What Will I Learn in an Aviation Studies Degree Program?
You can learn about entering the aviation industry as a pilot or air traffic controller through an associate's or bachelor's degree program in aviation studies or a related field. You might even acquire some of the knowledge and practical experience required for FAA licensure. If you want to learn more about aviation studies, keep reading.
What Will I Study in an Aviation Degree Program?
Many programs allow you to choose from professional pilot, non-flying aviation management, air traffic and aviation management concentrations. Pursuing a professional pilot concentration will allow you to cover basic flight operations, and you might even be able to receive hands-on flight instruction. An aviation management concentration will allow you to explore the business aspects of the aviation industry. If you pursue an air traffic concentration, you'll be able to focus your studies on airport operations.
Regardless of what type of degree or concentration you pursue, you'll learn the fundamentals of aviation studies. These might include Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines, principles of flight, meteorology, air traffic control and air freight transportation.
|Areas of Focus||Basic flight operations, business aspects, airport operations|
|Degree Levels||Associate's and bachelor's|
|Career Options||Pilot, air traffic controller|
What Programs Are Available to Me?
If you're looking for a degree in aviation studies, you can earn a Bachelor of Science in Aviation. If you're looking for a 2-year program, you can earn an associate's degree in aviation science, air traffic control, or flight management. These programs are commonly offered by community colleges, vocational schools or dedicated flight-training institutes.
How Can I Use My Degree?
After you graduate, you can use your degree to start a career as a pilot. Most employers look for a 2-year degree; however, you'll need to meet additional FAA requirements for a pilot's license. These requirements usually include a medical exam, certified flight experience with an FAA instructor and a written exam.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job openings for airline pilots, copilots and flight engineers were expected to rise 3% between 2016 and 2026, but job opportunities for commercial pilots are expected to increase by 4% during the same period (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that median earnings for airline pilots and flight engineers were $140,340 as of May 2018 and that commercial pilots received median earnings of $82,240 during the same year.
You can also apply the knowledge you've acquired in a 2-year or 4-year program to work as an air traffic controller. However, you'll need to pass an FAA test before you can enter the field. The BLS reports that if you don't have any previous experience, you'll need to enter this field before your 31st birthday. If you earn a degree through an FAA-certified program, you might also need a recommendation from your school. According to the BLS, the number of air traffic controllers should grow by 3% between 2016 and 2026. The BLS reports that the median wages for air traffic controllers were $124,540 in 2018.