Best Colleges in California for Aviation

The aviation industry is challenging, adventurous and lucrative. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates the average salary for airline and commercial pilots is $105,720. The bureau projects that jobs in the industry will grow at 5% by 2024.

The aviation industry is incredibly diverse with jobs available in aircraft mechanics, flight instructors, engineers, air traffic controllers and much more.

The right aviation program should feature a concentration that is aligned with a student’s specific career goals. Some of the popular concentrations include professional pilot studies, aviation management, air traffic management, and aeronautics. Another popular specialization is Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)- an emerging aviation technology field that is strictly regulated by Federal Aviation Administration. If you hope to become a commercial pilot, consider a program that is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. This will drastically reduce the required flight training hours that you will have to satisfy.

What are the Best Colleges in California for Aviation?

Best Colleges for Aviation: California Institute of Technology

The aviation program at California Institute of Technology is offered through the Division of Engineering and Applied Science in the Department of Aerospace. The university offers a minor in aerospace that is designed for students who wish to graduate with a specialty in aerospace or aeronautical engineering. California Institute of Technology offers a master’s degree in aeronautics. The master’s degree is a one year program that provides advanced training in the areas of aeronautics or aerospace. The university also offers a Ph.D. in aeronautics. Prospective students must complete the courses for the master’s degree in one year. After the first year of study, the student is required to pass an exam to determine if they are qualified to pursue a Ph.D. level of research. California Institute of Technology features the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories. The laboratory has a long legacy in aerospace research. The institute is famous for its unvalued experimental facilities in fluids, solids, materials, biomechanics, propulsion and combustion, space technology, computational and theoretical mechanics.

In 2016, News and World Report ranked California Institute of Technology 4th in the nation for its graduate programs in aerospace and aeronautics.

Best Colleges for Aviation: California State University, Los Angeles

The aviation program at California State University, Los Angeles is offered through the Department of Technology. The department offers three undergraduate programs in areas designed to prepare students for management oriented careers:

  • Aviation administration
  • Fire protection administration
  • Industrial technology

Some courses that are offered in the program include:

  • Air traffic control
  • Airline finance
  • Airline management and operations
  • Airport administration
  • Airport planning
  • Aviation law
  • General aviation management

The university features Structures, Propulsion, and Control Engineering (SPACE) university research center that was established in 2003.The center features two laboratories: The Structures Pointing and Control Engineering Center and the Multidisciplinary Flight Dynamics and Control Laboratory. The center conducts research and development in numerous research areas:

  • Uninhibited Air vehicles (UAV) development
  • Wind-Tunnel Testing and validations
  • Thermal analysis of space systems
  • Ubiquitous computing and embedded architectures
  • Intelligent flight control, autonomous control, formation flying

In 2017, California State University, Los Angeles was awarded the second-place honor at the Federal Aviation Administration’s Western Pacific Region Airports Conference for its Aviation Administration degree program.

Best Colleges for Aviation: Stanford University

Aviation program at Stanford University is offered through the School of Engineering’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The university offers an undergraduate program in Aeronautics and Astronautics that explores numerous aerospace-related concepts.  Courses covered in the program include:

–    Surviving space

–    Electric automobiles and aircraft

–    Atmospheric flight

–    Applied aerodynamics

The Ph.D. program is available for interested students who have fulfilled the requirements for the Masters of Science degree. The prospective students must also pass the Departmental Qualifying Examination to be eligible for admission.

Uniquely Stanford University:

Stanford University offers Stanford – IATA Aviation Management Certificate. The certificate program is a unique blend of business management and aviation training. The certificate aims at preparing students for a career in the managerial position within the aviation industry. Some of the course topics covered in the professional certificate includes:

  • Leadership
  • Strategic execution
  • Aviation operations
  • Mastering project management

Stanford University features numerous aeronautics and astronautics related labs:

–   Aero fluid mechanics lab

–    Aerospace design laboratory

–    Aerospace robotics laboratory

–    Aircraft aerodynamics and design group

–    Irony high-performance computing

–    Computing research center

–    Autonomous systems lab

Stanford University’s aviation programs were ranked Best Graduate Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering program by US News and World Report 2018.

California offers a variety of programs sure to provide the foundational and technical skills needed to become an aviation professional. California College Bound would be delighted to be part of your journey to an amazing career. Sign up for California College Bound’s college tours to visit the aviation program of your choice.

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