Many colleges offer bachelor of science degree programs in air transportation, commercial flight, aviation and closely related fields. These majors prepare students to become professional pilots, finding jobs with airlines, air taxi companies, corporate flight departments and other such aviation employers. To earn an air transportation bachelor's degree, you must fulfill several requirements.
Because a bachelor's degree in air transportation prepares you to be a professional pilot, flight training is an integral part of the major. In such a program you will earn your private, instrument and commercial pilot licenses from your university's flight school or a private training center affiliated with your college. Some aviation universities require you to earn a certified flight instructor license in addition to the aforementioned certificates. Universities see flight training courses like typical classes and assign grades based on your performance. Additionally, you will earn college credit for completing the required flight training.
To earn a bachelor of science degree in air transportation, you will learn more about the responsibilities of a professional aviator and the flying industry by completing classes on aviation-related topics. Specifically, you must complete courses on subjects such as aircraft systems, aviation law, aerial navigation, flight safety, aviation business and flight management. Additionally, you must complete Federal Aviation Administration-required private, instrument and commercial pilot, and, in some cases, certified flight instructor, ground school classes while working on your commercial aviation degree.
Professional pilots need to know about more than aircraft to perform their duties efficiently. For this reason, universities mandate that students majoring in air transportation take core classes, including basic mathematics, physics, calculus, technical writing and science, in addition to classes on subjects directly related to aviation. In these courses you will learn more about the mathematical and physical theory behind flight, as well as acquire the skills necessary to perform in-flight time, speed, distance and fuel computations.
General Education Courses
Universities want all graduates to be well-rounded, educated individuals who have extensive knowledge outside their chosen major fields. For this reason, you will need to take "general education" courses such as English, anthropology, interpersonal communication, social science and a foreign language, in addition to the core classes required for your air transportation major. Universities offer some of these classes as "electives," meaning you can choose which course to take, rather than have it assigned to you by your school.