Best US Aviation Degrees
Aviation courses in the United States range from aviation management to pilot training, with colleges usually specializing in one area. Short courses are available alongside one- to four-year-long aviation degrees. Air Charter Service (ACS) has compiled the best and most widely-recognised aviation degrees available from universities and colleges across the US.
Purdue Polytechnic Institute
An academic college of Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana, the Purdue Polytechnic Institute provides some of the world’s best aviation courses, with seven different undergraduate degrees to choose from. The wide range of subjects covered includes professional flight training, financial analysis of the industry and aerospace management. While the primary focus is on theoretical studies covering every aspect of aviation, aircraft simulations are available for those pursuing pilot training, replacing the use of private jets.
University of North Dakota
Offering degrees for undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral students, North Dakota’s Department of Aviation (also known as the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences) offers a wide variety of courses with a practical focus, including Airport Management, Air Traffic Control, Aviation Technology Management, UAS Operations and Aviation Education. Mandatory flying classes are included in every course, in addition to standard aviation courses covering specialisms such as aeronautics, business administration and aerospace sciences.
Ohio State University
Considered one of the best aviation schools in the world, Ohio State’s Columbus-based College of Engineering partners with prominent aerospace companies to improve students’ employability through work experience, research opportunities and internships. Undergraduate and postgraduate aviation degrees are available, with options including aeronautical engineering, aviation management and a pilot specialization which can be combined with any degree. Students have the opportunity to earn their Commercial Pilot’s Certificate before graduating, and can then go on to earn a Certified Flight Instructor license after graduating.
San José State University
San José’s Department of Aviation and Technology offers Bachelor of Science programs in aviation and industrial technology. Both subjects allow specialization in a number of areas, including maintenance management, operations, aviation management and professional flight. San José distinguishes itself from competitors by providing courses for students from a wide range of backgrounds such as business, health technologies and product design, bringing a wide pool of talent and skill into the aviation industry.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Founded in the 1970s, the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona beach, Florida has more than 170 facilities around the world and is the highest-ranked provider of aviation degrees in the US. In addition to its huge range of locations, the university provides online courses to over 26,000 students, making them more accessible than the average aviation college.
With a selection of 35 undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, including courses for professional aeronautics, aviation maintenance and business administration, there’s a huge variety of choice. While Embry-Riddle does not provide aircraft for flying, its programs, including flight training, are conducted through advanced aircraft simulators and classes in communications, surveillance and navigation.
Academy College in Bloomington, Minnesota offers a range of aviation degrees, including Professional Pilot Specialization, Aircraft Dispatch and Aviation Business Management. Its pilot program gets students into a plane within the first three months, providing a combination of ground and flight teaching in both single- and multi-engine aircraft. This fast-paced, pilot-taught course is perfect for getting your qualifications as quickly and effectively as possible. Having pilots as teachers also gives students exposure to industry professionals, which will benefit them when starting their future careers.
Hallmark’s College of Aeronautics in San Antonio, Texas places industry-relevant learning at the center of its courses. Unlike many other aviation universities and academies, Hallmark gives pupils the opportunity to complete associate or diploma programs as well as Bachelor of Science aviation degrees. With a constantly updated syllabus and instructors with industry experience, the college’s 15-month programs equip students with the skills needed to work professionally in aviation. Courses include Aircraft Repair, Aviation Management and the Airframe Technician Training Program.
Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology
Spartan College in Tulsa, Oklahoma is widely recognised as a leading aviation university. Incorporating the latest technologies into its facilities and curriculum, the college provides the opportunity to complete FAA and FCC professional certification exams in aviation, aerospace, technology and manufacturing. Spartan’s Bachelor of Science in Aviation Technology Management can be completed in 16 months, giving students a swift route to key skills and knowledge relevant to the aviation industry.
Rio Salado College
Rio Salado is a community college in Tempe, Arizona offering associate aviation degrees (taken over two years) during which students gain the necessary skills for a career in the aviation industry. Courses teach the fundamentals of aviation including ground control, flight line operations, and passenger and cargo logistics. In addition to its degree offering, Rio Salado has partnerships with a number of employers in the aviation business, providing graduates with work opportunities after completing the course.
Aerosim Flight Academy
The Aerosim Flight Academy (AFA) in Sanford, Florida offers a focus on pilot training with a fast, intensive program that can be passed in 24 months. The course includes teaching on aerodynamics, automated and advanced aviation systems and mission-based training. While the first half of the course focuses on theory and training, the second half trains students to become flight instructors, with 600-800 hours of flight time required to complete the program. AFA promises all students a job interview upon completion of their course.
Discover ACS’ numerous aviation scholarships on our Education page, where you can check your eligibility. If you want to experience jet travel at its finest, browse our private charter page.