The Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Aviation

the best online aviation colleges
The Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Aviation
1Liberty UniversityLynchburg, VA
2Purdue University GlobalChicago, IL
3Hampton UniversityHampton, VA
4Southern Illinois University CarbondaleCarbondale, IL
5Vaughn College of Aeronautics and TechnologyEast Elmhurst, New York
6Everglades UniversityBoca Raton, FL
7University of Nebraska, OmahaOmaha, Nebraska
8Central Washington UniversityEllensburg, WA
9Middle Georgia State UniversityMacon, GA
10Eastern New Mexico UniversityPortales, New Mexico

We have ranked the best online bachelor’s degrees in Aviation. All of these Aviation schools are located in the U.S.

This ranking is designed to help online students make informed college decisions concerning the best online bachelor’s degrees in Aviation. This ranking uses data from the National Center for Education Statistics, and academic influence of schools’ faculty and alumni in professional publications. For more information about our ranking methodology, see our College Calculator.

This school and degree ranking is designed for online students who want to become pilots, or work in Aviation fields such as Aviation Management, Airport Management, or Aviation Studies.

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Airline Pilot is one of the highest paying careers possible with only an online bachelor’s degree. In our analysis of the 20 Best Online Degrees for Careers, Airline Pilot ranks #2 in the highest paying online degree with a bachelor’s degree.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Commercial Airline Pilots median annual salary was $134,630.00 in 2021. The growth rate is 13%, which is much faster than average. Projected job growth to the year 2030 is 14,700 new Airline Pilot positions.

This is salary information for professional pilots who work for commercial airlines, such as United Airlines, or Delta Airlines. Private pilots do well also, but don’t necessarily have to have a bachelor’s degree. However, to be a pilot at all a pilot’s license is required.

Online bachelor’s degrees in this ranking include:

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The Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Aviation: School Ranking

Ranking Methodology

This The Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Aviation ranking was created using Successful Student's ranking algorithm. This algorithm uses the following data points to calculate a school's ranking placement:

Learn more about our methodology.

1.Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA

Liberty University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Aviation (Professional Pilot) degree.

As a private Christian college, Liberty offers a wide range of online programs from a biblical perspective. Liberty strives to make all of its programs affordable to all students, accessible to busy students, and of course of the best quality possible.

The BS in Aviation, Professional Pilot program is for both first time pilots and those who need to maintain their certification. Those who already have a pilot’s license may receive college credit for their experience, and reduce the needed credit hours of the program.

Classes are taught by experienced pilots. Classes are available completely online in eight-week sessions and run year-round.

Students with no prior flight experience can complete the program in two and a half years. Liberty maintains 88 flight training affiliate locations for students to complete flight training.

Liberty also offers an online Bachelor of Science in Aviation Maintenance Managementand an online Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management.

Credit requirements: 120 credit hours

Selection of courses:

  • Legal responsibilities
  • Safe flight operations
  • Aero-medical issues
  • Response to various weather conditions

Admissions information: Students must submit high school transcripts. Liberty accepts up to 75% transfer credits.

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2.Purdue University Global

Chicago, IL

Purdue University Global offers an online Bachelor of Science in Professional Flight.

For those interested in being a flight instructor or a professional pilot Purdue’s online Bachelor of Science in Professional Flight is a good program of choice. The program is offered in collaboration with the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology. The program offers a broad foundation covering essential career skills and all areas of flight operation.

The online flexible nature of the program allows for students to complete flight training while finishing course work. Flight training takes place at Sterling Flight Training in Jacksonville, Florida. Students with prior flight experience such as a multi-engine certification can turn experience into class credit.

Students may enter the program at any time with start dates that begin every 10 weeks through out the year.

Credit requirement: 180 total credits

Selection of courses:

  • Aviation Operations Management
  • Flight Instructor Lectures
  • Advanced Aviation Meteorology
  • Multi-engine Flight
  • Human Factors in Aviation

Admissions information: Students interested in this program must fulfill the general admissions requirements which include submitting a high school transcript. Once accepted to Purdue, the Dean of the School of Aviation will consider each student for acceptance into the professional flight program. Students must meet medical requirements and all FAA requirements.

