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15 Colleges with Aviation Programs in 2023

Welcome to our guide to the top 15 colleges with aviation programs in 2023. In this list, we have compiled some of the best institutions across the country that offer top-notch education and training in the field of aviation. Whether you’re looking to become a pilot, an aerospace engineer, or work in any other related field, these colleges have a lot to offer.

This list has something for everyone, from traditional four-year universities to specialized aviation schools. We’ve included information on each college’s program offerings, tuition costs, and more to help you decide which school is right for you.

So, if you’re looking to take to the skies in your career, read on to learn more about the top 15 colleges with aviation programs in 2023.

Table of contents

Is Aviation Difficult to Study?

Aviation is a highly technical and challenging field that requires a significant investment of time and effort to master. The area encompasses various disciplines, including aerodynamics, propulsion, avionics, and aircraft maintenance.

To become a pilot, students must complete extensive flight training and pass rigorous medical and psychological exams. Aerospace engineers must have a strong background in mathematics and science and a deep understanding of the technical aspects of aircraft design and operation.

Additionally, the aviation industry is heavily regulated, so students must be prepared to learn and adhere to strict safety and compliance standards. While it can be challenging to study aviation, the rewards of a career in this field can be well worth the effort.

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Is It Worth Going to College for Aviation?

Whether or not it is worth going to college for aviation depends on your individual goals and circumstances. A college degree is not always required to become a pilot; some airlines and other employers may accept training from flight schools or military experience.

However, many airlines prefer or require applicants to have a college degree, and a degree in aviation can provide additional knowledge and skills that may make you a more competitive candidate for specific jobs. Additionally, a college education can provide opportunities for networking and career development.

Ultimately, the decision should be based on your own career goals and the specific requirements of the industry or employer you hope to work for.

What Qualifications Do I Need to Study Aviation?

To study aviation, you must typically meet specific academic and medical qualifications. Academically, most aviation programs require a high school diploma or equivalent and a strong background in mathematics and science. Some programs may also require specific test scores, such as the SAT or ACT.

To become a pilot, students must pass a physical examination and meet specific medical standards set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This includes vision, hearing, and overall health requirements.

Additionally, many aviation programs require students to have a certain amount of flight experience before enrolling. This can include solo flight hours, training, or other aviation-related experience.

It’s important to note that requirements may vary depending on the school or program you are applying to and also the country you are in. It’s always recommended to check with the school or program directly to confirm their specific requirements.

How Long is Aviation Course?

The duration of an aviation course can vary depending on the type of program and institution. Some aviation programs, such as a private pilot license, can be completed in as little as 6-8 weeks, while more advanced programs, such as an airline transport pilot license, can take several months or even years.

Some aviation courses may be part-time or self-paced, while others may be full-time or accelerated.

Does Aviation Pay Well?

Aviation can be a well-paying industry, but salaries can vary depending on the specific job and level of experience. Pilots, especially those working for major airlines, can earn a high salary, with some making six figures. However, starting pay for pilots can be relatively low, and it may take several years of experience before reaching a high salary.

Other aviation professionals, such as air traffic controllers, aircraft mechanics, and aircraft engineers, can earn a good salary, but it varies depending on the industry, location, and experience level.

The aviation industry can provide good earning potential, but it can take time and experience to reach the highest pay levels.

Best Colleges with Aviation Programs

Here are our top picks on the best colleges with Aviation programs in 2023:

  1. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  2. Purdue University
  3. Ohio State University
  4. Florida Institute of Technology
  5. Arizona State University
  6. University of North Dakota
  7. University of Central Missouri
  8. LeTourneau University
  9. Western Michigan University
  10. San Jose State University
  11. Eastern Kentucky University
  12. University of Oklahoma
  13. Kansas State University
  14. San Francisco State University
  15. Middle Tennessee State University

1. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Located in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Prescott, Arizona, Embry-Riddle is one of the top aviation schools in the country. 

