper-level positions|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||4% for airfield operations specialists*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$156,878 for aviation managers**|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com
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Aviation Management Education Requirements
A bachelor's degree program in aviation management prepares students for entry-level careers in airline and airport management. A master's degree program in aviation management qualifies graduates for advanced supervisory and administrative roles in the industry. A common option is a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in aviation management, but Bachelor of Science degrees are also available.
Bachelor of Science
A bachelor's degree in aviation management is considered to be the minimum requirement for management-level positions in the airline and airport industries. Generally, an aviation management bachelor's degree program provides instruction in several areas pertinent to the field, including finance, accounting, communication and marketing.
While a majority of these areas account for the business core commonly required in an undergraduate aviation management degree program, aviation courses cover topics such as aviation insurance, labor relations, management of airlines, airport administration and principles of transportation.
Master of Business Administration
A master's degree program in business administration with an emphasis in aviation management provides students with a strong foundation in business and management and specialized courses of study in aviation management. Some possible concentration areas a student can choose include airline maintenance and sales, executive oversight and airline management and financial management of airlines and airports.
However, before a concentration is chosen, a student must first complete core classes in business, which may cover management of marketing, financial management, information technology and managerial accounting. Depending on the university offering the degree, the program finishes with the completion of a thesis or an internship.
According to ONet Online there is expected to be a 2-4% increase in projected growth for airfield operations specialist. The best opportunities for employment are with smaller carriers and airports that have lower costs. Salary.com reports that the median annual salary for an aviation manager was $156,878 in 2016.
Aviation managers need strong interpersonal communication, problem solving and process logistics skills. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement, but many managers hold master's degrees in business administration with concentrations in aviation management. The job market is tight in this field, with the best opportunities at small airports and with smaller carriers.