Air Transportation

Overview of Air Transportation as a College Program

Air transportation programs are considered trade or technical programs, and are therefore coordinated by these departments at colleges and universities. The hands-on nature of the program means students will be exposed to a curriculum that combines classroom learning with practical training where students get a chance to try their hand at the skills they have learned.

Air Transportation Curriculum

Different schools may have different curriculums for their air transportation degrees, but many courses and topics remain the same regardless of the institution teaching the program. Some of the courses taught in an air transportation degree program include:

  • Safety
  • Airport layout/design
  • Laws and regulations of air transportation
  • Airspace systems
  • Aviation business administration
  • Meteorology
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Physics
  • Tools and maintenance
  • Computer technology

Education Levels Available for an Air Transportation Degree

Air transportation degrees are usually available at the lower levels of higher education. This is because the air transportation degree is a pre-cursor to other degrees related to air travel. Universities which offer four year degrees and beyond focus on these other degrees, therefore a bachelor's degree or further study in air transportation is not available.
In the areas of higher education, the air transportation degree is either awarded as a Certificate or Associate's degree in air transportation. The Certificate program requires a one-year commitment while the Associate's degree usually takes approximately two years to complete.

Skills Developed through an Air Transportation Degree Program

An air transportation degree teaches students a variety of skills. Many of these skills are specific to the field of air transportation, but others can be applied to your personal life. Some of the skills that an air transportation degree provides include:
Knowledge of advanced mathematics including calculus, geometry, and algebra

  • Exposure to physics concepts, especially those dealing with the mechanics of motion, acceleration, speed and other concepts that coordinate with flight
  • Understanding of the mechanical processes that allow an airplane to fly and an airport to function
  • Understanding of dispatch communications, air traffic control procedures and airport management concepts
  • Ability to use computers for air transportation
  • Communication techniques
  • Ability to keep people calm in dangerous situations (emergency management skills)
Where to Obtain an Air Transportation Degree

Air transportation degrees are offered through a number of different sources and institutions. They can be earned at community colleges as Associate's degrees. Most air transportation degrees, however, are obtained through vocational schools and technical colleges as certificates or Associate's degrees. Air transportation degrees can be obtained online as well. An online degree is very convenient for students who plan to work while getting an education or require more flexibility in their course schedules.

Career Opportunities for Air Transportation Majors

Students who complete an air transportation degree program have a number of career options available. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of air transportation positions is expected to increase by 7 percent in the 2008-2018 period. Air transportation degree graduates can find employment as flight attendants, ticket agents, and transportation workers. The median annual wages for cargo agents was $38,080 in May 2008. Further education in the field allows graduates to become pilots and earn a salary of $114,400.

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