They offer a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in fields such as aviation business, aviation maintenance, and aviation safety.  Also, they offer masters and doctoral programs in aviation, space science, engineering, and other related fields.

College website

2. Purdue University

Purdue’s Aviation Technology program is one of the largest and most respected in the nation. They offer a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees and a minor in aviation technology. You can also join their flight team and participate in national competitions. 

College website

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3. Ohio State University

Ohio State’s Aviation program is located at the Ohio State University Airport, where you’ll have access to modern facilities and a fleet of aircraft. They offer a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees in fields such as aviation management, aviation maintenance, and aviation technology. 

College website

4. Florida Institute of Technology

Florida Tech’s Aviation program is highly respected and offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degree options. 

Students get to study the hands-on science and math that are vital to understanding the aerodynamics of aircraft, as well as how to fly them. In addition to classroom learning, students also spend time in the flight simulator, where they gain experience piloting different aircraft types.

College website

5. Arizona State University

The aviation program at Arizona State University is very diverse and exciting. The program has different options for students who want to get involved in aviation. They also provide opportunities for networking with other professionals in the industry, which gives students an advantage when searching for jobs after graduation.

College website

6. University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota is a public research university located in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The aviation program at this university offers many opportunities for students to learn more about aviation and how it relates to their field of study. 

Students are allowed to get involved with many different clubs or organizations that are related to aviation. These clubs offer an opportunity for students to meet other people like them who are interested in aviation, as well as learn more about what they do daily.

College website

7. University of Central Missouri

The University of Central Missouri is a public university in Warrensburg, Missouri. 

The aviation program at the University of Central Missouri offers students the chance to earn a bachelor’s degree in aviation management or an associate degree in aviation maintenance technology through their respective programs. Students can also make a minor in aviation management if they pursue another major within their field of study.

Students who complete these degrees will have the knowledge and skills needed for careers in aviation-related areas. This includes air traffic control, airport operations, safety management, aircraft maintenance, and flight operations management.

College website

8. LeTourneau University

LeTourneau University is a private Christian university in Longview, Texas. The aviation program at LeTourneau offers students the opportunity to earn their private pilot license or instrument rating. The program includes classroom instruction and flight training to prepare students for their FAA exams.

Also, LeTourneau offers an air traffic control program that prepares students for careers as air traffic controllers. This program includes classroom instruction and hands-on practice in a simulated tower environment.

College website

9. Western Michigan University

WMU’s Aviation program is located at the College of Aviation in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degree options, as well as a minor in aviation. 

The aviation program at Western Michigan focuses on teaching students how to fly planes. The program prepares students on how to fly using single-engine and multi-engine airplanes. Students learn everything from how to control their plane and how to take off and land safely.

Western Michigan University also offers many opportunities for students interested in aviation through its student organizations. The aviation program at WMU is one of the best programs in the nation for professional pilots who want to become commercial airline pilots. 

College website

10. San Jose State University

The Aviation Program at San Jose State University is an excellent program to start your aviation career. It offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Studies and a minor in Aviation.

The Aviation Studies major provides students with the knowledge and skills to pursue careers in aviation maintenance, piloting, and administration. The minor provides students with an introduction to aviation studies that can be used to prepare for transfer into an aviation major at another university or as a stepping stone into an industry career.

Also, the program offers two graduate certificates: one in Aviation Administration and one in Aviation Maintenance Management.

College website

11. Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in aviation. The program is designed to provide a strong foundation for success in the aviation industry and for those who desire to pursue further education at the graduate level.

The curriculum covers all aspects of flying, emphasizing safety and professionalism. Students are trained to fly in various aircraft, including single-engine planes, helicopters, and multi-engine planes. Also, the program begins with basic principles of flight and continues through advanced aerodynamics and meteorology. 

Students learn about aircraft systems and how to use them in emergencies. They also receive training in aviation law, navigation techniques, and weather patterns. The final part of the program provides a hands-on experience as students fly different types of aircraft under the supervision of a certified pilot instructor. Students who graduate from this program are prepared for a commercial pilot or flight instructor career. 

College website

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12. University of Oklahoma 

The University of Oklahoma is a public research university in Norman, Oklahoma. The University of Oklahoma’s aviation program provides students with opportunities to study aviation-related topics such as aerodynamics and propulsion. Students can also choose from several concentrations within this program, including aerospace engineering or aeronautical science.

Also, the University of Oklahoma’s aviation program is a nationally accredited, four-year degree program. The program offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Management with three concentrations: Air Transportation Management, Airport Management, and Flight Operations.

The aviation program at OU is also one of the few programs in the country that offers an airport management concentration in addition to air transportation and flight operations.

Students also are required to complete a professional experience component which may include internships, co-op experiences, or other employment opportunities related to their chosen field of study before graduation from the program.

College website

13. Kansas State University 

Kansas State University (KSU) is located in Manhattan, Kansas. KSU’s aviation program is a unique and comprehensive training program that offers students a thorough education in the field of aviation.

The program is designed to provide its graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to become professional pilots and other related careers, such as air traffic controllers, airport managers, flight instructors, and aircraft mechanics.

The cost of tuition for the aviation program at KSU varies depending on factors such as residency status and full-time or part-time enrollment. Students considering studying aviation at KSU should know that the program provides valuable networking and job opportunities upon graduation.

College website

14. San Francisco State University 

San Francisco State University (SFSU) is a public research university in San Francisco, California. It offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in aviation, including a Bachelor of Science in Aviation and a Master of Science in Aviation. 

The aviation program at SFSU is focused on hands-on learning and has a fleet of aircraft available for student use. In addition to traditional classroom instruction, students can participate in flight simulations, aircraft maintenance labs, and internships with industry partners. 

SFSU’s aviation program also strongly focuses on research and has partnerships with major industry players. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in aviation, SFSU is a great place to consider.

College website

15. Middle Tennessee State University

Middle Tennessee State University’s aviation program is a great way to prepare for an aviation career. The university offers a bachelor’s degree in aviation, providing students with a solid foundation.

The aviation curriculum at MTSU is designed to provide students with broad general education knowledge coupled with specialized instruction in aeronautics and aerospace.

Also, the program covers aerodynamics, aircraft systems and maintenance, flight operations, safety, meteorology, and more. Students also have the opportunity to earn an associate degree in applied science with an aviation concentration.

Middle Tennessee State University is located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, about 45 minutes south of Nashville.  Students who major in aviation learn how to fly planes and helicopters and how to repair these aircraft. Students also learn how to manage airlines, airports, and other related businesses.

College website

FAQs – Colleges with Aviation Programs

Does aviation require a lot of math?

Aviation requires a basic understanding of math, including weight and balance calculations, navigation, and fuel consumption. However, pilots typically use specialized software and calculators for these tasks.

Can I do aviation without maths?

It isn’t easy to pursue a career in aviation without a basic understanding of math. Many aspects of flying, such as navigation and performance calculations, require mathematical knowledge. However, pilots typically use specialized software and calculators to perform these calculations.

What colleges are best for becoming a pilot?

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Purdue University
Ohio State University
Florida Institute of Technology
Arizona State University
University of North Dakota
University of Central Missouri
LeTourneau University
Western Michigan University
San Jose State University
Eastern Kentucky University
University of Oklahoma
Kansas State University
San Francisco State University
Middle Tennessee State University

Conclusion

Many colleges and universities offer aviation programs for students interested in pursuing a career in the field. These programs range from traditional aviation degrees to specialized aircraft maintenance and flight operations training. The colleges listed in this article are among the top options for those studying aviation in 2023, and each offers a unique set of features and opportunities for students. By considering factors such as location, cost, and program offerings, prospective students can decide which aviation program is the best fit for them.

References 

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