Associate Degree in Aviation

Degree options in aviation at the 2-year level include an associate degree program in aviation maintenance or aviation flight technology. Continue reading to learn more about these degree programs, including what they incorporate and possible career opportunities for graduates. Get info on online program options and the typical salaries for aviation professionals. Schools offering Aviation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Learn in an Aviation Associate's Degree Program?

Aviation flight technology associate's degree programs should prepare you to meet the requirements necessary to become a pilot through the completion of simulated and in-flight technical training within a 2-year time period. Some classes may train you to read weather instrumentation so you can decide whether a safe flight is possible. Other classes include safety and maintenance training so you'll know what to look for and check before and after each flight. Your studies may include flight and ground training, aviation history and flight techniques for commercial and private crafts.

In an aviation maintenance associate's degree program, you can study electronics and mechanics principles as they relate to airplanes. Classes generally will cover basic ground operations and servicing methods, such as cleaning, filling the gas and performing corrosion control, that must be done before and after every flight. Other classes typically pertain to plane maintenance and record keeping, including inspections, weights and measurements of aviation systems. In other classes, you may study electrical systems that make the plane work and specific methods for processing and repairing electrical problems. You also might study:

  • Radar and tower operations
  • Aircraft systems
  • Airplane inspection processes
  • Airline management

Key Topics Discussed Electrical systems, weather instrumentation, aircraft systems, airline management, aviation history
Learning Environment Traditional classroom and distance learning degree programs are available
Median Salary (2015) $117,290* (for all pilots, copilots, and flight engineers); $58,370* (for aircraft mechanics and service technicians)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)4% growth (for airline and commercial pilots); 5% growth (for all aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Are Online Programs Available?

Online aviation management programs are available online, however programs covering aircraft operations are not. For aircraft operations programs, you must visit campus to complete simulations and gain practical flight experience. A school may make some components of an aviation maintenance technology program available online. For instance, you may be able to use videoconferencing and video streaming to participate in lectures and Web-based educational platforms to complete course assignments. However, these programs are rare and may still have on-campus requirements so that you can gain practical experience working on planes and performing routine maintenance.

What Career Opportunities Can I Pursue?

With an associate's degree in flight technology, you could become a pilot. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most entry-level pilots have a college degree and have previously logged flight experience. To fly, you must be licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). As of May 2018, the median annual wage for pilots, copilots and flight engineers was $140,340; for commercial pilots, it was $82,240, according to the BLS (www.bls.gov).

With an associate's degree in aviation maintenance technology, you could find a job working as an aircraft service technician for an airline. Your job duties likely would include inspecting plane's landing gear, brakes, valves and other systems. The BLS states that, to work independently, a mechanic must have a license from the FAA; otherwise, he or she must work under someone who is licensed. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for aircraft mechanics and service technicians was $62,920 as of May 2018.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Utah State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Utah: Logan
  • University of Minnesota

    Campus Locations:

    • Minnesota: Crookston
  • Indiana State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Indiana: Terre Haute
  • University of Cincinnati

    Campus Locations:

    • Ohio: Batavia
  • The Community College of Baltimore County

    Campus Locations:

    • Maryland: Baltimore
  • Sinclair Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Ohio: Dayton
  • Palo Alto College

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: San Antonio
  • Pacific Union College

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Angwin
  • Naugatuck Valley Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: Waterbury
  • Lehigh Carbon Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Schnecksville