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3.Hampton University

Hampton, VA

Hampton University offers an online Bachelor of Science Degree in Aviation Management (Airport Administration).

Hampton University manages a comprehensive Department of Aviation in the School of Engineering and Technology. The Department is unique as it has the only FAA approved ATCI program out of all the Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the country.

There are several excellent degrees available through the Department, however many are not in an online format. The most comprehensive online degree available is the Bachelor of Science Degree in Aviation Management (Airport Administration).

This program provides a firm liberal arts background for students to learn and practice valuable career skills such as research and communication. Life-long learning is emphasized. Aviation classes detail all aspects of the field from weather and flight safety to airport designs. Graduates are prepared for successful careers in the government and aerospace industry.

Credit requirements: 122 credit hours

Selection of Courses:

  • Weather & Climate
  • Introduction to Airport Systems
  • Private Pilot Skill Enhancement
  • Flight Safety
  • Oral Communication

Admissions information: New freshman applicants must submit official high school transcripts, one letter of recommendation, and a 500-word essay. Most students also submit standardized testing scores, however there is a test-optional policy for students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their class.

4.Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Carbondale, IL

The Department of Aviation Management and Flight offers an online Bachelor of Science in Aviation Technologies with specialization in Aviation Maintenance Management.

The subject of Aviation Technologies is a comprehensive field of study. Students will dive into practical areas immediately relevant to their career field. Repairing air-frame structures, trouble shooting systems, and managing hardware are just a few of the essential area students will cover. There are several areas of specialization available, however only the Aviation Maintenance Management specialization is available online at this time.

The Aviation Maintenance Management specialization is a degree completion program for already working professionals. Graduates from two-year aviation programs who have certifications can complete a full bachelor’s degree through this program. Students are allowed to use prior experience as class credit.

Selection of courses:

  • Avionics Communication and Navigation Systems Transition
  • Aerospace Lean Manufacturing and Maintenance Practices
  • Aerospace Supply Chain Logistics
  • Aviation Maintenance Shop Operations
  • Advanced Aviation Safety Procedures

Admissions information: Students must submit high school transcripts. Students seeking academic scholarships must also submit standardized testing scores.

5.Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology

East Elmhurst, New York

Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology is proud to offer hands-on degrees that quickly turn into successful career paths. Their degree programs center around three key areas: Aviation, Management, and Engineering and Technology

With a 14 to 1 student/teacher ratio, classes feel more personal and allow for greater peer interaction and networking. Vaughn College offers two online aviation programs:

  1. Online Bachelor of Science in Aviation Maintenance
  2. Online Bachelor of Science in Airport Management

The Aviation Maintenance program splits the curriculum into two key areas, classroom theoretical studies and practical laboratory work. In the lab critical thinking and analytical skills are honed. Students can practice with computer applications and modern modification techniques. As part of the program, students will earn the airframe and powerplant (A&P) certificate.

The Airport Management program details the airport environment for students to become successful managers. This means examining the balance of business principles in relation with the high-tech transportation aspects of aviation. Courses are constantly improved upon to meet the current demands of the field. Topics covered include areas such as fire and rescue services, control of ground vehicles, and airport security. Students have the option to complete the dispatch or air traffic control programs as part of this degree.

Credit requirements:

  • Aviation Maintenance – 125 total credits
  • Airport Management – 127/128 total credits

Selection of courses:

  • Aviation Maintenance
    • Rotocraft Design Technology
    • Avionics Line Maintenance
    • Advanced Gas Turbine Engines
    • Advanced Aircraft Systems for Maintenance
  • Airport Management
    • Industry and Labor Relations
    • Aviation Safety
    • Airport Administration
    • Principles of Macroeconomics

Admissions information: Students must submit high school transcripts and standardized testing scores.

6.Everglades University

Boca Raton, FL

Everglades University offers all of its degrees completely online. This includes the online Bachelor of Science in Aviation/Aerospace.

