Education

Best Aeronautics Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Aeronautics programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Aeronautics is the study of the science of flight. Aeronautics degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in the aviation industry, including pilot, air traffic controller, and aerospace engineer.

Aeronautics degrees offer a variety of specializations, including aviation management, aviation science, and aerospace engineering. Students in aeronautics degree programs learn about the physics of flight, the design of aircraft, and the principles of aerodynamics. They also learn about the history of aviation, the regulation of the aviation industry, and the principles of air traffic control.

How to Choose the Right Aeronautics Program

When it comes to choosing the right aeronautics degree program, there are a few key factors that prospective students need to keep in mind. The first is the cost of the program. While many schools offer scholarships and financial aid, the cost of an aeronautics degree can still be significant. Prospective students should research the cost of tuition, fees, and associated expenses such as housing, commuting, and parking.

The second factor to consider is the location of the school. Many aeronautics programs are located near airports, which can provide students with internship and job opportunities. Location can also affect the ability to network for jobs after graduation.

The third factor to consider is the time to degree. Many aeronautics programs are accelerated, which means that students can earn their degree in as little as two years. However, some programs may require more time to complete. Students should research the graduation requirements to learn how many general aviation classes they must take versus the specialized courses in their track.

Finally, prospective students should research the specializations available at each program. An aeronautics student interested in becoming a pilot, for example, may only wish to consider programs that offer a track in aviation. Students can also research the graduation requirements to learn how many general aviation classes they must take versus the specialized courses in their track.

Best Bachelor’s in Aeronautics Programs

The best programs for Aeronautics ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Prescott, AZ

The Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics (BSA) degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is designed for students who want to work in aviation-related careers. The curriculum builds on students’ existing knowledge and skills, and provides an opportunity for those new to aviation to acquire aviation-specific knowledge. The program is accredited by the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI).

Rank 2
University of Washington
Seattle, WA

The Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics (BSAAE) from University of Washington provides students with a comprehensive understanding of how to design, develop, test, and build aircraft, rockets, spacecraft, and satellites. The BSAAE degree program gives students a solid foundation in engineering fundamentals, lab work, and project experience with a real-world focus on teamwork, problem solving, leadership, and creativity. This degree is ideal for students interested in working in the aerospace industry or in a related field.

Rank 3
Saint Louis University
Saint Louis, MO

The Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics from Saint Louis University is a highly respected program that prepares students for careers in aviation. The flight training is conducted out of St. Louis Downtown Airport, which provides students with a complex and dynamic environment to learn to fly in. The program is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Rank 4
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS

The Bachelor of Science in Professional Aviation at Kansas State University is an online degree program designed for students with previous experience in the aviation industry. The program combines business and leadership courses with an aviation area of concentration, such as air traffic control, aviation maintenance, or professional piloting. Up to 60 credits can be transferred into the program, and students can complete the degree in as little as two years.

Rank 5
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK

The Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering at Oklahoma State University is a four-year program that prepares students for careers in the aerospace industry. The program features a dual-degree option with Mechanical Engineering, and students can choose to specialize in aircraft design, aircraft structures, rocketry design, aircraft propulsion, or space habitat design. Engineering students have the opportunity to do research and work alongside professors on projects in the aerospace industry. Scholarships are available for students in the program.

Rank 6
Florida Institute of Technology
Melbourne, FL

The Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science degree from Florida Institute of Technology is accredited by the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI) and provides students with a strong foundation in applied math and science. The degree is available as either a flight or non-flight major, and students have the option to specialize in air traffic control or pursue a career in military aviation through Army ROTC. The program also offers unique internship opportunities that provide hands-on experience in the aviation industry.

Rank 7
Charleston Southern University
Charleston, SC

The Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics – Professional Pilot degree from Charleston Southern University is a fully accredited, FAA-certified program that will train students to become a professional pilot. Students will study aircraft operations, safety of flight, aircraft systems, aerodynamics, and meteorology, and will have the opportunity to earn your FAA Private Pilot certification, Instrument Rating, and Commercial Pilot certification.

Rank 8
The University of Texas at Arlington
Arlington, TX

The Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering at The University of Texas at Arlington is a four-year program that prepares students for careers in the aerospace industry. The curriculum covers the broad areas of aerodynamics and fluid mechanics, propulsion and combustion, flight mechanics and controls and more. The culmination of the curriculum is a vehicle design project.

Rank 9
Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology
Flushing, NY

The Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Sciences from Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology is a flexible program that allows students to incorporate flight training with their academic studies. The program is designed to prepare students for careers in aviation, management, and technology. The curriculum provides a foundation in areas such as flight dispatch, air traffic control, and airfield operations. Additionally, the location of the college, adjacent to LaGuardia Airport, provides students with unique opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the aviation industry.

Rank 10
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ

The Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from University of Arizona is a well-rounded program that provides students with the skills and knowledge needed to pursue a career in the field. The program offers a broad range of courses, from thermodynamics to aircraft design, that give students a comprehensive education. In addition to classroom learning, students also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through internships and design build clubs. The program culminates in a senior design project, giving students the chance to work on real-world projects.

What to Expect From a Bachelor’s in Aeronautics Program

Most bachelor’s in aeronautics programs require around 120 credits and can be completed in four years of full-time study. The curriculum typically includes a mix of general education courses, major core classes, and electives.

Aeronautical engineering programs focus heavily on math and science, with classes in topics like physics, calculus, and statistics. Students also take classes in aircraft design, flight mechanics, and aerospace materials. Some programs allow students to choose a concentration, such as propulsion or aircraft systems.

