Best Online Aeronautics and Aviation Programs

Our experts at BestColleges have ranked the top online bachelor's in aeronautics and aviation programs. Read on to compare schools by cost and convenience to learn more about how you...

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by Kasia Kovacs

Published on June 20, 2022

Edited by Amelia Buckley
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For people who dream of flying, a bachelor's degree in aeronautics and aviation can lead to a thrilling career. This degree teaches students all about the aviation industry, the science of aerodynamics and aircrafts, and aviation safety.

An aeronautics and aviation program prepares students for careers like pilot, air traffic controller, or flight operations manager. Many of these careers come with over six-figure salaries.

If this sounds like a career that fits your goals, you might consider an online bachelor's in aeronautics and aviation program. Without on-campus lectures and classes, these degrees allow students to pursue their degrees with flexibility.

If you're interested in learning more about a degree in aeronautics and aviation —and you want to know more about career opportunities and salary potential in the field —this guide breaks down everything you need to know.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Aeronautics and Aviation Program?

Traditionally, a bachelor's degree requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete. However, an online bachelor's in aeronautics and aviation allows for more flexibility. Transfer students or individuals who choose accelerated programs may graduate more quickly. In fact, some learners can graduate in as little as 20 months. Students who enroll part time may need up to six years to graduate.

These degrees often include a combination of theoretical study and practical training. Some programs may integrate pilot license training into their curriculum.

People who want to pursue this degree need solid critical thinking and problem-solving skills, in addition to the ability to keep cool under pressure. As students enroll in a science-heavy curriculum, an interest in science and math also helps. Some programs include business and management courses for students interested in leadership roles in the field.

Many colleges offer concentrations within the degree. Common concentrations include:

Students can also take electives if they want to learn more about a certain topic, like aviation technology or weather.

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Popular Online Bachelor's in Aeronautics and Aviation Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Aeronautics and Aviation Program?

Airplane Aerodynamics

This course introduces the theory of aerodynamics so that students gain an in-depth understanding of the physical principles of flight. Concepts covered include aircraft structures, weight and balance, and stability and control.

Aviation Safety

Students learn about the common causes of aviation accidents, as well as safety programs and interventions to avoid these accidents. The course also typically covers aviation Safety Management Systems (SMS).

Private and Commercial Flight

While some schools offer separate courses on private and commercial flights, others offer comprehensive courses that review both forms of flight. Students learn how to obtain their FAA Commercial Pilot Certificate and also how to qualify to fly private flights.

Elements of Weather

Weather is a major factor in aerodynamics and flight. This course examines elements of weather, such as composition of the atmosphere, atmospheric processes, wind circulation, and forecasts.

Airline Operations

This course examines airline management systems, covering classifications, governmental relationships and financial positions. Students also study airport operations and management systems.

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

Scholarships and Financial Aid for Online College Students The Student's Guide to College Planning The Student's Guide to Financial Aid and the FAFSA

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Aeronautics and Aviation Program?

Generally speaking, applying to an online bachelor's in aeronautics and aviation involves the same requirements as a traditional on-campus program. You may need to confirm that you meet technology requirements as an online applicant. Specific application components vary from program to program. However, you can usually expect the following admission requirements:

Application

Online programs require interested individuals to fill out an application form online. College application forms give colleges a snapshot of who you are as a prospective student. They ask for basic demographic information in addition to details about your academic background and performance, interests, and extracurricular activities.

Test Scores

Many colleges require prospective students to submit standardized test scores to apply to college. The most common college entrance exams are the SAT and ACT, which test students' knowledge of reading, writing, science, and math. Individuals interested in aeronautics and aviation programs should aim to receive competitive scores on the science and math sections.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation serve as endorsements for applicants from people who have taught, advised, or managed them personally. Students applying for college while in high school should ask for letters of recommendation from their teachers, counselor, or mentors. Mature or nontraditional students may ask for letters from previous professors or employers.