This comprehensive program is designed for students both with or without a current FAA certification. The curriculum covers both management theories and specific aviation courses. Students can further choose one of several areas of concentration including:

  • Aviation safety
  • Flight operations
  • Management
  • Aviation maintenance management
  • Aviation operations management
  • Security

All courses cover essential career skills such as clear communication and data analysis. Most students are able to complete the program in 41 months. Students with prior FAA certifications may turn their experience into credit and shorten the duration of the program.

Credit requirements: 123 total credits

Selection of courses:

  • Airline Management
  • Aviation Human Factors
  • Aviation Labor Relations
  • Aviation Insurance and Risk Management

Admissions requirements: Students must submit verification of high school graduation or GED completion. Students must either complete the University’s entrance examination or submit standardized testing scores.

7.University of Nebraska, Omaha

Omaha, Nebraska

The University of Nebraska manages the College of Public Affairs and Community Services through which students can find the Aviation Institute. This cutting-edge facility offers engaging programs of study and maintains three on-site flight simulators.

In conjunction with the Division of Continuing Studies, the Aviation Institute offers an online Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies with concentration in Aviation Studies. The Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies is a unique program for busy adult students. It offers a wide range of concentrations for students to match with their career goals from Aviation studies to Sociology. Aiming to be flexible, all of the concentrations can be completed online.

The concentration in Aviation studies prepares students for careers in dispatch, air traffic control, airline operations, and more. Professional instructors help students adapt to the fast-paced nature of the industry.

Credit requirements: 120 total credits

Selection of courses:

  • Introduction to Aviation
  • History of Aviation and Aerospace
  • Airline Operations
  • Introduction to Airport Administration

Admissions information: Interested students must submit official high school transcripts and standardized testing scores.

8.Central Washington University

Ellensburg, WA

Central Washington University’s (CWU) College of Education and Professional Studies offers an online Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management.

Aviation studies have been available through CWU since 1975. The program remains the only fully accredited one of its kind in the region of the Pacific Northwest. CWU’s Aviation programs are thorough and competitive. Graduates of the program are highly sought after by employers.

The online Aviation Management specialization provides a liberal arts background. This allows students to obtain a well-rounded educational experience. Students gain strong leadership and communication skills in addition to specific technical skills. Students are prepared for entry-level career positions after graduation.

The online, flexible nature of the program opens the doors for busy professional students to complete the program at their own pace.

Credit requirements: 34 – 48 credits for the specialization

Selection of courses:

  • Administrative Management
  • Threat and Error Management in Aviation
  • Aviation Labor Relations
  • Airport Operations
  • Airport Planning and Design

Admissions information: Students must submit high school transcripts. Students with a cumulative GPA of less than 3.0 must submit additional material including placement test scores and a personal statement.

9.Middle Georgia State University

Macon, GA

The School of Aviation at Middle Georgia State University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Aviation Science and Management (Management Track).

The School of Aviation has a national reputation for offering excellent educational programs. The School is home to the Institute for Applied Aerospace Research, in addition to its own small fleet of aircraft. This includes 30 airplanes and 4 helicopters. Students on campus also have access to several air flight simulators.

The online Bachelor of Science in Aviation Science and Management program provides students with a solid background in area such as Air Traffic Control, Flight Technology, and Aviation Management. Students learn Management theories and strategies through Aviation Business courses. Additionally, students are prepared with essential career skills such as leadership, communication, and ethical practices. Classes run for eight weeks.

The School of Aviation does evaluate prior experiences for credit and does accept transfer credit from other approved programs.

Credit requirements: 120 total credits

Selection of courses:

  • Aviation Safety
  • Aviation Meteorology
  • Human Factors/Crew Management
  • International Airline Business
  • Critical Topics in Aviation

Admissions information: Freshman applicants must submit high school transcripts showing a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or greater. Students must also submit proof of immunizations.

10.Eastern New Mexico University

Portales, New Mexico

Eastern New Mexico University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Aviation Science through the Department of Physical Science.

