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Major Focus: Aviation

Laura Cobb September 23, 2021

Major Focus Aviation

Are you looking to reach new heights? Then a career in aviation could be for you. While you might instantly think of pilots wearing aviator sunglasses soaring through the sky (cue Danger Zone), there really is so much more to aviation than what we learn from our beloved Top Gun

top gun

Essentially, the aviation system involves everything that allows us to fly. From the engineers who design the planes to the folks who direct the movement of air traffic, there are many diverse career paths in the world of aviation. This brochure from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provides information on more than fifty different careers in aviation. Details include the training required and the job positions that fall under each career pathway. Also, take a look at this video series put together by the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading Foundation (ISTAT) which features a variety of aviation careers and personal stories from the field. Bonus: check out the generous scholarships ISTAT offers undergraduate students studying aviation!

To help engage the younger generation, the Aviation Career Education Academy led by the FAA provides aviation career exploration experiences for elementary, middle, and high school students. Among other things, educational programs such as these help students understand the preparation required to enter into aviation careers. While some aviation pathways only require a high school education or two-year associate degree, there are several that require, or strongly recommend, a bachelor’s degree. Here are three examples:

Airline Pilot 

While a bachelor’s degree is not always required to land a job as an airline pilot, earning a degree will give you something to fall back on should a medical issue prevent you from flying. Aside from a college degree, there are certain certifications needed, flight hours logged, and tests passed prior to being able to fly planes for an airline. Check out this article by The Balance Careers for some great advice on the different paths to becoming an airline pilot. 

Aeronautical Engineer

For those who are more interested in the design of a plane than actually flying one, aeronautical engineering might be a good option. Aeronautical engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering or another field of engineering or science related to aeronautical systems. Take a look at this short, informational video produced by covering the basics of becoming an aeronautical engineer.

Airport Manager

Airport managers are in charge of making sure airports run smoothly and safely. A bachelor’s degree is needed and because of the competitive nature of these positions, a Master’s in Business Administration can definitely be a positive. This article written in Airways Magazine gives a comprehensive overview of the ins and outs of becoming an airport manager. 

Choosing a Program

There are many colleges and universities across the globe that offer undergraduate degree programs in aviation. When deciding which is best for you, you’ll want to consider questions such as the following –

Highlight Programs to Consider

Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN offers one of the best aviation programs in the country. Home to the nation’s first collegiate airport, the university has hosted many aviation greats including none other than Amelia Earhart. The school of Aviation and Transportation Technology houses seven undergraduate majors for students wanting to study aviation including Aeronautical Engineering Technology, Aerospace Financial Analysis, Airline Management and Operations, Airport Management and Operations, Aviation Management, Professional Flight, and Unmanned Aerial Systems. The Aeronautical Engineering Technology program is ABET accredited, and the Aviation Management and Professional Flight programs are accredited by the AABI.

Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI might be smaller in overall size, but their College of Aviation is the third largest collegiate aviation program in the nation. Big things are happening there such a recently developed partnership with United Airlines' Aviate Pilot Development Program and the newly completed 55,000 square foot expansion of their Aviation Education Center. The College of Aviation offers three undergraduate majors for students to choose from: Aviation Flight Science, Aviation Technical Operations, and Aviation Management and Operations. All three majors combine revolutionary new curriculum with practical training and are accredited by the AABI

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Tagged: college admission, majors, unique majors, major focus, aeronautical engineering, aviation, aeronautics

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