Is Aviation a Science?

Aviation refers to the science and engineering of flight. Read on to learn more about what aviation means, along with education requirements and job opportunities in the field. Schools offering Aviation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Aviation Definition

Aviation is not strictly a science, but it's closely related to the science of aeronautics. 'Aviation' refers to the design, development, operation and production of aircraft. In some cases, the term 'aviation' is used to mean 'aeronautics' and vice versa. Aeronautics is the science of creating machines that are able to fly. A common major offered by universities is aviation science, which examines the aviation field from a more scientific perspective.

Important Facts About These Occupations

Aerospace Engineers Aircraft Mechanics
Licensure/Certification Engineering licensure is not mandatory but can allow for greater leadership responsibilities Voluntary certification is available through the FAA may enhance career prospects
Key Skills Analytical, math, and problem-solving skills Agility, strength, dexterity, observational skills
Work Environment Work in industries focused on aircraft, spacecraft, or defense Hangars or airfields with a rate of injury higher than the national average; sometimes work is deadline-driven
Similar Occupations Computer hardware engineers, electrical engineers Automotive technicians, electricians

Educational Opportunities

Depending on what kind of job you want, majors that might interest you include aviation science, aviation management, aviation mechanics, aeronautical science, aviation technology and aviation engineering. Associate's degrees and certificate programs are available if you're looking for an entry-level position. Bachelor's degree and graduate programs are recommended for engineering positions. Some coursework you can expect to see includes classes like air transportation, aviation safety, aerodynamic basics and aviation legislation.

Job Opportunities

Aerospace engineers and aeronautical engineers work with aircrafts, designing, constructing and then testing them to ensure they work properly. Structural design, instrumentation and communication, navigation and control, production methods and guidance are all factors that you'll address as an aerospace engineer.

Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and service technicians help take care of aircrafts by making repairs, performing inspections and conducting regular maintenance. Most of this work is done in a preventive format, taking care of engines, instruments and landing gears before they break down. Recordkeeping is a huge part of this job, ensuring that it is easy to reference and check all parts of a specific plane.

Salary Information and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), aerospace engineers earned a mean annual income of $107,700 in May 2014. The aerospace product and parts manufacturing industry had the highest level of employment for aerospace engineers. Employment opportunities for aerospace engineers are expected to decline by 2% from 2014 to 2024.

In May 2014, the BLS reported that aircraft mechanics and service technicians earned a mean annual income of $58,850. Additionally, the job growth for this career is expected to be only 1% from 2014 to 2024, very little change in comparison to other careers. The top-paying industry for this vocation in 2014 was semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing (www.bls.gov).

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