10 Best Aviation Colleges In the U.S. In 2024

Best Aviation Colleges In the U.S.

Looking for the Best Aviation Colleges In the U.S.? then you have landed on right article. Aviation is a specific area of study that is available only in a few colleges and universities. Aviation is a very technical field and many universities offer certificate programs in aviation departments. In the United States, in general, degrees are more highly regarded when compared to certificates.

A lot of students dream about undergoing flying training in the United States. Moreover, most aviation universities here offer a multitude of resources to international students. The curriculum followed by these institutes imparts essential skills ranging from aeronautical expertise, flight training, analytical thinking and so much more. 

It is estimated that careers in aviation will rise by 13% from 2020 to 2030. It is more than average when compared to most occupations. Aviation University teaches students various aspects of the course such as flying aircraft and helicopters.

These programs are specifically curated to deliver an in-depth technical understanding of how aircraft work and so much more. Additionally, courses could include advanced topics such as aerodynamics, flight operations, jet engines, air navigation, and meteorology among many others.

Why should you do aviation in the USA?

Aviation is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the United States. Becoming a pilot in the United States comes with a huge range of benefits. Many students desire to work in this industry because it is accompanied by high salary packages, job security, and tons of opportunities for travel and professional growth.

In the States, the salary for a pilot could start from $60,000 and could be as high as $200,000 depending on aircraft type, experience, and total training hours. It is expected that the demand for pilots will increase with every decade hence ensuring job security. 

In aviation, the career opportunities include flight training which includes commercial planes and helicopters, flight instructor training, or even airline executives.

Studying aviation in the United States opens doors to opportunities for international travel since a lot of pilots prefer working for foreign airlines or private charter companies that facilitate international flights. Additionally, there are tons of benefits such as medical, dental, and vision insurance, vacation time, and retirement savings. 

International students flock to aviation universities to learn about aviation in detail. A career in this field could be an exciting and rewarding choice with tons of benefits which makes it a great choice for residents and international students alike.

Scope of career in Aviation:

The recent years have witnessed major growth in the aviation industry. According to studies, the aviation management industry is expected to grow by 10% by 2025. This would also result in new jobs and higher salaries for people interested in pursuing a career in this field. It is also predicted that there would be a 9% increase in air transport which would increase job vacancies for various posts such as pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics. 

One of the best ways to have a successful career in aviation is by starting early and working on skills. Degrees in pilot training, aviation engineering, and management are available from aviation colleges. Additionally, a lot of employers want Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) licences.

Pilots must, for instance, possess either a Commercial Pilot License with an Airline Transport rating or an Airline Transport Pilot License. Passing the FAA Commercial Pilot Written Exam is another requirement for pilots who wish to work for airlines. Mechanics might work at general aviation airports or as airline service personnel.

 The salary for skilled professionals in aviation is high since there is a lot of demand for the same. As per reports, the average annual salary of air traffic controllers was around $101,540 in May 2020 while pilots earned a minimum wage of $130, 910 as of May 2023. 

What is an aviation college?

Students studying aviation get training in piloting aircraft, such as helicopters and aeroplanes. In America, aviation schools usually offer training, which may be obtained from specialised trade schools, universities, or colleges.

International students can enrol in programs at US aviation schools that are intended to provide them with a thorough technical understanding of aircraft and flight operations. Advanced flight operations, aerodynamics, air navigation, jet engines, meteorology, and other topics are all covered in the course content.

American aviation schools prepare students to develop a broad range of skills necessary to pilot aircraft proficiently in a variety of weather conditions and for a wide range of objectives. Leading aviation colleges in the United States will instruct you in:

  • Communication: When in tense circumstances, communicate with clarity and purpose.
  • Situational awareness: Recognize the position, flying circumstances, and aircraft configuration.
  • Cooperation: To ensure seamless navigation, collaborate with the flight deck, other pilots, and the aircraft crew.
  • Fast thinking: Make judgments quickly and accurately, particularly when faced with difficult circumstances.

Furthermore, aviation schools give international students the chance to network with peers, instructors, and business leaders. Long-standing alliances between US aviation schools and airlines help students secure both internships and full-time positions.

List of the 10 Best Aviation Colleges In the U.S.