This degree offers a broad overview of Aviation. Students cover a variety of essential topics that are directly applicable to careers in airport management, piloting, military career, or air traffic control. The flexible nature of the program allows students to complete the degree completely online or in a mixed online/in-person format. Faculty members have years of experience to share with students.

The University offers students access to Aviation Service and Interest Organizations including:

  • Professional Aircraft Mechanics Association (PAMA)
  • Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance (AWAM)
  • Alpha Eta Rho (AHP)
  • American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE)

This program does evaluate and accept prior experience and transfer credit towards the completion of the program. A Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science in Aviation Science is also available and can be completed online or on campus.

Credit requirement: 120 total credits

Selection of courses:

  • Theory of Flight
  • Aviation Law
  • Aviation Safety and Human Factors
  • Contemporary Issues in Aviation
  • Aircraft Construction and Materials

Admissions information: First time applicants must submit high school transcripts and standardized testing scores.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get an aviation degree online?

Yes! Colleges and Universities offer online bachelor’s degrees in Aviation. These include Aviation degrees for Professional Pilots. Airline Pilots need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. However, online students will need in-person training at a participating airline to complete flight certification.

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What degree is best for aviation?

The best degree is dependent on the student’s career goals. For students with personal interest in flying their own private aircraft, a certificate program may be sufficient. For students with more ambitious goals of flying commercial planes or managing an entire airport, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree will be required. Students can start at the bachelor level and work their way up to a doctorate if desired. For becoming an Airline Pilot, the best online degree is an online bachelor’s in Aviation for Professional Pilots. The best online degree for management positions in the Aviation industry, is the online bachelor’s in Aviation Management.

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How much does an aviation degree cost?

Costs will vary based on programs. Students are encouraged to inquire at the specific school they would like to attend. Annual tuition’s may range between $8,000 to over $25,000.

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How long is an aviation degree?

The average Bachelor’s degree in Aviation will require the typical four years to complete. Students may reduce the required amount of time through accelerated programs, transfer credit, or prior experience. Minor and certificate programs will require less time, while Master and Doctoral programs will require more time.

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Is Aviation a degree?

Yes. Aviation programs cover more technical information regarding engineering, aeronautics, and physics. Students interested in flying commercial planes, obtaining managerial roles in airports, or the more mechanical aspects of planes would do well to consider an aviation degree program. Many Aviation programs offer additional areas of specialization such as aviation management and flight or aviation technologies. Degrees in aviation range from minor programs through Doctoral programs.

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Where can I get an aviation degree?

There are numerous aviation degree programs across the nation. Students should research their area for an accredited program. Many colleges and universities offer Aviation degrees online as well as on campus. All schools mentioned above offer online bachelor’s degrees in Aviation.

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Do you need a degree to be a pilot?

Not necessarily. But you will likely need a degree to fly commercially as a professional pilot with airlines. There are many pilots of private aircraft with only certificate levels of training. However, pilots who pursue higher education have greater opportunities for career advancement. Students interested in commercial airline piloting or managerial roles do need a degree. Some commercial airline companies do require at least a bachelor’s degree, whereas others don’t. It depends on the company. However, having a bachelor’s degree does set prospective pilots ahead of those without a bachelor’s degree.

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What kind of aviation degrees are there?

Aviation degrees can be found at all levels of higher education, from associate and minor programs through doctoral programs. There are numerous areas of specialization or concentration available such as: Aviation management, Flight operations management, Meteorology, Aeronautical technology, Avionics engineering, Flight dispatch and scheduling, Aerospace administration, and Aviation computer science.

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What is an Aviation Management degree?

Aviation Management is for students looking to take on leadership positions in the field. Classes for this degree have a greater focus on the planning and logistics of aviation. There is also a greater emphasis on essential career skills such as clear communication and professionalism.

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What do Aviation Managers do?

Aviation managers take on the responsibility of overseeing various aspects of the field. This may include overseeing aircraft production, managing flight control centers, heading logistics, or overseeing the operation of an entire airport. These positions generally require strong communication skills, excellent professionalism, and quick and accurate ethical decision making. These positions are generally challenging, but highly rewarding.

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