Depending on the role, aeronautics and aviation professionals may fly planes and unmanned aircraft, repair spacecraft, or manage airlines. A bachelor's degree in aviation or aeronautics prepares graduates for careers like airplane pilot, air traffic controller, and aviation manager. These fields offer lucrative salaries and strong job growth. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 6% job growth through 2028 for airline and commercial pilots, who make an average salary of over $115,000 per year.
During a bachelor's in aviation and aeronautics, students build the knowledge and skills required for in-demand aeronautics and aviation jobs. Earning an aviation bachelor's degree online gives students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. Online learners can often complete courses on their own schedule without required login times.
This page introduces the best online bachelor's programs in aeronautics and aviation, including how to choose the right program and aviation job opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is aviation management?
Aviation management blends business with aviation technology. Aviation management specialists run the business side of airlines, airports, and aircraft manufacturers.
What is aeronautics?
Aeronautics denotes the design, manufacturing, and operation of aircraft. The field includes aeronautical engineering, aircraft manufacturing, and piloting.
What is a bachelor's degree in aviation?
A bachelor's degree in aviation prepares graduates for roles such as airline pilot, air traffic controller, and aircraft mechanic. Students complete courses on topics like flight safety, air transportation, and aviation management.
What are aviation jobs?
Aviation professionals may work as pilots, safety inspectors, air traffic controllers, flight instructors, or aviation managers. These aviation jobs offer above-average salaries.
How long is an aviation degree program?
A bachelor's in aviation degree generally takes four years of full-time study to complete, though some programs offer accelerated timelines.
Online Bachelor's in Aeronautics and Aviation Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the following degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The Best Online Bachelor’s in Aeronautics & Aviation Programs
1. Hampton University
A historically black university founded in 1868, Hampton University hosts students on its campus near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and online. The online bachelor's degree in aviation management offered through the Department of Aviation in the School of Engineering and Technology prepares adult learners for managerial positions in airports.
The 122-credit bachelor's in aviation management includes general education, business, and aviation courses. Aviation courses introduce students to topics like airport systems and flight safety, while management courses cover topics like crew resource management and airport operations, preparing graduates for leadership roles in the field. Students also take general education courses, such as humanities and written communication, which give them critical thinking and problem-solving skills applicable to any career.
Applicants must hold a high school diploma or equivalent and submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, including any military transcripts. Prospective transfer students need a minimum 2.0 GPA. All online students receive access to resources like library services, a writing center, and academic advising.
Hampton University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The aviation management degree holds programmatic accreditation from the Aviation Accreditation Board, International (AABI), while the School of Business holds programmatic accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).
2. Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology
Flushing, New York
Dating back to 1932, Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology specializes in aviation and engineering. Vaughn offers several online bachelor of science in aviation programs, including a bachelor's in aviation maintenance and a bachelor's in aviation management with concentrations in airport management and airline management.
The online bachelor's in aviation programs offer focused training for various aviation jobs. The aviation maintenance program balances technical skills with theoretical knowledge to prepare graduates for supervisory and managerial aviation maintenance jobs.
The aviation management program integrates management courses with aviation training, preparing graduates for managerial roles in airports and airlines. Electives in airport security, airport planning, supply chain management, and air traffic control let students customize the degree around their interests and career goals.
Applicants need a high school diploma or equivalent. Applicants who graduated from high school within the past five years must submit SAT or ACT scores, though Vaughn waives the requirement for transfer students with at least 24 credits.
Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The College of Aeronautics and Technology holds programmatic accreditation from the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).
3. Liberty University Online
A private evangelical Christian university founded in 1971, Liberty University is one of the largest online universities in the country. Students can earn a fully online bachelor's degree in aviation that emphasizes practical aeronautical decision-making skills, preparing graduates for roles such as pilot and flight instructor.
The online aviation degree accepts licensed pilots. Students can also earn a pilot's license during the program through one of Liberty's flight training affiliates. The aviation curriculum emphasizes practical knowledge, with training in airplane aerodynamics, instrument panel controls, GPS navigation, and aviation safety. In addition to the aviation degree, Liberty offers an online bachelor's degree in aviation maintenance management, which prepares graduates for leadership roles in aviation maintenance.