Here are some of the top Aviation colleges in the USA. Let’s have a look at them: 

1. Purdue University, West Lafayette:

Purdue University, West Lafayette
Purdue University, West Lafayette

Purdue University located in Indiana is one of the most reputable aviation institutions which has been the number one choice for most aviation enthusiasts. At this university, students can find themselves immersed in a beautiful aviation community. This university has its airport called Purdue University Airport which supports flight training and serves as a lab for students studying aviation technology. 

This school also offers a wide range of specialised programs to choose from such as professional flight and aeronautical engineering technology to aviation management. Students enrolled in these departments are also exposed to practical experience.

  • Establishment year: 1869
  • Average course fee: $28,794
  • Acceptance rate: 53%

2. University of North Dakota, Grand Forks:

University of North Dakota, Grand Forks
University of North Dakota, Grand Forks

The University of North Dakota is among the best aviation colleges in the USA. It boasts of offering one of the best aviation programs in the nation and is quite famous for quality flight training services and a broad aviation curriculum. The university encourages students to fly aircraft during varied weather conditions as this could potentially prepare the students for every situation. The university owns over 120 aircraft and is one of the largest civilian institutions in the USA. 

Additionally, UND also has tons of degree programs in aviation. These could range from commercial aviation to unmanned aircraft systems. With a rich community culture, this institute is a great option for students who want to pursue an aviation career.   

  • Established year: 1883
  • Average course fee: $25,367
  • Acceptance rate: 83%

3. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University:

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is also known as Harvard of the Sky since it has a reputation for being one of the best universities in the world of aviation. This institute encourages students to apply theoretical knowledge in practical situations by exposing them to various situations. Their curriculum also includes courses from various departments of business, technology, and aviation safety. 

This university has a collection of the latest aircraft and flight simulators which expose students to quality training services. The college is located on the beachside which creates a favorable climatic condition for flight training.  

  • Established year: 1926
  • Average course fee: $26,293
  • Acceptance rate: 58%

4. University of Oklahoma, Norman

The University of Oklahoma located in Norman is a hidden gem in aviation training and education. In this university, students experience an immersive aviation program which strikes a perfect balance between theoretical and practical training. This institute is quite popular for its Bachelor of Science in Aviation course. This university has an airport of its own called Max Westheimer Airport which is used as a base for students. 

Recently, the university announced that they would be replacing its existing fleet with the latest aircrafts which means that University of Oklahoma will have the newest fleets of aircraft in the USA. 

  • Established year: 1890
  • Average course fee: $32,673
  • Acceptance rate: 73%

5. Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo

Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo

Western Michigan University College of Aviation is one the largest in the United States. This university offers degrees in three programs which are Aviation flight science, aviation technical operations, and aviation management & operations. With high-quality training facilities, students can train on a fleet of over 50 aircraft which also include multi-engine and turbine aircraft. The graduates from this university are known to be placed in all sectors of the aviation industry.

  • Established year: 1903
  • Average course fee: $29,426
  • Acceptance rate: 85%

6. Kansas State University, Salina

Kansas State University is one of the best aviation colleges in the USA which offers top-notch aviation programs to students. They offer various courses such as pilot training, aviation management, and unmanned aircraft systems. This university is one of the most affordable among the list of colleges in this blog. 

Moreover, the aviation campus and the residential facility are within walking distance from the Salina Regional Airport. This institute witnessed over 340 days of good weather which supports flying hence there would rarely be a delay over weather in flight training. 

  • Established year: 1863
  • Average course fee: $25,986
  • Acceptance rate: 95%

7. Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City

Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City
Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City

Elizabeth City State University is located in North Carolina and offers rare aviation programs that are the only kind in the state. The courses offered here include flight education, computer science, air traffic control and aviation management. This allows the students to choose for courses within the aviation industry. With a wide variety of aircraft fleet and flight simulators available, students can undergo quality education here. 

Additionally, this college is also home to the only four-year air traffic control program in North Carolina. The graduates from this college go on to get placed in big companies with reputed salary packages. 

  • Established year: 1891
  • Average course fee: $14,673
  • Acceptance rate: 74%

8. Utah Valley University, Orem

Utah Valley University is located in Orem, Utah. The college is propped against the beautiful Wasatch Mountain range. The courses offered here are quite affordable which makes quality aviation-related education accessible to more students. 

