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What Is Aviation Science?

Aviation science refers to aircraft operations and support systems. In addition to flight operations, it includes aircraft maintenance, air traffic control, airport and airline management. Read this article to learn more about aviation science.

Aviation Science Defined

The aerospace and aviation industry includes a wide range of careers requiring a variety of skill sets. Aviation science is the study of the basic components required for a career in this industry. Aviation science includes all the support systems that keep airlines running in a safe, efficient and orderly fashion, including air traffic control, airport operations, airline management, maintenance and piloting an aircraft.

Important Facts About This Field of Study

Prerequisites Bachelor's degree in the related field for the master's program; GRE scores, master's degree and industry experience for a Ph.D. program
Online Availability Fully online programs available
Work Environment Airfields, airports, control towers
Key Skills Dexterity, communication, problem-solving
Median Salary (2018) $63,060 (for aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 5% growth (for aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Degree Options

There are various degrees available in aviation science, ranging from associate's degrees to bachelor's, master's and even doctoral degrees. Most students will choose a program or a concentration that focuses on a specific area, such as aircraft maintenance or commercial piloting. Associate's degree programs in aviation science prepare students for entry-level positions or further study in the industry within two years.

Bachelor's degree programs provide a wider focus, typically including liberal arts and management courses. These degrees are often designed to prepare those who complete the degree for entry-level employment within the aviation industry. Some also include coursework that readies students for graduate-level study in a master's or doctoral degree program. Some bachelor's degree programs lead to a commercial pilot's license.

Graduate aviation science programs explore advanced topics in-depth, such as research and development of aerospace equipment. They combine business administration skills with aviation industry knowledge for upper-level management positions.

Program Topics

A program in aviation science will cover a wide range of topics relevant to the aviation industry. Topics may include aircraft design, instrumentation and aviation communications systems. Aviation science programs also discuss the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, environmental concerns, human resource management and airline procedures. Airport or airline operations are also covered.


From entry-level positions at a regional airline to managing the operations of an entire airport, there are numerous positions in the aviation industry requiring knowledge of aviation science. Aviation science careers include those as maintenance managers, aircraft technicians, pilots and flight instructors. Graduates with an aviation science degree can also work as air traffic controllers, safety inspectors or airline managers.