Although a career in aeronautics may not be a common goal, it can be a lucrative one. Many professionals in aeronautics and aviation pay an average income of six figures, including pilots and careers on the ground. If you’re interested in pursuing an education in aeronautics with the hopes of finding a career in this promising field, it’s very important to find a school and program that is suited to your needs. You can start by researching online aeronautics degrees to find out which aviation colleges will best prepare you for the future.
What Can You Do with an Aeronautics Degree?
Careers in the aeronautics field are quite diverse. Most people think of commercial airline and other types of pilots when it comes to aeronautics. However, the field has many other careers that will keep your feet on solid ground. These careers include:
- Flight engineer
- Aircraft technician
- Aviation and aeronautic design
- Aviation and aeronautic maintenance inspections
- Defense industry design
- Aircraft and spacecraft designers
- Military aerospace engineers
- Inspector and compliance officers
- Aerospace technicians
- Private or commercial pilots
- Flight controller
- Avionics maintenance technician
Determining which of these careers are most interesting to you is a good first step to finding the best degree program. Some schools may offer specialized degrees that are designed to prepare students for specific professions.
Is an Aeronautics Degree Right for You?
If you have a love of flying, a fascination with airplanes and helicopters, or a passion for travel, you may be well-suited to a bachelor’s program degree in aeronautics. Earning an online aeronautics degree can help open the doors to an exciting career building, designing, repairing, or operating airborne vehicles.
A degree in aeronautics is a good choice if you hope to embark on a career as a pilot, air traffic controller, or aeronautical engineer. These positions tend to pay well and are growing steadily. An aeronautics degree is also a logical choice if you plan to join the military, where airborne vehicles play such a pivotal role.
When deciding whether an aeronautics degree is right for you, it’s also important to consider your academic skills and interests. Most aviation and aeronautics programs involve coursework that is heavily focused on science, technology, mathematics, safety, and meteorology. If you excel in these subjects or find them especially engaging, you may find an aeronautics degree program to be not only beneficial but also enjoyable.
Best 5 Aeronautics Degree Programs
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research-based land grant university. MIT was founded to help grow the nation’s industrial revolution through technology. The school offers polytechnic and STEM degrees. MIT’s motto “mind and hand” symbolizes the desire to fuse academic knowledge and pursuits with practical purpose and application. Students who wish to get a degree in aeronautics can pursue a BS in Aerospace Engineering or take the broader engineering path. Both programs allow students to explore Fluids and Aerodynamics, Electronic Signals and Systems, Thermodynamics, and Physics and Dynamics.
Students who wish to pursue an aeronautics degree from MIT should know that it is ranked among the top 5 best schools worldwide. It also boasts 30K alumni based companies.
In particular, MIT became a space-grant institute of technology to support its aeronautics program. MIT is a school with worldwide recognition and many solid accolades.
Georgia Institute of Technology
The Georgia Institute of Technology is a public research university and institute of technology as well as a member of the University System of Georgia. It has six separate colleges that offer degrees in engineering, business, and the sciences. Georgia Tech’s Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering provides students interested in aeronautics with an opportunity to attain a BS in Aerospace Engineering. This degree combines coursework and lab and research opportunities. Students have the opportunity to learn about subject matter that includes everything from structural analysis to jet propulsion. The curriculum also includes classes in Aerodynamics, Introduction to Avionics Integration, and Mechanical Behavior of Composites. Seniors also take part in a capstone project with focus areas that include:
Georgia Tech is ranked among the best universities worldwide. It is one of the top 10 best public schools in the US. The engineering and aerospace programs are ranked among the top five best in the nation. From an aeronautics standpoint, the engineering and aerospace programs are also the top five in the nation.
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is one of the oldest federal service academies in the US and the second oldest of the five U.S. service academies. It was established under Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft. The Naval academy offers an array of STEM-based degree programs, including programs in aeronautics. The school of aerospace engineering offers two education paths which include astronautics and aeronautics. Astronautics introduces students to rocket propulsion and astrodynamics. However, the aeronautics path highlights airplane stability and control, as well as design. Both education paths cover core classes like the Principles of Aerospace Engineering and Structural Mechanics for Aerospace Engineers. Other relevant courses include Mechanics and Materials for Aerospace Engineers and Fundamentals of Aerospace Engineering.
