Many professionals are looking to earn an accelerated online Master’s in Aerospace/Aviation degree. With the demand rising for qualified candidates, it has become necessary for schools to branch out of traditional programs in order to accommodate all interested parties. As it becomes more apparent that most students are working professionals, schools have moved towards providing excellent degree programs that can be completed in two years or less.
The programs listed in this ranking are academically and professionally challenging. They were built to ensure that every student who graduates is prepared to take on different roles in the aerospace/aviation industry. While these programs differ in terms of their focus and career paths, all were created to ensure that students have the proper education and training needed to enter the field.
This ranking would not have been possible without the research that was conducted using the National Center for Education Statistics’ publicly available College Navigator database. An initial pool of 15 schools was created by searching for accelerated online Master’s in Aerospace/Aviation degrees. From there, various factors were considered; these include tuition rates, time to completion rates, and online program features. The final 10 schools were chosen based on each school’s in-state graduate tuition rates; these can be found listed below in descending order.
Ranking Low-Cost Accelerated Master’s in Aerospace/Aviation
10. Lynn University
Boca Raton, Florida
Online Master of Business Administration in Aviation Management
Lynn University confers an accelerated master’s online in aerospace/aviation that is perfect for students who are interested in taking on an administrative position within the field. This degree is fully accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education. The curriculum was designed to prepare students to take on the American Association of Airport Executives Certified Member examination, a qualification that is necessary for students who are interested in pursuing further professional development. This is a 100 percent online program that offers students the chance to earn their pilot’s license, private or commercial, through the institution’s Flight Academy; it is based in Boca Raton and the license can be earned in just a few months. As this degree is an MBA, students will find that the curriculum focuses on leadership and management; courses will teach students about daily operations, budgeting, human resources, and more. This degree requires 37 credit hours of coursework, a Strategic Management seminar, and a comprehensive written and oral exam; students can complete this degree in as little as two years when they choose to study full-time. Sample courses include Aviation Organization Operations, Airport Operations, and Special Topics in Aviation Management.
9. Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana
MS in Aviation and Aerospace Management Online
Students at Purdue University have the option to complete a one year Master’s in Aerospace/Aviation online degree that will provide them with the necessary training to be a benefit to the field. This degree was built for working professionals and is conferred 100 percent online with no residency requirements. Students can work at their own pace, moving through the curriculum at a pace that is comfortable for them. Courses are offered asynchronously and synchronously on the traditional 16-week format. Students who choose to study full-time and take advantage of the summer term will be able to complete the entire degree in 12 months while part-time students may take up to five years to meet the requirements for graduation. This degree does not offer free electives but rather provides a rigorous curriculum that will enable students to seek employment in mid- to senior-level levels in the industry. This degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Aviation Leadership, International Civil Aviation Regulatory Systems, and Research Methods in Aviation.
8. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Daytona Beach, Florida
Online Master of Science in Aeronautics
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is the only institution on this list to be devoted to the field. This school offers an affordable accelerated online master’s in aerospace/aviation degree that comes with 10 concentrations, including Aeronautics, Aviation/Aeronautics Operations, and Small Unmanned Aircraft System Operation. This program is offered wholly online and has no residency requirements. Students will complete their requirements online through the school’s learning management system; sessions are held asynchronously or synchronously and are delivered in the traditional 16-week format. Full-time students will be able to complete this degree in less than two years while part-time students can take up to five years to graduate. The curriculum provides enough freedom within the free electives and specializations in order for students to build the education that they require. Students can expect to complete a minimum of 33 credit hours of coursework, a thesis or a capstone project, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Statistical Analysis for Aviation/Aerospace, Human Factors in the Aviation/Aerospace Industry, and Production and Procurement Management in the Aviation/Aerospace Industry.
7. Middle Tennessee State University
Master of Science in Aeronautical Science Online
The accelerated online Master’s in Aerospace/Aviation program that is available from Middle Tennessee State University is perfect for working professionals. This degree is delivered 100 percent online and comes with three concentrations: Aviation Education, Aviation Management, and Aviation Safety and Security Management. The program is offered through live and on-demand courses, skill labs, and team projects; courses run in the traditional 16-week format. Summer terms run between eight to 12 weeks in length and may be useful to students who are seeking an accelerated plan of study. Students who complete this degree as a full-time plan of study will be able to complete all the necessary requirements in less than two years; part-time students can take up to five years to obtain the requirements for graduation. This degree requires 36 credit hours of coursework, including a thesis or graduate research capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Introduction to Aerospace Research, Aviation Safety Management, and Applied Statistics in Aerospace Research.