Applicants must hold a minimum 2.0 GPA and submit official college transcripts and a high school self-certification form. Applicants must also submit a form confirming that they hold an FAA Commercial Pilot Certificate or will complete flight training courses through a Liberty flight training affiliate.
Liberty University Online is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
4. University of Nebraska at Omaha
The University of Nebraska Omaha is a public research institution that dates back to 1908. In addition to on-campus degrees, UNO grants online degrees, including an online bachelor of multidisciplinary studies in aviation studies. The program prepares graduates for professions such as airline pilot, airport administrator, and air traffic controller.
The online bachelor's in aviation includes courses on the history of aviation and aerospace, aviation safety, and airline operations. Classes in airport administration, business and corporate aviation, and general aviation operations offer leadership and management training for aviation students. Online learners can also pursue internship opportunities to build hands-on experience in the field. The Aviation Institute selects students for internships through a competitive process, with opportunities in top industries.
Applicants must hold a high school diploma or equivalent and submit official transcripts from all previous schools. Students can transfer up to 64 credits from a regionally accredited two-year college, or more from a four-year school. UNO also accepts up to 65 transfer credits from military service or approved formal training experiences. The aviation program grants up to 21 credits for students with an FAA flight certificate or rating. Nebraska residents receive a tuition discount.
The University of Nebraska Omaha is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The Aviation Institute holds programmatic accreditation from the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI) for one of its aviation concentrations.
5. Lynn University
Boca Raton, Florida
Established in 1962, Lynn University is a private institution that enrolls 2,000 undergraduates annually. Lynn offers an online bachelor's degree in aviation management that emphasizes the business structure of the aviation industry, aircrew training, and industry management.
The aviation curriculum includes classes in aviation history, aviation operations, and global aviation regulations and law. Students also complete courses in air traffic and aviation technologies. Business courses include project management, principles of management and leadership, and business analytics, preparing graduates for leadership roles in the field. Online learners can also complete flight training electives at Lynn's Burton D. Morgan College of Aeronautics.
Applicants with more than 12 credits apply as transfer students. Transfer applicants must submit a personal statement and official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Applicants with fewer than 12 credits must submit official transcripts, a letter of recommendation, and an activity resume, with the option to submit ACT or SAT scores.
Lynn University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The College of Business and Management holds programmatic accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE), while the Burton D. Morgan College of Aeronautics holds approval from the FAA.
6. LeTourneau University
A private Christian university specializing in engineering and aeronautical science, LeTourneau University dates back to 1946. LETU offers an online bachelor of science in aviation management for professionals seeking career advancement in air transportation, aerospace manufacturing, and other aviation industries. The year-round program, which offers courses in an accelerated format, prepares graduates for careers such as airline operations manager, maintenance manager, airport manager, and quality manager.
The 122-credit program includes general education, theology, and aviation courses. Online learners take courses on topics like aviation safety, airport operations and management, and air transportation systems. They also take business courses, such as human resource management, organizational behavior, and project management, to build leadership skills.
Students can choose from the following concentrations to tailor the degree to their interests and goals.
- Aircraft Dispatch
- Homeland Security
- Professional Pilot
The maintenance concentration grants 30 credits for an aircraft maintenance technician certificate. Prospective students must submit official transcripts from all colleges attended. Transfer students need a minimum 2.0 GPA.
LeTourneau University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The School of Aviation and Aeronautical Science holds approval from the FAA.
7. Everglades University
Boca Raton, Florida
Originally known as the American Flyers College, Everglades University is a private institution that offers on-campus and online degrees, including an online bachelor of science in aviation/aerospace. The flexible degree lets students apply prior aviation experience and training toward the degree.
The 123-credit degree strengthens analytical, communication, and technical skills. Online learners take courses on topics like aeronautics, aviation law, and the history of aviation. Upper-division courses in airline management, aviation insurance and risk management, and corporate aviation operations give students business and technical expertise.
Students can tailor the degree to their interests through electives on topics like air traffic control, airport management, and aviation safety programs. Everglades also lets students customize the degree with concentrations in areas such as:
- Aviation Safety
- Flight Operations
- Aviation Maintenance Management
- Aviation Operations Management
Prospective Everglades students must submit verification of high school graduation or a college degree. Most applicants must take Everglades' entrance examination or provide SAT or ACT scores; however, Everglades waives this requirement for applicants with a college degree.