To succeed in a aeronautical engineering program, students need to be self-motivated and able to work independently. They should also be comfortable with using technology.

Common Aeronautics Courses

A degree in aeronautics typically combines technical coursework with liberal arts classes. The following is a list of five courses that are often found in an aeronautics degree program.

Air Transportation

This course covers the history, development, and current status of the air transportation industry. Topics include an overview of the U.S. civil aviation system, the global air transportation system, airports, airlines, air traffic control, and the future of air transportation. Upon completion, students should be able to describe the development of the air transportation industry and explain the current status of the U.S. civil aviation system and the global air transportation system.

Flight Mechanics

This course covers the basic principles of flight mechanics as applied to subsonic, supersonic, and hypersonic aircraft. Topics include the atmosphere, forces and moments acting on an aircraft, equations of motion, energy methods, and performance. Upon completion, students should be able to analyze and predict the static and dynamic stability and control characteristics of subsonic, supersonic, and hypersonic aircraft.

Systems Engineering

This course covers the application of systems engineering principles and methods to the development of complex systems. Topics include the systems engineering process, stakeholder requirements definition and management, functional allocation and decomposition, interface definition and management, integration and testing, and verification and validation. Emphasis is placed on the use of modeling and simulation tools to support the systems engineering process. Upon completion, students should be able to apply systems engineering principles and methods to the development of complex systems.

Aerospace Systems

This course covers the basic concepts of aerospace systems, their function, and their interrelationships. Topics include aircraft systems, propulsion, flight control, stability and control, aircraft materials and structures, aircraft performance, aircraft weights and balances, and aircraft maintenance. Upon completion, students should be able to explain the basic operation of aerospace systems and their interrelationships.

Aircraft Propulsion

This course covers the operating principles of aircraft piston engines, turbine engines, and propellers. Topics include the theory of operation, inspection, and maintenance of aircraft piston engines; the theory of operation, inspection, and maintenance of aircraft turbine engines; and the theory of operation and inspection of aircraft propellers. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the principles of aircraft engine and propeller operation to the inspection and maintenance of aircraft piston engines, turbine engines, and propellers.

Career Options for Aeronautics Graduates

Graduates of aeronautics programs work in a variety of industries, including aviation, aerospace, and defense. They may also work in fields such as education, research, and development.

Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controllers are responsible for the safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic. They work in air traffic control towers, approach control facilities, or route centers. Air traffic controllers use their knowledge of aircraft performance characteristics, weather conditions, and airspace capabilities to give pilots the information they need to take off and land safely. They also use this information to maintain separation between aircraft and to keep track of the locations of all aircraft in their area of responsibility.

Commercial Pilot

Commercial pilots fly passengers and cargo on behalf of airlines, shipping companies, and other businesses. Depending on the company and the type of aircraft, they may be responsible for planning and executing flights, transporting passengers and cargo, and sometimes even helping with loading and unloading the plane. They also need to be able to troubleshoot any problems that come up during a flight and make decisions in emergency situations.

Airport Manager

Airport managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of an airport. This can include duties such as overseeing the maintenance of the airport grounds and buildings, managing the airport’s budget, coordinating air traffic control, and ensuring the safety of passengers and employees. Airport managers typically work for the government or for a private company that manages an airport.

Aerospace Engineer

Aerospace engineers design, develop, and test aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, and rockets. They also develop new technologies for use in aviation, defense systems, and space exploration. Aerospace engineers typically specialize in one of two types of engineering: aeronautical or astronautical. Aeronautical engineers deal with aircraft, while astronautical engineers work with spacecraft. Most aerospace engineering programs include courses in both disciplines.

Aircraft Mechanic

Aircraft mechanics are responsible for inspecting, repairing, and maintaining aircraft. They work on both private and commercial planes and may be employed by an airline, airport, or private company. Aircraft mechanics typically have a high school diploma and complete on-the-job training, which can last up to four years. Some mechanics also choose to get certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Insights From an Aeronautics Graduate

Rex Melendez is an Air Traffic Controller at the Federal Aviation Administration. He has a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Rex has over 20 years of experience in air traffic control.

ClimbtheLadder: How did you make the most of your Aeronautics degree program so that it prepared you for post-graduation jobs?

Rex Melendez: I made the most of my Aeronautics degree program by taking advantage of the opportunities to intern and work in the field while I was still in school. I was able to get a part-time job in air traffic control while I was still in college, and that experience was invaluable. It not only helped me to pay for my education, but it also gave me a leg up when it came time to apply for full-time jobs after graduation.

ClimbtheLadder: What type of person is successful and thrives in an Aeronautics career?

Rex Melendez: A person who is successful in an aeronautics career is someone who is able to think quickly and make decisions under pressure. They must also be able to handle multiple tasks at the same time and have excellent communication skills.

ClimbtheLadder: What misconception(s) do people have about an Aeronautics degree, and what would you tell them?

Rex Melendez: The biggest misconception about an aeronautics degree is that it is only for pilots. While it is true that the majority of aeronautics students do become pilots, there are many other career paths available to those with an aeronautics degree.

Air traffic control is one such career. Air traffic controllers are responsible for the safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic. It is a highly technical and challenging job that requires precision and split-second decision making.

Other career paths available to those with an aeronautics degree include aircraft maintenance, air traffic management, aviation safety, and more.

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