Most Affordable Online Aviation Degrees 2021

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Bachelor’s in Aeronautics

Aviation encompasses the design and maintenance of aircraft, along with the management and organization of airports and flights. An online aviation degree introduces the field’s major concepts. Many aviation programs also allow students to specialize in an area, such as piloting, aviation administration, or aircraft repair and maintenance.

Aviation offers strong job prospects with high salary potential. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that airline and commercial pilots earn an annual median salary of $121,430. The BLS projects careers in the field to grow faster than the national average between 2019-2029. This page offers an overview of online aviation degrees, including common courses, professional licenses and certifications, and scholarship opportunities.

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Bachelor's in Aeronautics Questions and Answers


  • How long is an aviation degree?

    Completion times vary among schools and programs. Most associate aviation degrees take about two years of full-time study to complete. Bachelor’s degrees take about four years to finish.


  • What degree is best for aviation?

    An associate degree in aviation can prepare graduates for entry-level pilot positions. A bachelor’s degree or higher may lead to leadership roles.


  • What degree do you need for aviation?

    Pilot jobs at major airlines generally require at least a bachelor’s degree. Commercial pilot jobs may require an associate degree or a high school diploma, along with a pilot’s license.


  • Can you get an aviation degree online?

    Many colleges offer online aviation degrees, though students must complete flight training requirements in person.


Why Get an Aviation Degree?

This list highlights five benefits of earning an online aviation degree.

Increased Job Opportunities
A degree in aviation offers advanced training that prepares graduates for many career opportunities.
Increased Salary Potential
Aviation graduates can pursue roles with strong salary potential.
Hands-On Learning
Aviation students learn from professional pilots, logging thousands of hours of flight training in many different types of aircraft.
Networking Opportunities
Aviation programs allow students to make valuable connections with pilots and other aviation and aeronautical professionals.
Access to College Facilities
Many colleges host sizable aviation facilities with advanced flight simulators and many different types of aircraft.

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Courses in Aviation

Aviation encompasses many concepts, practices, and regulations. Most online aviation degrees offer a broad introduction to the field along with specialized courses. In many programs, students receive an overview of the aviation industry, including flight science, aviation management practices, airport and flight safety, and aviation regulation practices.

Courses vary by program, but this list highlights five courses commonly found in online aviation programs.

Most programs begin with an introductory course that offers an overview of the aviation field and its guiding principles. This course may introduce foundational concepts such as flight dynamics, aviation industry career paths, technical specifications of common aircraft, and the history of powered flight.

All aviation programs address various aviation safety topics. Introductory courses in aviation safety often cover fundamental safety concepts such as human factors, risk management, prevention methods, safety programs, and aviation regulations.

Meteorology plays an important role in aviation, as weather conditions commonly affect flight conditions and airport management practices. This course explores meteorology and weather in relation to flight scenarios. Topics covered commonly include weather patterns, forecast and analysis techniques, and weather response strategies.

Pilots, aircraft controllers, and airport administrators must understand the various aspects of airport operations and management. This course highlights the common practices and processes that govern airports and the roles that different professionals play in managing flights. Students also gain a broad understanding of airport rules and regulations.

A complex system of laws and regulations governs the operations of domestic and international flights. Most programs offer at least an introductory course in aviation law, which highlights topics such as traffic rules, regulatory agencies, aircraft operations, and criminal statutes.

Certifications and Licensure for Aviation

The aviation industry uses a complex system of certifications to dictate which pilots can fly different types of aircraft under various weather conditions. In many cases, certifications build on each other. This list highlights three common aviation certifications.

Private Pilot Certification


Functioning like a driver’s license for aviation, private pilot certification enables individuals to fly smaller planes during the day or night under favorable visual conditions. Private pilot certification does not prepare students to fly commercial aircraft, but it serves as the first step toward professional piloting.

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Instrument Rating


More advanced than private pilot certification, this credential enables pilots to fly in inclement weather conditions. To obtain the instrument rating certification, pilots must complete 40 hours of instrument time, 50 hours of cross-country flight, and 15 hours of instrument flight training.

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Commercial Pilot Certification


Enabling pilots to receive financial compensation for flying, commercial pilot certification serves as a key designation in the aviation field. To earn this certification, pilots must complete 250 hours of flight time, 50 hours of cross-country flight time, and 100 hours of pilot-in-command time. They must also complete 10 hours of solo training and 20 hours of additional training.

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Scholarships for Aviation Students

Many students seek funding for their aviation online degree through scholarships. Some scholarships serve aviation students of all types, while others may serve those with specific backgrounds or career plans. This list highlights three popular aviation scholarships.

  • AAERO Scholarship Program

    Who Can Apply: Digital communications firm AAERO offers this scholarship to aspiring pilots who have not yet earned professional pilot certification. Applicants must be enrolled in an approved flight school.

    Amount: $1,000-$2,500

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  • Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: Serving female pilots and aviation professionals, the AE Memorial Scholarship program offers a variety of financial awards. All applicants must demonstrate financial need and a commitment to aviation.

    Amount: Varies

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  • Experimental Aircraft Association Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: The Experimental Aircraft Association offers various scholarships for students pursuing aviation or an aviation-related STEM field. Applicants must demonstrate community involvement and dedication to aviation.

    Amount: Varies

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Most Affordable Online Aviation Degrees 2021

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