Everglades University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
8. Eastern New Mexico University
Portales, New Mexico
A public university that dates back to 1934, Eastern New Mexico University hosts students in Portales, Ruidoso, Roswell, and online. The online bachelor of science in aviation science combines a liberal arts curriculum with aviation courses, preparing graduates for careers in aviation management.
The 120-credit program trains students in aircraft design, aviation law, FAA regulations, and aviation management. The curriculum emphasizes technical proficiency and aviation science theory. Courses cover topics like theory of flight, aircraft construction and materials, and airport operation, giving students the practical knowledge they need for leadership roles in the field.
In addition to aviation courses, students must complete general education classes in areas like written communication and humanities. Learners can meet general education and technical education requirements through transfer credits.
Prospective students must submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Applicants with fewer than 30 credits must also submit official high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores.
Eastern New Mexico University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
9. Hallmark University
San Antonio, Texas
A private institution focused on aeronautics, Hallmark University dates back to 1969 when it first received FAA authorization to teach aircraft maintenance. Today, Hallmark offers an online bachelor's in aviation maintenance management that helps professionals certified in airframe and powerplant maintenance advance their careers. Students can complete the fully online program in 20 months.
Students gain business and administrative skills while strengthening their knowledge of aviation maintenance management. Business courses cover topics like business analytics, organizational behavior, and management information systems. Aviation maintenance management courses include human factors in aviation safety and airline operations and compliance.
Hallmark admits students with airframe and powerplant certification from the FAA. Applicants need an associate degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Associate degree coursework must include at least 30 credits in arts and science, including composition, math, humanities, and accounting courses. Applicants must submit an essay explaining their reasons for pursuing a bachelor's degree.
Hallmark University is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). The FAA approves the aviation maintenance school. Hallmark holds membership to the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA) and the Aviation Technical Education Council.
10. Embry – Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide
Daytona Beach, Florida
A private university with campuses in Florida and Arizona, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide also hosts students online. Founded in 1926, Embry-Riddle offers an online bachelor of science in aeronautics that prepares current and prospective aviation professionals for career advancement.
The multidisciplinary degree includes general education courses in addition to aeronautics courses on topics like aviation safety, air traffic control, aircraft maintenance, and aeronautical science. Students culminate the degree with an aeronautical science capstone course.
Students can customize the degree through aviation minors in areas such as:
- Airport Management
- Aviation Management
- Aviation Safety
- Aviation Maintenance Operations
- Helicopter Operations and Safety
- Small Unmanned Aircraft System Operation
- Unmanned Aerial Systems
Applicants must submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Students with aviation experience can earn prior learning credit for their knowledge and skills. For example, Embry-Riddle grants 33 transfer credits for applicants with a multi-engine rating commercial pilot license.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The aeronautics degree at Embry-Riddle holds programmatic accreditation from the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI). The FAA approves Embry-Riddle's aeronautics program.
Choosing an Online Bachelor's in Aeronautics and Aviation Degree Program
Prospective aeronautics and aviation students should consider several factors when choosing an online program, such as admission requirements, school reputation, and specializations. Admission requirements vary by school. Some programs only admit students with a pilot license, while others let students complete license requirements during their degree. Applicants who do not meet the admission requirements may need to spend extra time and money completing coursework or earning licensure before enrolling.
School reputation and program specializations can also help prospective students narrow their choices. The best online aviation programs often cultivate relationships with top employers, giving students internship opportunities with airlines, airplane manufacturers, and other aeronautics employers.
Additionally, prospective students should research whether a program leads to certification in their desired field. For example, many aeronautics and aviation programs meet the requirements for Federal Aviation Administration certifications, such as air traffic controller and pilot certification. After carefully researching aeronautics and aviation programs, prospective students can find the best fit for their professional goals.
What Is Aviation Management?
Professionals who specialize in aviation management operate the business side of airlines, airports, and aircraft manufacturers. Aviation managers may oversee the daily operations of an aircraft manufacturer or manage a department within an airline. They may also supervise aviation professionals at an airport or oversee airport security.
Aviation management professionals can specialize in areas like airline management, airport management, or air commerce management. A background in air transportation prepares aviation managers for roles like freight and cargo manager.
A career in aviation management requires training in management, business administration, and aeronautical science. Aviation managers need leadership and organizational skills in addition to strong communication and interpersonal abilities.
