Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Aviation & Aeronautics

Prepare for a career in aviation by attending one of the top online bachelor's programs in aviation and aeronautics. Learn about common coursework, how to choose the right aviation and aeronautics program, and what careers paths are available to you. Schools offering Aviation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Best Online Aviation & Aeronautics Bachelor's Degree Programs

Online aviation and aeronautics bachelor's programs are available from a number of different universities throughout the country. When determining the top programs, we made sure to consider transfer credit policies, program flexibility, specializations, and affordability. Explore the best aviation and aeronautics bachelor's programs below.

1. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Daytona Beach, FL $9,360 60%

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide offers three online 120-credit bachelor's degrees in the field of aviation and aeronautics, including a:

  • Bachelor of Science in Aviation Maintenance
  • Bachelor of Science in Aviation Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics

The online aviation maintenance degree allows students to choose a management or safety concentration so that they can tailor their degree to match their career interests. With a unique focus on both business and aviation topics, the aviation business administration degree program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), has 12 start times per year and is designed to be flexible for working professionals. The online aeronautics degree program has a multidisciplinary course of study and allows students to exchange prior learning experiences for course credits.

2. Central Washington University

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Ellensburg, WA $8,072 90%

Central Washington University's online Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management degree program is aimed at students who want to pursue a management or administrative career in aviation or aviation maintenance. As such, this online program offers the following two specializations:

  • Maintenance Management
  • Aviation Management

This online degree program requires core coursework in a range of career-focused subjects, such as airport management and aviation career professionalism and preparation. Central Washington University's aviation department has been training students in flight and aviation management since 1975 and is the only accredited program of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.

3. University of Nebraska at Omaha

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Omaha, NE $7,790 87%

University of Nebraska at Omaha offers an online Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies degree that allows students to major in aviation studies. This online program is designed especially for non-traditional students who already have college credits or are professionals in the aviation field. Students can receive up to 21 credits for FAA flight ratings and certificates, which can help them earn their degree quickly. Along with online classes on topics like airline operations and the history of aviation, students are also able to participate in real-world internships through the Aviation Institute at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), which partners with such organizations as Midwest Aviation and the Nebraska Department of Aeronautics.

4. Texas A & M University-Central Texas

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Killeen, TX $30,934 n/a

At Texas A & M University-Central Texas, students can earn an online Bachelor of Science in Aviation Science that offers two concentrations: professional pilot and aviation management. This online program offers junior- and senior-level aviation coursework, allowing students to transfer lower level and general education coursework credits to the university and towards their degree. The pilot specialization is the only 4-year, state-supported professional program in Texas and can be completed 100% online. The aviation management specialization features comprehensive online coursework in airport and airline operations and opportunities for internships with aviation companies.

5. Everglades University

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Boca Raton, FL $17,600 77%

The online Bachelor of Science in Aviation/Aerospace degree program at Everglades University offers students the unique opportunity to choose from 1 of 7 concentration areas so that they can pursue a program of study that best matches their career goals. Students can concentrate in:

  • Aviation Safety
  • Management
  • Aviation Security
  • Unmanned Aerial Systems
  • Airport Operations Management
  • Flight Operations
  • Aviation Maintenance Management

This flexible online program is for both current aviation professionals who have FAA Certifications and those who are just entering the aviation field. Students receive a well-rounded education with courses that focus on airport planning, aviation safety, and business ethics.

Rank School Name Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
6 Middle Georgia State University Macon, GA $3,924 90%
7 Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs Danville, VA $11,520 100%
8 Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology Flushing, NY $25,260 93%
9 Saint Louis University Saint Louis, MO $43,884 96%
10 Lynn University Boca Raton, FL $38,210 94%
11 Siena Heights University Adrian, MI $27,124 100%
12 Liberty University West Liberty, WV $7,680 97%
13 LeTourneau University Longview, TX $30,210 100%
14 Hampton University Hampton, VA $26,702 95%
15 Florida Institute of Technology-Online Melbourne, FL $41,100 85%

All statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition based on 2018-2019 school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Overview of Online Aviation & Aeronautics Bachelor's Degrees

There are several types of online aviation and aeronautics bachelor's degrees available. Many of these bachelor's degree programs have a unique focus on one area of aviation and aeronautics. Some examples of concentration areas in aviation and aeronautics programs include:

  • Aviation Maintenance
  • Airport Operations Management
  • Aviation Security
  • Aviation Management
  • Aviation Business Administration
  • Aeronautics

As such, these types of programs can prepare students for a range of aviation careers where they can work for airlines, airports, or in air traffic control.

While some online bachelor's degree programs in aviation and aeronautics are designed for those with no experience in the field, other programs are specifically for working professionals or those who have already earned FAA Certifications. Additionally, a limited number of programs require that students complete lower-level and general education coursework and then transfer into the aviation and aeronautics bachelor's degree program. If an online program has any pilot license requirements, students usually can complete their flight hours in their local community.