6. Florida Institute of Technology
Online MS in Aviation, Aviation Safety Concentration
The Florida Institute of Technology offers students the chance to complete an affordable accelerated master’s in aerospace/aviation online program that takes just two years from orientation to graduation through the use of a part-time plan of study. This degree was created specifically for working professionals who are already working in the aerospace/aviation field and require specialized knowledge in order to move forward in their career. This program is delivered as a wholly online, non-thesis program that does not require any campus residencies. Students will be able to develop their own plan of study during their first semester in the program with the help of a graduate advisor. Courses are delivered asynchronously and synchronously through the school’s virtual portal; sessions follow the traditional academic term format. Summer terms range from four to 12 weeks in length. Students will be required to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Impact of Aviation on Human Physiology, Complex Aviation Systems, and Aviation Safety Management Systems.
5. Oklahoma State University
Online Master of Science in Aviation and Space
The one-year online Master’s in Aerospace/Aviation degree that is available from Oklahoma State University is a great choice for working professionals in the field. This program is available 100 percent online and was designed for those who wish to pursue a part-time plan of study. The program focuses on small class sizes and instruction by current and former professionals in the industry. Students will be offered asynchronous and synchronous courses that are delivered in eight-week sessions. If a student follows the proposed plan of study, they will be able to complete the degree in just 12 months. The curriculum is set, meaning that students will not be able to specialize with this program; however, the program was built to ensure that students gain the advanced knowledge the field requires. This degree requires 33 credit hours of coursework, an aerospace research capstone project, and a comprehensive written exit exam. Sample courses include Advanced Aviation Security, Historical Significance of Aviation, and Ethics in Aviation.
4. Delta State University
Online Master of Commercial Aviation
Delta State University confers a 12-month online Master’s in Aerospace/Aviation degree that is perfect for working professionals who have already established their careers in the aviation field. This degree was built to be conferred entirely online and at the discretion and convenience of the professionals who take on the requirements. This program is dedicated to the field of commercial aviation, making it a great choice for commercial pilots who are interested in moving into managerial positions. This degree is offered through the school’s virtual portal and utilizes live and on-demand courses that are held in 16-week sessions. Students also have the option of attending the summer term; full-time students who complete the degree in one year generally take one or two courses during this term to graduate within their allotted time frame. This degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Aviation’s Regulatory Environment, Advanced Human Factors in Aviation and the Aerospace Industry, and Statistics for Aviation Research.
3. American Public University
Charles Town, West Virginia
Master of Science in Space Studies Online
Working professionals who attend American Public University are offered the chance to enroll in an accelerated online Master’s in Aerospace/Aviation degree. The curriculum for this program was developed by former National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronaut Dr. James Riley and is a research-based degree that focuses on aeronautics. The degree comes three concentrations: Aerospace Science, Astronomy, and Space Policy. This program is offered 100 percent online and has monthly start dates, meaning that students may begin their plan of study when it is suitable for them to do so. This degree offers asynchronous and synchronous courses that are delivered in either eight-week or 16-week sessions; students will be able to register for intensive courses in advance to ensure they complete their degree in the time they have given themselves. It is possible to turn this degree into a 12-month master’s online in aerospace/aviation when a student studies full-time, take advantage of eight-week sessions, and attends the summer term as a full-time student. This degree requires 36 credit hours of coursework, a research capstone project, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include The Psychology and Physiology of Space, Introduction to Space Studies, and Introduction to Orbital Mechanics.
2. The University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, North Dakota
Online Master of Science in Aviation
The University of North Dakota confers a popular accelerated online Master’s in Aerospace/Aviation. There are four specializations associated with this program; they include Human Factors, Management, Safety, and Unmanned Aircraft Systems. This degree is offered 100 percent online with no residency requirements and may be completed in less than two years. It is a program that has been designed for working professionals who are currently active in the field and will provide them with the advanced knowledge they will need in order to further their career goals. Students will attend live classes that are delivered through the school’s learning management system and can begin their degree at any of the three start dates available. A full-time student who takes advantage of summer sessions will be able to complete this degree in less than two years. This is a thesis-optional degree that requires more coursework if a student opts out of researching a thesis. Other requirements include 36 credit hours of coursework, an Aviation capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include General Issues in Aviation/Aerospace, Aviation Safety Management Systems, and Legal Issues in Aviation.