Most aviation managers hold at least a bachelor's degree. Both a degree in business administration with a concentration in aviation management and a bachelor's in aviation management prepare graduates for aviation management careers. Most programs incorporate an internship to give students hands-on experience in the field.
What Is Aeronautics?
Aeronautics denotes the science and practice of flying vehicles, including the design, manufacturing, and operation of airplanes, aircraft, and spacecraft. Aeronautics professionals can specialize in areas like engineering, aviation, and navigation.
Aeronautical engineers design commercial jets, satellites, and helicopters, ensuring their designs meet safety standards and operate as intended. Mechanics and technicians repair aeronautical equipment and maintain aircraft to improve safety. Pilots operate aircraft, including commercial jets, military fighter planes, and helicopters. Aeronautics professionals can also specialize in unmanned aircraft systems and air traffic control.
A bachelor of science in aeronautics prepares graduates for most aeronautics careers. During an aeronautics degree, students build aviation skills and knowledge and receive hands-on training with aircraft. Many aeronautics programs offer concentrations in areas like aviation maintenance, air traffic management, and commercial space operations.
Aeronautics encompasses a variety of specializations that offer lucrative earning potential. For example, airplane pilots and air traffic controllers earn average salaries of over $100,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What is a Bachelor's Degree in Aviation?
Many aviation and aeronautics careers require a bachelor's degree. Prospective aviation professionals can pursue an aviation bachelor's degree online to meet the education requirements for aviation jobs, like airline pilot, in a flexible, accessible format.
During a bachelor's in aviation, students gain the knowledge and skills necessary for aviation careers. They complete courses on topics like airplane aerodynamics, commercial flight, and aviation safety. They may also take courses on aviation weather, turbine engines, and GPS navigation.
Depending on the program, online learners may complete classes in an asynchronous or synchronous format. In an asynchronous format, students do not log in at set times for their classes, while a synchronous format includes set meeting times. Some programs offer an accelerated format that allows students to graduate in less than four years.
Many online aviation bachelor's programs incorporate internships or external requirements to prepare students for aviation jobs. For example, online students may enter the program with a pilot's license or complete the requirements for a pilot's license through a local program while earning their degree.
Aeronautics and Aviation Jobs
A bachelor's degree in aviation prepares graduates for several lucrative career paths, such as aircraft mechanic, commercial pilot, and air traffic controller.
- Air Traffic Controllers
Air traffic controllers monitor and direct aircraft on the ground and in the air. They provide landing and takeoff instructions for pilots, inform pilots about critical flight information, and manage aircraft entering and leaving their airspace.
Most air traffic controllers manage multiple aircraft simultaneously, working as tower controllers, approach and departure controllers, or en route controllers. Air traffic controllers maintain a safe environment for crews, passengers, and equipment. They also minimize delays and increase efficiency by overseeing the flow of aircraft.
- Median Annual Salary: $124,540
- Projected Growth Rate: 1%
- Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians
Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians repair and perform maintenance on aircraft. Aircraft mechanics diagnose mechanical and electrical problems to repair aircraft components like electrical systems and brakes. They also replace defective parts and perform regular maintenance scans using diagnostic equipment. Aircraft mechanics must ensure their work meets performance standards and maintain records of their repairs and maintenance.
Avionics technicians specialize in electronic instruments. They diagnose performance problems and equipment malfunctions by analyzing flight test data and testing electronic instruments. Avionics technicians also install instrument panels, repair malfunctioning components, and keep records on their maintenance and repair work.
- Median Annual Salary: $63,060
- Projected Growth Rate: 3%
- Airline and Commercial Pilots
Airline and commercial pilots fly airplanes, helicopters, and other aircraft. They must check the condition of their aircraft before and after a flight, ensure the aircraft meets performance and safety standards, and verify weather conditions before a flight. Pilots submit flight plans to air traffic control and communicate with air traffic controllers to navigate on the ground and in the air.
During a flight, pilots operate aircraft along planned routes while monitoring engines, fuel consumption, and other aircraft systems. They must also respond to changing conditions, including emergencies, such as a mechanical malfunction. During takeoff and landing, pilots closely coordinate with flight engineers, air traffic controllers, and ground personnel.
- Median Annual Salary: $115,670
- Projected Growth Rate: 6%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics