MIAMI – The aviation industry is the lifeblood of the world’s transportation system, and piloting planes is an important part of keeping the world running. Even though the pandemic has reduced the amount of commercial air travel, once the pandemic ends, travel by air is expected to rebound.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that aviation careers will continue to grow at a pace of about 5%, which is faster than average. Currently, pilots have an average salary of US$121,430. Aviation careers are not limited just to pilots but also include engineers, mechanics, air traffic controllers, and airport managers. 

Degrees in aviation or related transportation fields can be tickets to a great career. In this article, we’ll look at ten colleges with aviation programs to help you decide on the school that’s right for you so you can enter a career in aviation. Many schools offer degrees in aviation, but the colleges discussed below offer some of the best-known and most respected programs in the field.

Photo: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide

Top 10 College Aviation Programs


In no particular order, here are the ten best-reviewed and highest-ranked programs:

  1. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MIT, located in Cambridge, MA, has 11,000 students and offers degrees in both polytechnic and STEM fields. Students may study aeronautics through a BS in Aerospace Engineering or a broader engineering degree. MIT ranks among the top five schools nationwide and is a prestigious choice for your degree.
  2. Georgia Institute of Technology. Georgia Tech’s Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering has a bachelor’s degree program combining lab and research experience with more academic theoretical courses. Its program culminates in a unique capstone course in which students explore a research interest in areas such as rotorcraft, fixed-wing, and spacecraft.
  3. United States Naval Academy. This military service academic is one of America’s oldest, and it is an approved “technological institution” offering degrees in a range of STEM fields. Its aerospace engineering program offers two different paths, aeronautics and astronautics. Both follow the same general curriculum, though the former includes rocketry while the latter focuses on the operation of airplanes.
  4. United States Air Force Academy. The Air Force Academy is a top destination for students interested in Aviation for obvious reasons. Covering everything from flight mechanics to airplane design, the Air Force Academy’s degree program prepares students for careers inside and outside the military, including project managers, defense contractors, and aeronautical R&D engineers.
  5. Purdue University. Purdue is a large university with a dedicated student body committed to its degree programs, including aviation. Purdue’s large number of aviation students are represented by ten different aviation clubs on campus. It also offers a path from a BS to an MS in aviation to help students achieve graduate credentials in aviation in just five years.
  6. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. RPI is a dedicated STEM school with a focus on science and technology. Its BS in Aeronautical Engineering program gives equal weight to fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and aerospace technology. However, students are given the opportunity to study across and between disciplines in order to explore their interests.
  7. The Ohio State University. The Ohio State University’s Center for Aviation Studies and the College of Engineering offers a BS in Aviation covering engineering, aviation, and technical applications. Students of the program can earn a Professional Pilot Specialization, giving them a commercial pilot’s license while they complete their degree.
  8. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide. Embry-Riddle focuses on aeronautical education and offers courses in aviation and aeronautics from its campuses in Florida and Arizona, as well as online. The program provides a wide array of specializations, including aviation maintenance, air traffic control, and unmanned aircraft systems, to prepare students for a diverse set of career options.
  9. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Virginia Tech offers more than 200 programs in science, engineering, and agriculture. Its aviation and aeronautics programs prepare students for every aspect of the aeronautics field and also include a unique combination with ocean engineering to compare aerodynamics and hydrodynamics.
  10. San Jose State University. SJSU offers a BS in Aviation that is heavily focused on hands-on learning. The degree program offers four areas of specialization, including professional flight, operations, aviation management, and maintenance management to prepare students for avionics, air traffic control, commercial flight, and more.
Photo: MIT

Unique Approaches and Requirements


Each of these schools offers a program that focuses on aviation, but each has its own unique approach and requirements. Some emphasize engineering, for example, while others focus primarily on careers. Some schools put more weight on hydrodynamics, while others are more deeply invested in aeronautics.

When you select the program that is right for you, you should consider your goals and interests and how the program of your choice aligns with those goals. You want to look for a program that will give you the skills and knowledge to achieve your goals and qualify you for the specific career within aviation that you want to pursue.

Students in aviation programs often find that they need help writing their papers and essays. Many students have found it helpful to pay a writing service like WriteMyPaperHub in order to have experts assist with the creation of top-quality essays on any aviation-related topic.

When aviation students make use of the power of expert assistance, they can free themselves from the burden of essay writing in order to focus on the practical parts of learning the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the field of aviation. 


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