Aviation Management

Guides · 10 min read · Jan 17, 2022
Aviation Management header

Aviation management might be among the most challenging yet fascinating careers in any industry. Clearly, it is not a career for everyone, but if you are looking for a job that gives you a high degree of responsibility, a very dynamic working environment, and great benefits including a really attractive salary, aviation management might be exactly for you.

To learn all you need to know to launch your career in aviation management and all you should expect from it, we have prepared this amazing guide for you. Keep reading as we disclose all the details.

Working in the aviation industry

Even if you like challenges, taking on responsibilities, and managing operations, teams as well as other resources, the first thing you should do before making any decision regarding your career is to learn more about the aviation industry and what it is like working in it. Such knowledge will give you a better overview of how different aspects of the industry relate to the aviation management career, as well as provide you with a first look at the areas, where you may need to have your knowledge reinforced for success.

Now, let us dig deeper into the details of the aviation management career.

A view of an airport through a waiting hall window: an aircraft parked by a jet way and being serviced by ground staff before another flight.

What is aviation management?

We have already pointed out the fact that aviation management is challenging, it offers great benefits and is related to many aspects within the aviation industry. With so many players in this field, we can also say that there are many different businesses for an aviation management career such as aircraft manufacturing, airline operations, maintenance, and other services.

In simple words, aviation management involves overseeing the operations of any business dedicated to creating and offering products or services for the aviation industry.

What is an aviation management degree?

An aviation management degree opens the main entrance into an aviation management career. A good aviation management degree will provide you with the skills you need to deal with the different aspects an aviation management career involves. Some of these aspects are business, operations planning and execution, managing resources, and the so-called soft skills to lead people towards the objectives of the organization.

Of course, for an aviation management degree to qualify as good or better, all the courses in it should be aimed to teach you how to apply all the skills mentioned above to the aviation industry, and they should also introduce you to some more specific topics of the air transportation industry itself.

The idea of any aviation management degree is for you to gain a comprehensive overview and a broad understanding of the aviation industry, together with enough technical knowledge that will enable you to launch your aviation career in any of the areas that conform to the aviation industry, or even as a leader in any other industry.

What to expect from an aviation management degree program?

Aviation management degree programs can be divided into two categories depending on the level of the studies. These result in Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree programs or MBA programs. Let’s take a look at each separately.

Bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management

Obviously, if you are just beginning your studies, the clear choice to start your journey towards an aviation management career is taking a Bachelor’s degree program.

While a Bachelor’s degree program will mostly cover aviation management courses regarding areas like air traffic control, aviation safety, and airport management among others, you can also expect this type of a program to require some knowledge in basic sciences and technologies like mathematics and IT.

Of course, the main focus will be applying all knowledge and skills to essential aspects of the aviation industry and management, so you can expect your Bachelor’s degree program to teach you about business administration and other management skills, for example, how major airlines and aircraft manufacturers operate. Some courses will even provide some flight training or an air traffic control specialization. To conclude your studies, the best programs will include real-world experience in the form of internships at the top organizations across the industry.

A student graduating from a Bachelor's or Master's degree, wearing a university robe and a graduation cap.

Master’s Degree or MBA in Aviation Management

A Master’s degree is very similar to an MBA, but they are not exactly the same. They both are graduate-level studies, but an MBA is different because it is a program that specializes and focuses even more on the business administration aspects. To get admitted to one of these programs, you are usually required to have previous aviation studies or professional experience.

This said both options are a great way to take your management skills to the next level after completing a previous aviation management degree. As well as aviation majors, you can expect these programs to cover all the essential aspects of air transportation and everything aviation management involves, but going into more detail and complex knowledge.

Given the fact that these programs are more specialized, you will probably be requested to choose an area of specialization within aviation management, meaning your aviation management courses will have a clear focus on the field you choose. The most common areas are:

  • Air traffic control
  • Airport management
  • Safety management
  • Aircraft manufacturing
  • Airline operations
  • Cargo transport operations
  • Airport consulting
  • Aviation insurance

The best idea is to weigh your career opportunities, so you can make a smart decision and gain a competitive edge with very specialized aviation studies.