1. The University of Central Missouri
Online Master of Science in Aviation Safety
Students at the University of Central Missouri are offered a one-of-a-kind accelerated online Master’s in Aerospace/Aviation degree. The school also offers students the chance to learn to fly planes through the flight academy; the flight academy sessions must be completed on campus. This is a program that has been in existence for 30 years and is perfect for students who are interested in becoming managers or leaders in the field. This degree can be earned entirely online or in the blended format. This is a two-year plan of study that does not require a thesis and will pave the way forward for students to become promoted in their current positions or move to a different specialization altogether. All courses are delivered asynchronously or synchronously online and there are no campus residency requirements. Students will find that their requirements include 32 credit hours of coursework, a research project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Airmanship and Pilot Performance, Aviation Systems Safety and Risk Management, and Principles of Aviation Accident Causation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Career Options for an Accelerated Online Master’s in Aerospace/Aviation Degree?
Earning a master’s degree in aerospace/aviation provides professionals with the chance to work in a wide variety of settings, including in the private sector as well as for the government. The field is rapidly growing, requiring more professionals, so the need for qualified candidates continues to grow. Below is a short list of possible careers that can be pursued once this degree has been obtained:
- Aerospace Engineer
- Commercial Pilot
- Air Traffic Controller
- Military Pilot
- Field Service Engineer
- Aviation Meteorologist
- C-Level Executive
- Manufacturing Engineer
- Airport Manager
- Aerospace Model Technician
- Avionic Technician
- Pilot Astronaut
Students will note that some of these career options, such as astronaut or pilot, do require professional training beyond the classroom. They will also need to be in top physical and psychological shape to take on these roles. This training may be required before or after they complete their master’s degree and so students should keep this in mind when planning their career path.
It is also important to note that high-profile jobs, such as those offered by the military or government agencies, require a great deal of commitment on the part of the individual. For example, to become a military pilot, students will need to gain their education, enter the military, go through basic training, and then go through military pilot training programs. The same could be said for NASA. In both cases, professionals will become government employees and will need to follow a specific set of rules and guidelines in order to maintain their career trajectory.
How Much Can You Earn in this Field?
The field of aerospace and aviation varies in salary; the current salary range is between $60,000 to $288,000. The lower portion of the range is for entry-level positions, such as technicians and consultants, while the higher range focuses on C-level executive positions within the private sector and entrepreneurs who have built their own businesses.
Students should note that higher-paying jobs come with the expectation that students have invested into their chosen career through membership in professional organizations, certification or licensure, and, in some cases, have even completed outside professional training that is separate from what they would learn in the classroom. While these outside qualifications and training are not always required by employers, professionals who invest into their career often fare better than those who do not take the extra time and effort to do so.
This salary range includes reported wages from various parts of the country. Students who wish to do well in their career will be helped by living and working in an aerospace/aviation hub city, such as Washington D.C.; Houston, Texas; Jacksonville, Florida; Los Angeles, California; and Hampton, Virginia.
What are the Various Disciplines of Aerospace/Aviation?
The aerospace/aviation field is one that includes every facet of the STEM general fields. Students will find that they will be required to learn everything from physics to engineering to computer programming and more. Here is a list of just of the few disciplines that can be found in this field:
- Computer Science
- Fluid Mechanics
- Transportation Theory
- Guidance and Control
- Systems Design
The amount and the variety of the disciplines that a professional will encounter during their career will depend on their specialization in aeronautics or aviation. Professionals who work as managers will deal more with the logistics and organization of a business or airport while pilots and astronauts focus on the mechanics and engineering that keep them in flight.
As America continues to expand its aerospace and aviation abilities, it has become more important than ever to provide training to professionals who do not have the time to attend a traditional program. From engineers and managers to pilots and astronauts, there are programs available throughout the country that will enable working professionals to further their education. The accelerated online Master’s in Aerospace/Aviation degrees in this ranking will provide every interested student with the knowledge and training they need to become qualified and ethical leaders in this industry.