An aviation degree is often the first step towards a career in the flight industry. It prepares you for a wide range of careers, and gives you comprehensive knowledge on flying and flight management, as well as information on the latest technologies involved in the industry.
You might be surprised to learn this degree program doesn't guarantee you'll graduate with pilot certification. Instead, many aviation degrees—especially at the graduate level—aim to develop managers and executives who service the aviation industry. Fuel shortages and environmental concerns are just two issues facing this field. Aviation managers must find creative solutions to keep their businesses profitable. For commercial flights, this could be through efficient loading procedures, improved safety factors and better resource management. Job opportunities abound in aircraft design companies, airports, airlines and the military and government sectors.
THE CAREER PATH
Aviation might seem like a narrow degree field, but there are actually numerous possibilities for this education. You can work in some of the more obvious careers, such as air traffic controller or airline pilot, or you can work in one of the many support-oriented positions, such as a flight instructor or the airline manager. These careers give you the chance to work in the industry under many different capacities, and it’s all possible when you select the right online aviation degree.
Earn an online aviation degree and become a pro in the flight industry. The advantages of this degree field are just as numerous. First of all, you can work in a position that has an excellent salary. As we’ll show below, you can work in a position that has a median salary well over $100,000, and you can do it with as little as an associate’s degree in an aviation field. Money, of course, is not everything. With this education, you also have the chance to work in a fun, exciting, and interesting industry. Imagine flying every day for a living: that’s the reality for many people who have aviation degrees!
- Air Traffic Controller—Air traffic controllers are the traffic cops of the flight industry. They coordinate the movement of aircraft from one place to another, working to ensure that the aircrafts maintain safe distances while everything moves efficiently. Working from control towers, they monitor traffic, communicate with pilots, and issue takeoff and landing instructions. With a median salary of $124,540, the pay for this career is outstanding, and for people in the top 10% of the field, salaries are over $175,800 a year. The growth for this career, however, is slightly less than the average, which is largely caused by technology that will allow fewer controllers to handle more air traffic.
- Airline Pilot—Airline pilots are employed by airlines to transport people and cargo on a highly planned schedule. As the pilot of an airline plane, it’s your job to supervise the crew and monitor instruments, in addition to flying the plane from one destination to another. Airline pilots are well compensated, with median annual salaries at $111,930 and the top 10% earning over $208,000! The airline pilot career will only grow by 4%, a stagnation in growth caused by higher-capacity planes, which means the industry needs fewer pilots to transport the same amount of people and cargo.
WHO IS THE IDEAL CANDIDATE?
While virtually anyone can learn how to be an air traffic controller or pilot, there are some traits that will help you excel in an aviation degree. First of all, good motor skills and hand-eye coordination will help you in your education and career, as you’ll need these skills to control both planes and the advanced equipment required by the industry. You’ll also need technical comprehension and logical thinking, which will help you make decisions quickly. Finally, the ability to stay calm and make appropriate decisions in times of trouble will be crucial to your long-term success. If you have some of these traits, you may be the ideal person to study aviation and join this outstanding industry.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR?
The aviation industry is big business, and available online classes reflect this fact. Most online aviation degree programs feature an administrative or management aspect. These programs provide training in organizational behavior, human resources and management strategies. Additional courses focus on leadership training, business law, finance and ethics. While you won't necessarily learn how to fly a plane under this major, expect a class or two to break down the science of flying. You'll also study the economics of airlines—how and why transportation companies make money. Operations management, logistics management and safety management courses are also popular.
The most popular aviation degree programs online are master's in business administration or MBA degrees. These are geared for working professionals. If you're a mid-level manager who wishes to move up in your aviation career, consider earning this degree. You'll learn how to analyze financial issues and create solutions for inefficient processes in daily operations.
If piloting is your career goal, start racking up hours now through an internship at a local airfield. Flying privileges are closely regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). To snag a pilot job, you'll need to earn a flight certification. This will require thousands of hours of in-flight experience. The level of flight certificate you earn will dictate the type of plane and passenger you can fly. Each certification level requires a specific number of in-flight hours as well as a passing grade on an aviation exam.
Each aviation degree is different, so do your research before enrolling in a program. One of the first things you should do is to review the classes to make sure they will help you reach your goals. If you want to be a pilot, make sure there are pilot-focused classes. You should also verify if the program is 100% online or if there are in-person requirements for classes. If there are classes that you need to attend in person, this can obviously disrupt your work or busy schedule.
Aviation is one of the most interesting and rewarding degrees you can complete. Click on a listing below to access tuition, accreditation, and admission information and begin to launch your exciting career in the aviation industry today!