If you’re interested in pursuing a career in aviation business or management, there are a few different paths you can take. You might choose to earn a standard business degree and apply to aviation-related jobs following graduation. Or you might pursue a more specialized business degree in aviation.
Why Study Aviation Business Administration?
Over the past few years, more and more business schools are offering industry-specific degrees, such as in aviation management. One of the reasons for the growth in popularity of students who choose to pursue aviation management, or to study aviation business administration, is the strict regulations of the aviation industry. Unlike other industries, aviation is highly regulated by the government, prioritizing safety over profit. It is also vital for those working in the aviation industry to understand insider lingo such as RASM (revenue per available seat mile) and CASM (cost per available seat mile) and how unpredictable factors such as terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and disease outbreaks can alter the industry.
What Can You Do with a Business Degree in Aviation?
A business degree in aviation can lead to many careers. Many graduates of aviation business administration programs find employment in airport management, or as executives in the airline industry. Here are a few career path examples you could pursue with a business degree in aviation.
Airport managers are in charge of the operations of airport facilities. Small airports may employ only one manager, while larger airports may require multiple managers. Airport managers enforce Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, manage relations with airlines and supervise building and runway maintenance. A business degree in aviation can also provide you with the skills to negotiate contracts with airport vendors or supervise other airport staff.
Air Traffic Control
As an air traffic controller, you are responsible for the movement of airplanes, ensuring safe and efficient flow of traffic through a specific air space. Air traffic controllers use radar to monitor plane movement and make sure that a safe distance is maintained between planes at all times. A degree in aviation management will also help air traffic controllers inform and advise pilots on weather conditions and regulate airport arrivals and departures.
Airline Management Positions
Airline companies offer many management positions, often having to do with managing the revenue of the airline, marketing, or operations. A corporate aviation manager is someone who holds a leadership position with an airline. They may be a top-level executive or they may hold a lower-level management job such as human resources manager or marketing manager. Managers are responsible for overseeing all activities within the company and/or their specific department. In airline companies, they may be involved in planning and implementing company-wide improvement strategies, such as reducing the number of delayed flights. A business degree in aviation will equip you with the skills necessary to analyze route profitability, plan flight routes, form alliances with other airlines, and create marketing strategies.
Airport Security Manager Airport security managers maintain the security of the airport and ensure compliance with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) directives and Airport Security Program requirements. Security is of the utmost importance in any airport. Airport security managers are also in charge of managing all security measures taken at their airport, conducting a daily inspection of security, and planning and implementing evacuation strategies in the case of an emergency. A degree in a business field such as aviation business administration will equip you with the skills necessary to perform these duties.
Applying to an Aviation Business Program
When deciding where to apply for your business degree in aviation, there are a number of questions you should ask yourself:
- Does the department have good computer equipment and multimedia labs?
- Does the college have any special admission requirements?
- Is the college located close to a major transportation hub?
- Does the department offer an internship program that will allow you to gain hands-on experience?
- Does the college offer assistance in finding work after graduation?
- Does the department sponsor student chapters of organizations like the American Association of Airport Executives?
Once you decide on a university, the next step is to apply. Keep in mind that the application process will vary depending on the school and the program, so it’s important to take note of the application deadlines for every school you plan on applying to. This is particularly true for international students, who may need to apply earlier than domestic students, or submit additional documents like English language proficiency test scores. In all cases, you will need to fill out an application, submit a fee, and submit letters of recommendation. Make sure you thoroughly research each school you plan on applying to in order to find out their application requirements and due dates.
Aviation Business Classes
Aviation management programs combine aspects of business, law, ethics, interpersonal relations and technical skills related to the aviation industry. In undergraduate programs, you’ll learn aviation regulations, economic principles of aviation, personal and professional management, and safety regulations. Some undergraduate programs may even offer work-study or internship opportunities with affiliated airports.
MBA programs in aviation management offer courses in specific business models and skills that are necessary to be effective in aviation management. These topics include international airport administration, air cargo management, and logistics. You’ll also learn what makes aviation different from other businesses and gain insight into the unique challenges of this industry.