It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No wait, it’s an expert in planes! Launch your career with one of the most affordable online aeronautics/aviation degree.
Are you ready for a career in the exciting field of air travel? Are you fascinated by airplane mechanics? Are you ready to take a team to the top? Then look no further. These are hands down the most affordable online degrees in Aeronautics and Aviation.
What kind of online aeronautics/aviation degree should you get?
The concentration you choose should be related to your professional goals. If you want to become a pilot, you should look into a degree in flight operations. If your interests focus more on allied aviation professions, consider a degree in aviation security or aviation management. Be sure to spend time looking at the requirements for a program in aeronautics rather than aviation, as some of these programs target support personnel rather than pilots.
A flight operations degree program prepares students to work as commercial airline pilots. While general education courses can be taken online, obvious hands-on training requirements mean that these types of programs are never 100% online. Some programs may require students to already have a multi-engine pilot's license to enroll.
Aviation management and security degree programs look at the logistical challenges surrounding aviation and aeronautics. These programs supplement a basic understanding of aviation with coursework on business management, airport security, and marketing.
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How much money do people make with an online aeronautics/aviation degree?
Aviation graduates often go on to become airline or commercial pilots. These aviators made more than $100,000 per year in 2018. To fly for an airline, one must have a bachelor's degree, but commercial pilots only need a high school diploma and a pilot's license. Aeronautics and aviation graduates can also pursue careers as air traffic controllers, who made nearly $125,000 per year in 2018.
While these jobs pay above average, new positions don't open up often. Both paid pilot positions and air traffic control jobs are expected to grow at a rate of less than 5 percent for the next decade.
What can you do with an online aeronautics/aviation degree?
Those with pilot's licenses and aeronautics/aviation degrees can become commercial pilots or airline pilots. Some of these move on to serve as flight instructors.
- Commercial Pilot - Commercial pilot is a catch-all title for any pilot who makes money in aviation. They fly for government organizations, corporations, medical services, and other groups. They must have instrument ratings for certain types of operations.
- Airline Pilot - Pilots with thousands of hours of experience who pass written and practical exams can become airline pilots. Airline pilots also acquire aircraft type ratings, which allow them to fly a wider variety of aircraft on an as-needed basis.
- Flight Instructor - Flight instructors use their years of experience in aviation and aeronautics to help train future pilots. They support new pilots as they learn how to operate a variety of aircraft. Flight instructors must have appropriate licenses and ratings for the aircraft on which they teach.
What are the requirements for an online aeronautics/aviation degree?
- Transcripts - Applicants will need to supply transcripts or other proof of high school graduation, as well as transcripts from any other higher education institutions attended.
- Application fees - Schools will usually charge an application fee of less than $100.
- Standardized test scores - While not all schools require these, some schools will request ACT or SAT scores from all applicants.
- FAA pilot license - Some programs require students to already have pilot's licenses. Note that programs that do not will still require students to pursue these licenses through face-to-face pilot instruction programs. Depending on the program, students may also need specific certifications or instrument ratings.
What are the best online aeronautics/aviation degrees?
If you're committed to an online aeronautics/aviation degree, use the rankings below to narrow down your selection. Using data taken from U.S. News & World Report and Payscale.com, these rankings show which aeronautics or aviation programs are the best and most affordable.
The rankings use a combination of the school's academic quality, potential return on investment, and satisfaction among its student body. Programs score highly if they have qualified faculty members, affordable tuition compared to salaries in the field, and solid graduation rates.
Take the time to review the admissions criteria for each program, as some will expect students to already have licenses or instrument ratings.
See our rankings methodology page.
Eastern New Mexico University
Located in Portales, New Mexico, Eastern New Mexico University is the state’s largest regional comprehensive university. In addition to the Portales campus, it also maintains two-year campuses in Roswell and Ruidoso. Eastern New Mexico University offers over 30 different online degree options through the Office of Distance Learning.
Eastern New Mexico University features the most affordable online Bachelor’s in Aviation degree. You can choose to earn either a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science. The curriculum covers everything from ground operations to maintenance and manufacturing. Some of the highlight classes in this degree include:
- Aviation Safety and Human Factors
- FAA Regulations
- Aviation Law
- Airport Operations
Besides its excellent aviation program, Eastern New Mexico University stands out for its affordability. Over 80 percent of students at Eastern New Mexico University receive some sort of financial aid. You’ll have the chance to apply for need-based loans, as well as merit-based scholarships.
Central Washington University
Central Washington University is a public university based in Ellensburg, Washington. It is known for its affordable tuition, small class sizes, and diverse student body. The average class size at Central Washington University is 20 students. It is known as an official Hispanic-Serving Institution, with over 15 percent Hispanic students.
Within the BS degree in Aviation Management at Central Washington University, you’ll be able to specialize in one of two areas: the general Aviation Management, or Aviation Maintenance Management. Regardless of which area you gravitate toward, you’ll take some of the same core classes for both:
- Aviation Legislation
- Air Transportation
- Threat & Error Management in Aviation
- Aviation Labor Relations
Central Washington University is recognized widely for its affordable education. In fact, Payscale.com named it among the “Best Value” public universities in the state of Washington.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide
Daytona Beach, FL
Specializing specifically in aviation and aerospace, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is one of the best in the field. Its main campuses are located in Florida and Arizona. Over 22,000 students attend Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide campus, which includes online learning and distance learning.
At Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, you’ll earn a BS in Aeronautics. This interdisciplinary degree is offered both online and on-campus. In addition to the core curriculum, students are encouraged to add a minor to their degree in order to specialize. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers over 25 related minors. Here are some course highlights:
- Applications in Aviation/Aerospace Law
- Management of Production and Operations
- Statistics with Aviation Applications
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University provides a unique opportunity for you to earn both your bachelor’s and master’s degree in quick succession. The BSA-MSA 4+1 Program is a fast-paced curriculum that blends together undergraduate and graduate-level academics into one. This is a fantastic way to jump ahead in your schooling.
A private, religious university in Longview, Texas, LeTourneau University was founded in 1946. Its student body totals around 3,000. Some of the most popular degree programs at LeTourneau University include engineering, aeronautics, and computer science. It also provides online options for adult learners.
The BS in Aviation Studies at LeTourneau University is an online program that prepares you for a whole range of job opportunities in the aviation industry. Your curriculum gives you the chance to concentrate in an area such as Air Traffic Control, Avionics, Dispatcher, and more. Within the 120 total credits, you’ll take classes such as:
- Aviation Safety Factors
- Aviation Management
- Airport Operations and Management
- Aviation Law
LeTourneau University earns top marks when it comes to its aviation program. The National Intercollegiate Flying Association awarded it the Loening Trophy as well as the American Airlines Safety Award in the last five years. LeTourneau University also makes it simple for active-duty military to turn their field experience into academic credit.
Hampton University is a historically black institution that was founded in 1868. It is based in Hampton, Virginia. Over 4,600 students attend Hampton University, with around 92 percent of the student population identifying as Black. The student-to-faculty ratio is an impressive 10:1.
Hampton University delivers a 122-credit-hour BS in Aviation Management that is completely online. This curriculum offers classes that cover everything from accounting to business organization to transportation management. You’ll leave fully prepared for a managerial job in the industry with classes like:
- Crew Resource Management
- Aviation Management
- Airport Design
- Airline Operations
The BS in Aviation Management at Hampton University splits the major into two concentration areas. You can specialize in either Air Traffic Control or Airport Administration. Both areas are excellent avenues within the field to pursue. With both, you’ll not only understand the technical side of aviation but also the logistical and managerial elements.