Essays

College application essays serve as an opportunity for prospective students to share their academic or career goals. Many colleges offer specific prompts, asking candidates to describe why they want to study a certain topic, tell a story about an accomplishment, or describe a time when they overcame a hardship. Applicants should also consider these essays a chance to display their writing and communication skills.

Official Transcripts

College applications require official transcripts from high school and any previous college coursework. Remember that you must submit an official transcript rather than a copy or printout of grades. If you're applying as a transfer student from a community college or another university, double-check to make sure your prospective program accepts transfer credits.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Aeronautics and Aviation Degree?

Career Outlook

Bachelor's in aeronautics and aviation programs may not be the most popular degrees, but they can prepare aspiring aviation professionals for a bright career outlook.

In 2020, the U.S. employed nearly 114,000 airline and commercial pilots, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Projections from the BLS show that the number of pilots could increase by almost 15,000 jobs, or about 13%, from 2020-to 2030. That's faster than the 8% average projected growth rate for all occupations. Pilots also earned healthy salaries in 2021, with median yearly earnings of $134,630.

Students who enroll in a bachelor's in aeronautics and aviation can also go into other roles in the aviation field, such as air traffic controllers, flight operations managers, airport managers, or flight instructors.

See where a bachelor's in aeronautics and aviation degrees can take you.

Learn More About Aeronautics Careers

Career Paths

Airline and Commercial Pilot

Pilots take their careers to the sky, flying planes and other aircraft. They may navigate passenger flights for airlines, transport cargo, or fly private charter flights. Pilots often need a bachelor's degree and flight training. They also often need certification. Commercial pilots, for example, need credentials from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Median Annual Salary: $134,630

Air Traffic Controller

Just like highways have road laws and speed limits, air traffic needs regulation for safety purposes as well. Air traffic controllers monitor plane movement, ensuring that aircraft keep a safe distance between them. These professionals need an associate or bachelor's degree in addition to training from the FAA Academy.

Median Annual Salary: $129.750

Flight Operations Manager

Flight operations managers typically work for airline and aviation companies. They provide oversight for the coordination of their company's operations, making sure they fall in line with local rules on noise and pollution as well as FAA regulations. Flight operations managers need a bachelor's degree and typically have previous work experience in the industry.

Average Annual Salary: $68,824

Airport Manager

These professionals oversee airports, managing airport security, logistics, and emergency procedures. They supervise staff, including safety, operations, and maintenance managers. They also maintain relationships with airlines and other businesses that operate with the airport. These positions usually require a bachelor's degree and a solid understanding of the aviation industry.

Average Annual Salary: $60,548

Flight Instructor

Flight instructors train pilots on how to fly and navigate aircraft. When teaching commercial and airline pilots, they often work in FAA-certified roles, but they may also teach people the basics of flight as a hobby or passion. These professionals need the proper certification, no matter what level they teach.

Average Annual Salary: $50,851

Aeronautics and Aviation Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

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Continuing Education

When it comes to the aviation industry, continuing education often comes in the form of certification through the FAA, which pilots need to find jobs. Common FAA credentials include Private Pilot License (PPL), Commercial Single-Engine License (CSEL), Commercial Multi-Engine License (CMEL), and Airline Transport Pilot (ATP).

Individuals working in the aviation industry do not necessarily need graduate degrees to succeed in their careers. However, pursuing an advanced degree can help boost job prospects and salary potential. Plus, professionals may choose to enroll in a master's program after a few years of experience as a form of professional development.

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

Cost

Tuition costs for online bachelor's in aeronautics and aviation programs vary considerably, ranging from $10,000 to $40,000 for the full degree. On-campus program costs vary similarly, although full tuition rates can be even higher for a four-year program. Another major factor that can influence tuition prices is whether students attend a public or private school. Private colleges tend to come with higher tuition rates. Remember, the true program cost differs from the sticker cost, as it takes into account additional fees and financial aid.

Program Format

Online degrees come in several different program formats. Students can find part-time and full-time degrees, accelerated courses, and synchronous and asynchronous programs. Synchronous programs involve a set schedule and class times, whereas asynchronous courses allow for more flexibility. Consider your learning style and scheduling commitments when deciding what program format works best for you.