Students interested in pursuing an education at the United States Naval Academy should note that the academy is ranked as one of the top public liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report and is considered one of the best schools in the US.
- Average Tuition: 100% of the tuition is paid by the Navy (Full scholarship in return for 5 years of active duty service after graduation)
The United States Air Force Academy
The United States Air Force Academy is a military academy. It is the youngest out of all five of the service academies. Students who graduate from the academy receive a Bachelor of Science degree. They are also commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Air Force or U.S. Space Force. This program is a good choice for students who aspire to fly for the Air Force. Students who graduate can find jobs within the military and beyond in fields and professions as aeronautical R&D engineers, defense contractors, and project managers. Students can expect a curriculum comprised of in-flight mechanics and aircraft design as well as:
Aircraft Engine Design
Flight Test Techniques
Aircraft Dynamic Stability and Control
Aircraft Feedback Control Systems
Students interested in attending The United States Air Force Academy should note that this academy was rated number six of the top Top 25 STEM Colleges. (2019)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a private, research-based university made up of six colleges. It was founded in 1824 and has additional campuses in Hartford and Groton, Connecticut. Students seeking a BS in Aeronautical Engineering program will study fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and aerospace technology. However, students also have the option to study across disciplines. Study disciplines include wind-turbine technology and hydrodynamic environments. Other core classes will cover the Fundamentals of Flight, as well as the Introduction to Engineering Analysis. The curriculum includes Strength of Materials and Engineering Processes. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is considered one of the 50 best universities in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report.
Aeronautics Degree Salary
Many graduates of aeronautics degree programs pursue careers with excellent salaries. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, airline and commercial pilots earn an average of $134,630 annually. Aerospace engineers, another popular career choice for students with an interest in aviation, receive an average salary of $122,270. Air traffic controllers are also well-paid, with average earnings of $129,750 a year. The money that you invest in an aeronautics degree has the potential to pay off in the long run with the professional opportunities that may become available to you.
Aeronautics Degree Prerequisites
Each college and program has its own set of prerequisites, and it’s important to review them carefully before submitting your application. However, schools will require a copy of your high school transcript, and you may need a minimum GPA. Schools often also consider which courses you have taken and how you performed in them. For example, many aeronautics programs have an emphasis on mathematics and may evaluate your performance in math classes. If you completed dual enrollment courses during high school, this can also make your application more appealing to admissions officers.
Another common requirement is a minimum score on either the ACT or SAT. Some schools have begun to move away from mandatory test scores, but even if one is not required, a high score might strengthen your chances of acceptance.
Colleges take letters of recommendation into consideration when evaluating your application. Request letters from former teachers, employers, or other individuals who are familiar with your skills and work ethic. It is especially helpful if you have a letter written by a person who is familiar with the skills necessary to excel in the field of aeronautics.
Finally, you will need to submit an official application and potentially pay an application fee.
What Is the Cost of an Aeronautics Degree?
Bachelor’s degree programs require an investment of both time and money, and an aeronautics degree is no different. The cost will differ based on a number of factors, including:
- Whether you are classified as an in-state or out-of-state student
- Which university you are attending
- Whether you have taken any dual-enrollment credits that can transfer to your new program
- How much financial aid you receive
- Whether the school is private or public
The Education Data Initiative reports that the average cost of an online bachelor’s degree is $51,091, with tuition for a private college running much higher at $60,593.
In addition to tuition, there are other costs to take into consideration. For example, students pay $1,230 on average for textbooks per year. Some schools also have technology fees. One advantage of completing an online degree, however, is that you do not have to pay for parking passes, dining plans, or the cost of transportation.
If you are operating under a strict budget, keep in mind that there are many forms of financial aid available. As you consider your options, it is worthwhile to research:
- Your eligibility for federal aid
- Any state aid programs that may be available
- Scholarships specific to your discipline or circumstances, such as those for first-generation college students
- Tuition assistance or reimbursement from your employer if you are already working in the field
Any one or more of these programs can significantly reduce the costs that you will need to pay directly for your degree. Likewise, while many schools require an application fee, you can apply to have it waived if you cannot afford to pay.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Airline and Commercial Pilots
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Aerospace Engineers
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Air Traffic Controllers
Education Data Initiative, Average Cost of Online Bachelor’s Degree