2020 Best Colleges Badge

25 Best Aviation Schools 2020

By the GradReports team | Updated 4/1/2020

This list presents the top 25 aviation schools in 2020 based on median alumni earnings. The University of North Texas's aviation program comes in first, with alumni earning a median salary of $54,100 in the first year after graduating. Everglades University and Kansas State University come in second and third for median salary, respectively. Eastern Kentucky University has the lowest median student debt of the ranked schools, at $17,505.

Tuition, median salaries, and median debt were reported by the U.S. Department of Education in November 2019. View our methodology for more details about these rankings or read more about the top-ranked schools.

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Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Median Debt Median Salary
#1 #1 Denton (TX) Denton (TX) $20,932 $18,521 $54,100
#2 #2 Sarasota (FL) (and 4 others) Sarasota (FL) (and 4 others) $20,000 $38,452 $51,000
#3 #3 Manhattan (KS) Manhattan (KS) $26,519 $24,436 $49,600
#4 #4 Orem (UT) Orem (UT) $17,830 $26,250 $48,500
#5 #5 Daytona Beach (FL) Daytona Beach (FL) $40,564 $24,813 $47,900
#6 #6 Omaha (NE) Omaha (NE) $21,718 $17,958 $42,800
#7 #7 Mankato (MN) Mankato (MN) $18,814 $22,500 $42,600
#8 #8 Grand Forks (ND) Grand Forks (ND) $15,570 $22,500 $42,400
#9 #9 Ruston (LA) Ruston (LA) $16,806 $19,500 $42,100
#10 #10 Anchorage (AK) Anchorage (AK) $21,635 $23,295 $41,600
#11 #11 Lynchburg (VA) Lynchburg (VA) $11,700 $24,250 $41,400
#12 #12 Columbus (OH) Columbus (OH) $36,722 $27,500 $41,000
#13 #13 Murfreesboro (TN) Murfreesboro (TN) $28,264 $24,875 $40,800
#14 #14 Longview (TX) Longview (TX) $34,470 $25,000 $40,500
#15 #15 West Lafayette (IN) West Lafayette (IN) $28,794 $20,500 $40,300
#16 #16 Melbourne (FL) Melbourne (FL) $43,670 $25,499 $39,700
#17 #17 Ellensburg (WA) Ellensburg (WA) $25,910 $20,000 $39,300
#18 #18 Kent (OH) Kent (OH) $21,570 $26,000 $38,900
#19 #19 Jacksonville (FL) Jacksonville (FL) $43,670 $26,000 $38,700
#20 #20 Dubuque (IA) Dubuque (IA) $38,526 $23,750 $38,500
#21 #21 Romeoville (IL) Romeoville (IL) $36,530 $23,999 $38,400
#22 #22 Farmingdale (NY) Farmingdale (NY) $18,486 $22,000 $38,300
#23 #23 Carbondale (IL) Carbondale (IL) $15,416 $17,750 $37,600
#24 #24 Denver (CO) Denver (CO) $28,092 $20,250 $37,600
#25 #25 Richmond (KY) Richmond (KY) $20,222 $17,505 $37,200

2020 Best Colleges Highlights

Learn more about the top colleges for a Bachelor's in Aviation degree. You can also read student reviews of each school by clicking on the stars. Although student reviews were not used as a ranking factor in this list, we provide ratings and reviews so students can consider the experience of alumni in their decision-making process.

Denton (TX)
Median Salary $54,100
Median Debt $18,521
Annual Tuition $20,932
Graduation Rate 59%

Located in Denton, Texas, the University of North Texas is a large, comprehensive public university with a strong research focus. UNT offers a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Logistics through the Department of Marketing, Logistics, and Operations. Students in this major study how to safely and efficiently transport people and cargo around the world. The UNT curriculum broadly integrates airline and aerospace operations, which sets it apart from more narrowly focused aviation programs. In aviation classes, students study air and cargo operations, aviation law, public safety, public policy, and aviation maintenance. Logistics classes teach students about business transportation management from a global perspective.