Location

Although it may seem like location is not a major factor for online programs, it does matter. Attending a college in your state can mean lower tuition fees. In addition, remote programs sometimes include on-campus requirements, like orientation weekends or labs. Make sure you can access any in-person components of your degree.

Accreditation

Making sure your academic program holds accreditation is a critical part of the college search. Accreditation is the higher education industry's system of maintaining high standards in colleges and universities. Institutional and programmatic accreditation agencies evaluate institutions and programs to ensure they deliver quality education. Most employers and graduate schools and employers look for candidates with accredited degrees.

Student Support

Look for bachelor's in aeronautics and aviation programs with strong student support services, which can help you succeed in your degree. Some colleges offer mentoring programs, which can help distance learners feel more connected. Other student services might include advising, tutoring, internships, career guidance, or alumni connections.

Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Aeronautics and Aviation Programs

Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team

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Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

Best Online Bachelor's in Aeronautics/Aviation Programs

  1. Hallmark University
    Location

    San Antonio, TX

    Tuition

    $10363

    Nationally recognized for the quality of its bachelor of science in aviation maintenance management, Hallmark provides elite practical training with a strong focus on career growth. Intended for established aviation professionals seeking to advance into management positions, the program rewards those who meet its demanding admissions standards. The program's comprehensive training leads to a bachelor's degree in just 20 months.

    The program's rigorous structure includes an intensive overview of the business and administrative necessities of aviation management. In particular, coursework focuses on leadership, project management, business administration, and human resource management skills. Graduates of this nationally accredited program emerge ready to enter growth-focused careers in maintenance analysis, supervision, and planning.

    Applicants require an associate degree in a related field, along with current FAA-issued airframe and powerplant certification and at least 30 undergraduate credits in arts and science coursework.

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  2. LeTourneau University
    Location

    Longview, TX

    Tuition

    $23386

    Founded in 1946, LETU holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its technical programs also hold a prestigious endorsement from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, a STEM-focused specialized accreditor.

    Students in LETU's bachelor of science in aviation management engage with a multidisciplinary curriculum that combines detailed technical training with advanced business education. Degree-seekers can specialize in four fields: aircraft dispatch, homeland security, aircraft maintenance, and professional piloting. Every concentration maintains a sharp focus on the human factors that influence along with safety, operations, and management topics.

    Delivered entirely online in an asynchronous format, learners can study year-round to advance their degree completion. The program features an accelerated structure that includes 122 required credits, with about one-third of the degree path concentrated on a rigorous program of technical and business courses.

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  3. North Carolina State University at Raleigh
    Location

    Raleigh, NC

    Tuition

    $14771

    NC State supports a unique degree path through its acclaimed online and distance education platform. Leading to a bachelor of science designation, this program begins with one year of pre-engineering coursework at a partner school. Students then transfer to NC State to complete the final three academic years of their aerospace engineering degree.

    Degree-seekers complete coursework at the University of North Carolina system, either online or at the Asheville or Wilmington campus. Craven Community College in eastern North Carolina also hosts a qualified pre-engineering program. Learners benefit from transferring to NC State once they hold the basic knowledge that makes the school's world-class labs, equipment, and research facilities valuable.

    NC State's advanced, academically rigorous program features instructors and faculty members with elite expertise and extensive experience. NC State also furnishes online learners with full access to the institution's career development assistance resources, guiding graduates to immediate and successful transitions into the job market.

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  4. Everglades University
    Location

    Boca Raton, FL

    Tuition

    $30154

    Everglades University, located in Boca Raton, Florida, features a bachelor of science in aviation/aerospace with six practical, career-oriented concentrations. Degree-seekers can specialize in technical or administrative areas, including aviation safety, aviation security, flight operations, facilities management, maintenance management, and operations management. Small class sizes and flexible, asynchronous course delivery methods create convenient learning opportunities.

    Students proceed toward degree completion one course at a time, maximizing the program's practicality while affording learners the ability to master topics and concepts individually. Local learners also can attend traditional, campus-based classes or combining face-to-face and online study.