What jobs can you get with an aviation management degree?

There are plenty of options to develop a long and successful career after you obtain your aviation management degree. And you could have a career either in aviation or business management, thanks to the skills you will have developed after completing your education.

Nevertheless, an aviation management degree will generally provide the education to prepare students for a career in aviation areas we are about to describe below. So, keep reading and learn exactly what you could be done after obtaining an aviation management degree.

Before we tell you about the jobs, it is important for you to keep in mind that being an aviation manager involves overseeing and taking responsibility for all the operations of the organization you are working for, so depending on the organization your daily work life may vary dramatically. However, general tasks you can expect to have included, but are not limited to:

  1. Hiring and dismissing personnel;
  2. Contract negotiations;
  3. Coordinating the activities across departments;
  4. Designing, planning and implementing strategic business initiatives;
  5. Guarantee compliance with regulations imposed by authorities such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA);
  6. Report to executives and the board of directors.

Keeping all the above in mind, let’s take a look at the aviation jobs you can get now.

  • Airline manager

As an airline manager, you will be responsible for overseeing that the personnel who is in charge of design certification, installation, test and turn up, maintenance of equipment, and other activities is doing a proper job.

Moreover, you will be in charge of the following activities:

  1. Assigning tasks or activities to the staff;
  2. Ensuring aircraft flight logs and maintenance records are correct;
  3. Keeping up-to-date with airline technical operations, trends and MRO market status;
  4. Evaluating or improving practices and procedures required to accomplish department objectives;
  5. Evaluating MRO-related projects;
  6. Identifying plans for cost reduction in engineering and maintenance;
  7. Providing technical guidance for aircraft installation, maintenance and modification;
  8. Managing airline baggage handling systems and operation.
Four docked airplanes being serviced according to the correct airport operations.
  • Airport manager

As an airport manager, you will be involved in airport operations as a decision-maker, and you will be responsible for making the policies and best practices to ensure a smooth and safe operation while guaranteeing the security of staff, passengers, and any third party playing a role in the airport operations.

Depending on the size of the airport, the tasks involved in airport management may vary. This said, common daily tasks include, but are not limited to:

  1. Complying with FAA regulations and other guidelines;
  2. Supervising managers and staff;
  3. Planning budgets;
  4. Adapting operations to external factors such as weather;
  5. Working with community leaders;
  6. Maintaining accurate records;
  7. Overseeing the maintenance and repair of airport equipment.
  • Airport security manager

This role could be considered as a specialized airport manager. The tasks and responsibilities will be basically the same, only that they will be mainly focused on ensuring security within the airport. As an airport security manager, you can expect to work hand-in-hand with security authorities and security departments of airlines. Your main duty will be to oversee that everyone making a living in the airport premises complies with the established security guidelines and regulations.

  • Systems manager

This is one of the broadest positions, as it is in charge of overseeing all the systems within the organization. For an airline, this could mean managing the value chain, the sales, or logistics systems, for example.

  • Business manager

A business manager is another general position that could be found in any organization within the industry. This time the duties mainly involve overseeing the business side of the operations, focusing on things like marketing, sales, and customer service. However, as a business manager, you will also have to work closely with the managers of other departments to ensure that the financial and other objectives can be achieved.

  • Freight and cargo manager

With such an important presence in the aviation business, freight and cargo carriers and airlines require their managers to make sure that the transportation and delivery of the goods are completed successfully. To achieve it, as a freight and cargo manager you will be responsible for ensuring that the correct procedures are being followed during operations such as loading, storing, and unloading of goods to and from the transport aircraft.

Also, you will be required to create business plans and check the efficiency of the operations to increase profitability and competitiveness.

Freight and cargo being loaded into an transport aircraft docked at a jet way.

There is more…

Aviation management is so comprehensive that many other specific roles can be encompassed in the aviation management category. If you do a quick search on the Internet, you will find that aviation management positions also include air traffic controllers, airfield operators, and other more specific and technical positions within the industry. In other words, aviation management will definitely open many doors for you to launch a career in air transportation and any related industry. As many like to say, the sky is the limit.