Students can participate in leadership activities, hands-on projects, field trips, and career fairs. Internships are required to help students hone their aviation skills. Many paid internships are offered by local companies that hire students to work in their firm’s logistical operations. The UNT curriculum was developed in tandem with aviation experts to meet employer needs. Faculty members bring years of industry experience to the classroom. After completing the 120-credit bachelor’s degree program, students can pursue industry and government jobs working in materials handling, aircraft manufacturing, aviation software, and more.

Visit the University of North Texas's website.

Sarasota (FL) (and 4 others)
Median Salary $51,000
Median Debt $38,452
Annual Tuition $20,000
Graduation Rate 56%

Formerly known as the American Flyers College, Everglades University is a private, nonprofit university located in Boca Raton, Florida. The school offers a Bachelor of Science in Aviation/Aerospace. Students can pick a concentration in management, aviation maintenance management, aviation operations management, aviation safety, or security. Students with a background in aviation may be eligible to receive credit for prior learning like verifiable FAA and military certifications.

Everglades University strives to offer a solid academic foundation along with the opportunity to acquire advanced technical skills. The format entails 123 credit hours taken over 41 months (or less if the student has approved transfer credits). The curriculum includes general education classes such as English, mathematics, computers, humanities/fine arts, and communications that complement the major. Examples of available aviation core and elective courses include the history of aviation, air cargo, air traffic control, federal aviation regulations, and airport planning. Jobs in airline safety, aviation management, and aviation security are available to recipients of a bachelor’s degree in aviation/aerospace.

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Manhattan (KS)
Median Salary $49,600
Median Debt $24,436
Annual Tuition $26,519
Graduation Rate 69%

Founded in 1863, Kansas State University is a public university located in Manhattan, Kansas. K-State offers a flexible bachelor’s degree in professional aviation through its Kansas State Polytechnic campus in Salina. K-Polytechnic is known for its small classes, individualized instruction, and innovative learning. Prior learning credits may be awarded for certifications, licenses, ratings, or technical experience in aviation and air traffic control. Up to 60 eligible transfer credits can count toward the 120-credit bachelor’s degree in professional aviation.

Students study airline operations, aviation law and safety, supervisory management, labor relations, marketing applications, ethics, and analysis. Additionally, students take supporting coursework in public speaking, economics, technical writing, advanced math, physics, and psychology. Courses are taught online in 8- or 16-week modules. Concentrations are available in professional pilot, airport management, aviation management, and unmanned aircraft systems tracks. Examples of in-demand careers for graduates include aviation managers, logistic managers, aircraft maintenance facility managers, and airline business managers.

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Orem (UT)
Median Salary $48,500
Median Debt $26,250
Annual Tuition $17,830
Graduation Rate 31%

Utah Valley University is a public university located in Orem, a small city in northern Utah. The school offers a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management that emphasizes leadership and comprehensive knowledge of the aerospace industry. Classroom learning is enhanced through field experiences, internships, and certifications. Critical thinking skills are honed through class discussions on timely subjects such as passenger screening, post-9/11 regulations, and passenger outbursts. Students earn a BS in Aviation Management by successfully completing 120 semester credits.

The curriculum was designed in consultation with industry experts familiar with workforce needs and emerging trends in the aviation industry. Discipline core requirements focus on economics, marketing, risk management, safety, finance, and air traffic control. Classes are offered online and on campus. Flight training and simulations are optional experiences for ambitious students in the aviation management track. The degree aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills to be successful aviation managers.

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Median Salary $47,900
Median Debt $24,813
Annual Tuition $40,564
Graduation Rate 63%

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is a private school located in Daytona Beach near the Kennedy Space Center and NASA. The Bachelor of Science in Aviation Business Administration available from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers comprehensive training in aviation management. Emphasis is placed on network planning, revenue management, inventory control, and pricing. The curriculum tailors courses in economics, accounting, business, and finance to the aviation industry.

The 120-credit degree is typically completed in four years. Students enrolled in ROTC may count certain military courses as electives. Students in the ABA bachelor’s degree program can major in air transportation or aviation/aerospace supply chain management. Air transportation majors also take classes in subjects such as airport management and international aviation management. Students majoring in supply chain management in aviation and aerospace take classes in subjects such as supply chain management and international trade. The ABA program is accredited by the Association of College Business Schools and Programs and the Aviation Accreditation Board International. Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in aviation business administration learn management and operations skills sought by employers in many sectors of the airline industry.

Visit Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's website.