Why This Matters

  • 61% OF U.S. PILOTS HAVE A BACHELOR’S DEGREE

    Around 61% of pilots, copilots, and aviation engineers report a bachelor’s degree as their base education level.

  • 133,300 OF YOU ARE NEEDED BY 2029

    The need for pilots is growing rapidly, with a 5% increase anticipated within the next decade. For commercial pilots, that’s a 9% increase. In total, 133,330 pilots, copilots, and flight engineers will be needed across the United States by 2029.

  • EARN AN AVERAGE SALARY OF $160,970

    Pilots earn an average annual income of $160,970, with the top 10% earning over $208,000.

Our Research

This list focuses on undergraduate programs in the aviation field, all awarding a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. Common degrees include a bachelor’s in aviation, aeronautics, airport management, aerospace science, and professional flight. We reviewed programs that are offered exclusively online or in a blended format.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows educational institutions to grant FAA authorization to graduates. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is also used as a national measure of quality for educational institutions. In addition to FAA and HLC-accredited programs, our list includes programs available through regionally accredited schools.

  • 71 hours to write this article
  • 69 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 103 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Online Bachelor’s in Aeronautics and Aviation Programs

Best Online Bachelor's in Aeronautics and Aviation Programs Badge
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What You Should Know About This Degree

While a Bachelor of Science in Aviation or Aeronautics is the most common, related degrees focus on more specific aspects of the industry, such as aviation management or technologies. These allow graduates to pursue an assortment of aviation industry careers, whereas a bachelor’s degree in professional flight prepares students exclusively for careers as pilots or copilots.

Seek out regionally or nationally accredited programs. Some programs only admit students with a pilot license, but most let students complete licensure during their degree program.

Commercial pilots will require both a private pilot license and a commercial one. Airline pilots will also need both, plus an Airline Transport (ATP) certificate, the highest license issued through the FAA.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching online bachelor’s in aeronautics and aviation programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Most online aviation programs allow students to pursue their pilot licensing and flight hours while (or after) they complete their degree, but others prefer that students already have a pilot’s license. Visit the program’s website to confirm qualifications.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? An online bachelor’s in aviation takes an average of four to six years to complete. Most programs require at least 120 credits, with longer programs requiring more flight training, flying hours, and work within the aircraft.

When researching programs, keep an eye on application deadlines; they’re strict for both admission and licensure. You can find this information on the school’s website.

Also, be sure to submit all financial aid applications on time. You should research further funding sources as well; many grants, scholarships, and assistance options are available specifically for aviation students.