In addition, launching your career in aviation management comes with a series of excellent benefits. All the professionals in aviation management will confirm it. Let us show you some of these benefits as you keep reading.

Benefits obtained from a career in aviation management

The first thing anyone wants to know when speaking about the benefits of getting a job in a specific area is how much money they will get. So, let’s start with the salary that graduates in aviation management can expect to get.

What is aviation management salary?

In any industry, salaries vary from one organization and from one sector to the other. Even more, with a wide variety of aviation management positions you can find, the salary you get will depend on many factors. However, we will do our best to give you a general idea of what you can expect from an aviation management salary.

The average salary in aviation management sits at $74,576 per year. Of course, this is only an average across some of the positions in the area, and you could end up earning much more or much less.

For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for an airport manager was $98,890 in May 2020, while air traffic controllers earned an average of $130,420 in the same year.

However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also points out that 10 percent of air traffic controllers earned $72,760 which is much lower than the figure mentioned above.

In other words, you just need to make sure you are very well prepared and start building the always desired experience to improve your chances to see your salary increase as you escalate positions, which takes us to the next point.

Escalating positions in your career

Another great benefit obtained from a career in aviation management is the fact that you will not get stuck or stay in the same place for the rest of your life. Aviation management is an area that offers professionals the opportunity to keep learning and developing their skills so they can escalate to even higher positions within the industry.

For example, with the right approach and preparation, airport security managers can work towards becoming airport executives by building a comprehensive background in business, finance, and other skills that may not be in the core of security management.

Becoming international

While you may start your career locally, you can expand your reach by taking a position in a global organization that will take you all around the world. This is not only an opportunity to travel for work but also a chance to provide you with the option to find new jobs and new challenges as the knowledge and skills you obtain in aviation management apply to any organization in any location.

A visualization for international travels and travel for work: an airplane on a gray world map with a hand pointing at an eastern direction.

Different people and different cultures

Deriving from the previous point, the global nature of aviation management careers will give you the chance to meet different people from different cultures around the world, which means a great opportunity to learn more and enrich your own culture.

Travel and leisure

While it may be obvious, it is worth mentioning the fact that aviation management professionals tend to receive a wide variety of discounts and special offers when it comes to traveling and enjoying their holidays. These usually include flight tickets, car renting, special accommodation, and event special offers on different types of events and other leisure activities.

Other aviation management courses

Up to this point, you already know that the best way to enter an aviation management career is by following the right education. And this usually means taking either a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree. However, there are other ways to improve your chances of landing a job in aviation management or escalating your career, if you already have one in aviation. Yes, you guessed it right. Taking other specialized aviation management courses is one of them.

Courses that specialize in aviation management offer you the opportunity to keep up to date with the most recent and most relevant information in aviation management-specific areas. This is of great importance given the fact that the aviation industry is in constant motion and evolving quickly.

Also, courses covering aviation management topics are usually very detailed and offer students other benefits that traditional programs cannot. For example, some of these courses will only last months, weeks, or even hours while still providing comprehensive knowledge for you to be more competitive.

Moreover, the nature of these courses allows you to take them online from anywhere in the world, and sometimes they can take the form of a self-paced course, letting different students have personal timetables and adapt them to their daily life and work duties.

It is also important to highlight that, while very rich in knowledge, specific topic courses tend to be way cheaper than full degree programs.

A person ready to take a course online, sitting at a laptop with a notebook and a glass of water.

Here at Aeroclass, we have our own series of courses for aviation professionals and aviation students in general, and they are given by top-class aviation professionals, covering the most relevant topics for the current aviation environment.

The most relevant and updated topics for aviation management we offer include:

And this is just the beginning. We are planning to expand our offer to keep it updated for the future of aviation as well as make sure the newest technologies are applied for the current digital world.

If you want more information about our courses, we invite you to visit our frequently asked questions page.

Of course, if you still have any doubts or would like to talk to us personally, do not hesitate to contact us, we’ll be glad to meet you and attend to any of your queries.

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Carlos Collantes
Carlos Collantes
A mechanical engineer and aviation enthusiast dedicated to share some knowledge by creating top-notch content, especially in engineering and aviation topics.

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