Generally, aviation and aeronautics bachelor's degrees can be completed in a 100% format with no in-person requirements. However, some programs allow students to choose to participate in aviation-related internships. These programs can also usually be attended part- or full-time.

How Long Does It Take to Earn an Online Aviation & Aeronautics Bachelor's Degree?

Online 120-credit hour bachelor's degrees typically take 4 years to complete. Most online bachelor's degrees in aviation and aeronautics can be earned in about 3.5 to 4 years.

However, other factors, such as part-time or full-time status, taking more than a full schedule of classes, taking a break from classes, or attending summer classes, could mean that you earn your degree in more or fewer than 4 years.

Some aviation and aeronautics programs feature a shorter 8-week class schedule, which means students can earn their degree in only 2.5 years on average. Similarly, students who have already earned an associate degree, have college credit, or have FAA Certifications may earn their degree in less than 4 years.

What Will I Learn in an Online Aviation & Aeronautics Bachelor's Program?

Online aviation and aeronautics degree programs generally include general education and aviation-focused coursework. Your exact coursework depends on your university's degree requirements and the focus of your aviation and aeronautics degree. Discussed below are some common topics that you may study in your program.

Airport Operations and Management

This class focuses on all aspects of operating an airport, from financial management to facility management. Students study the aviation and non-aviation side of managing airports, including safety, tenant leases, maintenance, security, and federal aid for improvements.

Air Traffic Control Basics

A course on air traffic control covers the basics of the air traffic control profession, including the study of FAA procedures and how to separate aircraft in flight and on the ground. Some courses prepare students to take the AT-SAT air traffic control entrance exam.

Aviation Law

In this class, students study laws, statues, and treaties that regulate and control the aviation industry. Usually, there is an emphasis on the U.S. legal system with a minor emphasis on international-focused aviation law.

Aviation Maintenance Operations

This is a course that covers topics related to the planning, practice, and creation of aviation maintenance programs. Students learn leadership and business skills that will help them manage maintenance programs, such as how to control costs, implement safety measures, and schedule maintenance flights.

Aviation Safety

Aviation safety is a course that centers on the study of aircraft accidents and their prevention. Students study a range of accident-related issues, such as weather, human error, and the failure of technology. This class also covers accident prevention and investigation as well as how to develop aviation safety programs.

How Do I Choose an Online Aviation & Aeronautics Bachelor's Program?

Choosing the right online aviation and aeronautics degree program can be a daunting task, given the variety of programs and your specific needs. To help you in this important decision, here are some of the most important factors to consider: transfer credit policies, program focus, and school accreditation.

Transfer and Prior Learning Credits

If you have previous college credit or have earned an associate degree, then you want to make sure that you can apply those hard-earned credits toward your aviation and aeronautics bachelor's degree. Typically, universities only accept credits from accredited institutions and you must have earned a minimum GPA in those credits.

Some programs allow students to transfer credits from approved 2-year aviation colleges as well. In addition, if you have earned FAA Certifications, then you want to make sure that your chosen program allows you to exchange those certifications for credits. Programs will award you anywhere from 21 to 30 credits for your FAA Certifications.

Examples of accepted certifications include:

  • Private Pilot License
  • FAA Airframe & Powerplant Maintenance Certificate
  • Commercial Pilot License
  • Aircraft Dispatcher or Flight Engineer combined with Flight License
  • Aircraft Maintenance License

Be sure to check with your prospective programs to learn about their exact transfer credit and FAA Certifications policies.

Program Focus

Another important factor you want to base your decision on is the focus of your prospective programs. As aviation and aeronautics degree programs have a range of specialization areas, you want to make sure that your program's focus matches your career goals. For example, if you want to become an airplane mechanic, then you want to choose a program that has an aviation maintenance focus. Conversely, if you want to pursue an airport management or business career, choose an aviation business management or an aviation management program.

Accreditation

Accreditation is also a crucial factor when choosing an aviation and aeronautics degree program for several reasons. First, only students who attend an accredited school are eligible for federal financial aid. Second, accreditation proves that an institution has met a number of high standards that include student performance, continuous academic improvement, and resources offered to students. For you, that means you will be receiving a high-quality education. Last, some state licensure examinations may require graduation from an accredited school.

Look for your prospective school to be regionally accredited by an outside organization approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the U.S. Department of Education.

How Can I Afford an Aviation & Aeronautics Bachelor's Degree?

Your first step when researching your financial aid options is to fill out the U.S. Department of Education's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application will show you what types of federal financial aid you qualify for. You can also turn to private organizations and your university to discover what scholarships are available.

