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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Aeronautic Science

Majors Overview April 10, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in aeronautic science and their coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and certification and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Aeronautic Science

Students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program in aeronautic science are taught to fly with an instructor and must record a required number of flying hours every semester. Concentration areas such as an airline pilot, military pilot, or commercial pilot are available in some programs.

After they complete a bachelor’s program in aeronautic science, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Commercial Pilot Certificate is awarded to the majority of graduates. Aeronautical schools typically offer these four-year programs as classroom instruction along with time spent flying aircraft. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma.

Coursework

Apart from core courses, general education requirements must also be completed by students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs in aeronautic science, including classes in physics, business, communications, and mathematics. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as the following:

•Transportation logistics
•Aviation meteorology
•Flight instructor rating
•Aerodynamics
•Aircraft performance
•Instrument and commercial pilot operations

Career Choices

Those who complete the program may seek entry-level careers as pilots with a commercial airline or within the military. Those seeking military jobs may begin as flight instructors before advancing to become pilots. Graduates may also seek employment as aviation safety experts or airport managers.

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, job growth rates of 7% have been predicted for flight engineers, airline pilots, and copilots (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The low growth projection is attributed to the expected attempts by airlines to become more profitable through decreasing the number of flights while increasing the average number of passengers per flight. In May 2013, these professionals brought home an average annual wage of $115,300 (BLS).

Certification and Continuing Education Choices

Those who complete the bachelor’s program may opt for continuing education by earning a master’s and/or doctoral degree in aeronautics. Coursework in these programs is a combination of practical and theoretical instruction; specializations in areas such as aerospace management, aviation meteorology, or air traffic management are available at some schools.

FAA licensure is obtainable for applicants that are at least 18 years old and have completed 250 hours of flying experience (BLS), in addition to passing a written test and a stringent physical exam and showcasing their flying expertise before testing administrators.

Those aspiring to fly commercial airplanes are required to be at least 23 years of age with 1,500 hours of flying experience, including instrument and cross-country flying. Aptitude and psychological tests are a requirement for employment with some airlines. Validity of licensure is maintainable through passage of periodic physical and vision exams, in addition to completing flying skills required by the FAA and the airline.

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