What Are the Different Types of Aviation Degree Programs?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 31 March 2020
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There are several types of aviation degree programs, most of which involve learning how to pilot a plane as well as obtaining knowledge beyond what is required for a basic pilot's license. While most pilot positions do not actually require a college degree, airlines prefer to see that applicants have the focus to complete college-level work. A degree in aviation can be obtained at the graduate level, which is a good qualification for researchers and teachers in aviation. An aviation maintenance degree is quite different from a degree that includes flight time, but this can be a good program for people interested in the technical aspects of flight.

Bachelor's degree programs in aviation can take the form of a bachelor of science or a bachelor of applied science. Some schools offer an associate's degree, but a bachelor's degree is preferred. In these types of aviation degree programs, learning how to fly planes is often a major part of the curriculum. Other courses may be taken, but gaining experience and flight time is usually one of the most important parts of the degree. Depending on the program, student loans and financial aid may be available.


Graduate-level aviation degree programs are designed for seasoned aviators and cover the theories and principles of aviation. This typically does not involve the engineering or safety aspects of flying, but rather the economic, social, and regulatory aspects of aviation. In aviation degree programs that prepare students to teach others about this topic, teaching experience may be available.

Aviation degree programs can also be highly specific, such as degrees in human systems, electrical engineering, or air traffic management. Devoted aviation schools often offer the widest variety of degree programs within this subject. Every aspect of work involving airplanes requires dedicated and well-trained employees, so it is possible to find degrees that address many different facets of aviation.

One of the problems with aviation degree programs is that many aviation jobs do not require this type of qualification. For example, airplane maintenance staff are not required to have airline maintenance degrees. Having advanced qualifications can be a way to get ahead in the workplace, so some of these programs are designed for professionals who will continue to work while pursuing an education.

Some degree programs that can be applied to airplanes are not offered under the category of aviation. For example, many electrical and mechanical engineering programs are applicable to aviation. Likewise, business programs can be steered toward the airline business. Taking one of these more general degree programs at an aviation school can be a good way to expand career opportunities.


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