    A noted military-friendly school, Everglades University holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school strives to put students in control of their own academic development, with some concentrations offering capstone project opportunities that support synthesized and applied learning.

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  5. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide
    Location

    Daytona Beach, FL

    Tuition

    $18922

    Originating from a symbiotic business partnership between aeronautics pioneers T. Higbee Embry and J.P. Riddle, ERAU holds distinction as one of the most prestigious aviation academies in the United States. The regionally accredited Florida-based institution offers degree programs in seven specialized areas, with its bachelor of science in aeronautics marking one of its most popular learning paths.

    Incorporating multiple disciplines into its scientific perspective, the program examines both the human and technical factors that influence aeronautics. Students in this rigorous 120-credit program engage with various topics that focus on aviation safety and security, aircraft maintenance, air traffic control, and the science of aeronautics. Supplemental minors offer unique customization options, allowing students to earn certificates and notations in 29 aviation management disciplines.

    ERAU boasts impressive student achievement rates, with a 2015 peak seeing 97.7% of online graduates earning effective job or continuing education placements within one year of matriculation.

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  6. Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus
    Location

    Portales, NM

    Tuition

    $10918

    This bachelor of science in aviation science program affords students the chance to customize their learning experience. ENMU makes the degree available in two different entirely online modes, along with a hybrid structure that blends online and campus learning. Online students can opt for asynchronous web-based study or a real-time, lecture-capture format.

    In either case, students earn an ideal knowledge base for careers as pilots, air traffic controllers, and airport managers. Military students can also advance their academic credentials through the program, and ENMU maintains supportive policies for learners with armed forces backgrounds. ENMU also offers affordable pricing and extends low in-state tuition rates to all learners, regardless of their physical locations, if they take six or fewer credits per semester.

    Buoyed by impressive rankings from multiple respected review agencies, the degree path takes a broad, survey-oriented focus of aviation science. Students engage with a comprehensive set of topics that examine aeronautics from both technical and commercial perspectives.

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  7. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Tuition

    $27432

    Home of Virginia's largest flight school, Liberty University features highly accomplished faculty members and an online bachelor of science in aviation that builds both hard and soft skills. To qualify for admission, applicants must hold a valid pilot's license or acquire one through one of the institution's approved aviation training affiliates.

    Liberty University's program covers 120 credit-hours of coursework, but many students qualify for advanced standing thanks to their flight training and experience. On average, degree-seekers earn their credentials in just two and a half years. Coursework focuses on essential aspects of aviation, including safety and security, aircraft maintenance, and navigation. It also explicitly works to build the soft skills essential to career success: leadership, professionalism, communication, and critical thinking.

    In 2018, Liberty University's School of Aeronautics won the Loening Trophy. This venerable award recognizes the best all-around college aviation program in the U.S., and carries major prestige in the professional flight community.

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  8. University of Nebraska at Omaha
    Location

    Omaha, NE

    Tuition

    $12105

    At UNO, online learners engage with an innovative program leading to a bachelor of multidisciplinary studies degree. Students interested in aeronautics can customize their coursework to earn a concentration in aviation studies through classes delivered by the school's nationally renowned Aviation Institute.

    By design, the program features a fluid structure that gives students enhanced control over their own learning. Under the guidance of academic advisors, students craft custom course lists that further their own intellectual and professional development goals. Supplementary internship requirements elevate the program's value through hands-on learning and networking opportunities.

    Budget-conscious learners also appreciate this acclaimed 120 credit-hour program's affordable cost, set at $280 per credit-hour for in-state students and $390 for out-of-state students as of the 2019-20 academic year. Asynchronous course delivery facilitates "anytime, anywhere" learning, with core courses covering everything from aviation history to the industry's business, corporate, and human factors.

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  9. Hampton University
    Location

    Hampton, VA

    Tuition

    $28347

    Virginia's HU delivers a 122 credit-hour program leading to a bachelor of science in aviation management with a concentration in airport administration. Designed to meet the needs of emerging aviation management professionals, the program ranks as the only FAA-approved degree path of its kind offered at a historically black college. HU now welcomes students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

    The program includes advanced instruction in aviation management science along with liberal arts disciplines. The program helps pique student curiosity and inspires them to embrace lifelong learning as a professional growth model. Coursework remains sharply focused on the business, project management, and human resource management aspects of airport administration.