Federal Financial Aid

The amount and types of federal financial aid you may be eligible for depends on several factors, such as your dependency status and where you are in your course of study.

Direct Loans

Generally, undergraduate students can receive Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loans that could range from $5,500 to $12,500 per year. It's important to remember that you will be responsible for paying back your loan after you complete your degree.

Pell Grants

Pell Grants are a type of aid that don't typically need to be paid back, and they are for undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need and who haven't already earned a college degree.

Work-Study

Work-Study job programs are perfect for those who want to work part-time within their field and earn a paycheck that can help them afford their degree. This program is available to both full- and part-time students.

Scholarships

When looking for scholarships, you should research aviation-related organizations and check with your university to see what's available. Below are several scholarships that are designed especially for aviation undergraduate students.

  • Paul A. Whelan Aviation and Aerospace Scholarship - This is from the University Aviation Association (UAA) and is for a student pursuing an aviation or aerospace education.
  • Eugene S. Kropf Scholarship - Also from the University Aviation Association, this is a $500 scholarship for a student attending a UAA member college and working towards an aviation-related degree.
  • Chuck Peacock Memorial Scholarship - From the Aircraft Electronics Association, this scholarship awards amounts between $1,000 to $35,000 each for students who will attend an aviation management program.
  • The Women in Aviation Scholarship - This is for a student who is a member of the Women in Aviation Chapter at Embry-Riddle Worldwide and provides tuition for one three-credit-hour course.

What Can I Do with an Aviation & Aeronautics Bachelor's Degree?

The aviation and aeronautics industry is made up of a variety of specialized careers. The exact job you can pursue depends on the focus of your aviation and aeronautics bachelor's degree and other training and licensure requirements you complete. Learn about the various careers that you could pursue, including as a pilot, aircraft mechanic, or air traffic controller.

Airline or Commercial Pilot

Airline and commercial pilots perform a range of duties that include preparing aircraft for flight, operating aircraft, interacting with air traffic controllers, and reacting to flight conditions.

There are several types of pilots, including:

  • Airline Pilots, who work for airlines where they can be a pilot or co-pilot and transport cargo or passengers.
  • Commercial Pilots, who pilot chartered flights, fly planes to certain airports for maintenance or perform aerial tours.

While commercial pilots only need a high school diploma, airline pilots need a bachelor's degree. All pilots need a commercial pilot's license, and airline pilots need the FAA-issued Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate as well.

  • Median 2018 Annual Salary: $115,670
  • Projected 2018-2028 Growth Rate: 6%

Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians

There are several types of mechanics and technicians in the aviation field, including:

  • Avionics Technicians, who focus on fixing and maintaining digital aviation technologies, such as radar systems and communication systems.
  • Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) Mechanics are generalists who repair and work on all parts of an aircraft.
  • Inspection Authorized (IA) Mechanics, who have earned Airframe and Powerplant certification and are able to inspect aircraft to return them to service.
  • Designated Airworthiness Representatives (DARs), who are experts at inspecting and testing aircraft to determine their airworthiness.

Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians generally need to attend an aviation maintenance technician school that has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

  • Median 2018 Annual Salary: $63,060
  • Projected 2018-2028 Growth Rate: 3%

Air Traffic Controllers

Air traffic controllers are responsible for the safety of aircraft both in the air and on the ground. They direct plane traffic on runways and instruct pilots when they can take-off. They also monitor the movements of aircraft in the air, warn pilots about bad weather or runway closures, and respond to emergency situations.

There are 2 pathways for becoming an air traffic controller:

  • Earn a bachelor's or associate degree from an Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) program that has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
  • Earn a bachelor's degree, have 3 years of progressively responsible work experience, or have a combination of each

Air traffic controllers must also pass a medical exam, must pass the FAA pre-employment test, pass the Air Traffic Controller Specialists Skills Assessment Battery (ATSA), and attend a training course at the FAA Academy. Beyond those requirements, you must first work as a developmental controller and then earn the Air Traffic Control Tower Operator Certificate before fully becoming an air traffic controller.

  • Median 2018 Annual Salary: $124,540
  • Projected 2018-2028 Growth Rate: 1%

Salary information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018

Professional Organizations for Aviation & Aeronautics

The aviation and aeronautics field has a number of professional organizations and unions that are dedicated to aviation safety and security.

Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA)

CAPA, which is a collection of member pilot associations, represents pilots who work for different airlines. CAPA works to lobby congress and other US government agencies on matters related to the safety of pilots and flight deck crews.

National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA)

NATCA is an aviation safety organization and labor union that advocates for air traffic controllers and other aviation safety professionals. NATCA offers educational resources, scholarships, awards, and runs a charitable foundation. Additionally, NATCA lobbies for the modernization of flight infrastructure and hopes to address the shortage of air traffic controllers.

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:

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