Moreover, this institute invests in the latest fleet of aircraft where each aircraft is equipped with the latest technology that could help students gain experience with industry-standard equipment. 

  • Established year: 1941
  • Average course fee: $19,730
  • Acceptance rate: 100%

9. Iowa Lakes Community College, Estherville

Iowa Lakes Community College, Estherville
Iowa Lakes Community College, Estherville

Iowa Lakes Community College provides ground and flight training to students in their airport, Estherville Municipal Airport. The professionals here believe in imparting quality education to the enrolled students. Moreover, the college also offers various aviation scholarships to help students pay their tuition fees without financial burden. The average student receives about $2,300 in scholarships. There is a wide range of aircraft including Cessna 172s, Piper Arrows, and Cirrus SR20s. This community college also offers residential services, dining options, and 25 student clubs and organizations. 

Iowa Lakes Community College offers a special dual degree program in management and aviation. For those who want to become pilots, it’s a great option because of its fleet diversity, affordability, and college culture.

  • Established year: 1967
  • Average course fee: $20,299
  • Acceptance rate: 100%

10. Ohio State University, Columbus

Ohio State University, Columbus
Ohio State University, Columbus

Ohio State University offers aviation programs with a solid engineering background. With three bachelor’s degree programs and two minors, OSU aims to develop well-rounded pilots who can plan, direct, and run aviation systems.

OSU’s flight program is run out of the Ohio State University Airport, which is conveniently close to the main campus via car. In addition to a Bachelor of Arts in Air Transportation and minors in Aviation and Aircraft Dispatch, students here participate in demanding programs leading to Bachelor of Science degrees in Aviation and Aviation Management. Although in-state tuition is reasonably priced, airfare may be more expensive than usual. Nonetheless, GI Bill benefits and a plethora of scholarships can assist defray expenses. 

  • Established year: 1870
  • Average course fee: $30,185
  • Acceptance rate: 52.7%

Aviation Colleges in the USA:

International students can select from a wide range of aviation colleges in the United States, such as universities, flying schools, and community colleges. Depending on where students study, aviation training options include associate’s degree programs, bachelor’s or master’s degree programs, and occupational certificate programs.

The types of licences or certifications students can choose are:

  • A private pilot licence (PPL): It permits the holder to operate a land-based single-engine aircraft either alone or with additional people. PPL licence holders, however, are not permitted to fly for profit and are not entitled to payment for their pilot services.
  • The Commercial Pilot License (CPL): It is a requirement for receiving compensation for your pilot services. Commercial pilot training is more complicated and calls for advanced flying expertise.
  • Airline Transport Pilot (ATP): Along with PPL and CPL, the majority of commercial airlines demand that pilots possess an ATP certificate. Larger aircraft are available for ATPs to operate for large airlines.
  • Flying instructor: You can instruct other aspiring pilots in flying instruction. 1,500 hours of flight time are needed to obtain the licence, and you have to prove that you can mentor trainees.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which college has the best aviation program in the USA?

The United States is known to house some of the best aviation colleges in the world. Purdue University is at the top among the list followed by the University of North Dakota.

2. Is the USA good for pilot training?

Undergoing flight training in the USA is highly recommended due to its well-established infrastructure in aviation and wide options of flight schools and training facilities to choose from. 

3. Is aviation a good career option in the USA?

Aviation is considered one of the best career choices in the USA. It provides job security along with high-paying income.

4. Are pilots respected in the USA?

Piloting is an extremely fulfilling and gratifying occupation since pilots are highly recognized experts who are in charge of the safety and well-being of their passengers. Moreover, few other professions can compare to the distinctive lifestyle that commercial flying offers.

5. Are pilots in demand in the USA?

There will likely be a shortage of roughly 10,000 pilots until 2027, according to projections regarding supply and demand. Airlines are being forced by this gap to raise salaries to draw and keep pilots.


In the US, pursuing a career in aviation studies can be quite profitable and offer numerous chances for advancement. The aviation sector is expanding quickly, and employment opportunities appear favorable for students with varying degrees of expertise. Numerous career options are available in aviation, and pay is based on experience and skill. The future is bright for the US aviation sector; growth is expected to continue in the coming years.

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