    Sound ethics, problem-solving proficiencies, and leadership abilities define every aspect of its skills development perspective. Learners proceed through a highly structured degree path that culminates in cooperative work-study placements and senior capstone or practicum projects in their final year.

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  10. Lynn University
    Location

    Boca Raton, FL

    Tuition

    $39401

    The bachelor of science in aerospace engineering program at Lynn provides students the chance to combine detailed theoretical learning with advanced practical training. Students engage in a rigorous core curriculum of aerospace engineering courses, supplemented by instruction in innovation and entrepreneurship. As a result, learners emerge with the ratings and licenses necessary to enter the aerospace field.

    Lynn supports fieldwork opportunities and encourages students to gain hands-on experience through simulations. These initiatives offer degree-seekers the chance to apply their learning to the global aerospace and aeronautics industries.

    Online students also benefit from Lynn's various internship opportunities and many alumnis receive employment from companies like LaGuardia airport authority, American Airlines, and Delta Airlines. The program's structure also emphasizes business and leadership skills through ground personnel and industry management along with cockpit training.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Aeronautics and Aviation Programs

Is a bachelor's in aeronautics and aviation worth it? true

If you hope to become a pilot or work in the aviation industry, then a bachelor's in aeronautics and aviation is worth it. Many jobs in the industry require a bachelor's degree, and pursuing a program within the aviation field can offer the right preparation.

For many people, an online bachelor's in aeronautics and aviation degree is also worth it. Online degrees offer flexibility that traditional on-campus programs lack. For nontraditional or working students, remote learning programs offer opportunities to work in the aeronautics industry they may otherwise not have.

That said, consider your personal finances and career goals when evaluating whether a degree in aviation is worth it for you.

What can I do with a bachelor's in aeronautics and aviation? true

A bachelor's in aeronautics and aeronautics can prepare you for various job opportunities. The career that may come to mind first is pilot; however, this degree can also prepare you to become an air traffic controller, airplane manager, flight operations manager, flight instructor, aircraft mechanic, or unmanned aircraft systems operator. Some of these jobs require additional training and certification through the FAA.

This bachelor's degree can also prepare students for advanced study in similar fields, like a master's in aerospace engineering.

Are aeronautics and aviation majors in demand? true

If your goal is to become a pilot, then you will be in demand as an aeronautics and aviation graduate. The BLS projects the number of airline and commercial pilots could increase by about 15,000 jobs, or about 13%, from 2020 to 2030. This is faster than the average national growth rate for other industries in the U.S.

Graduates who hope to become air traffic controllers may see slightly less demand. The industry could grow by about 900 jobs from 2020 to 2030, according to BLS projections. That's an increase of about 4%, or slower than average.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in aeronautics and aviation?

Individuals in the aviation industry can earn six-figure incomes. In 2021, airline and commercial pilots earned median pay of about $134,630. Air traffic controllers earned slightly less, with median salaries of $129,750 the same year.

In comparison, other industry salaries are considerably lower. Flight operations managers make average salaries of about $68,800, according to Payscale. Airport managers earn an average pay of about $60,500.

Remember that factors like years of experience and location make a difference. An experienced airport manager running a large airport is likely to make considerably more than someone managing a smaller regional facility.

What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in aeronautics and aviation?

Airline and commercial pilots are among the highest-paying jobs for people with bachelor's degrees in aeronautics and aviation. This profession comes with median annual pay of approximately $134,630 as of 2021.

Factors like location and experience make a considerable difference in individual salaries. According to the BLS, the top-paying states for pilots include Florida, California, Washington, New York, and Michigan. Pilots in all of these states earned average salaries of over $200,000. In comparison, pilots in states like Minnesota, Nebraska, and West Virginia have average salaries ranging from about $53,000 to $109,000.

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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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