New Bachelor’s, Master’s Degrees Advance Careers in Growing Field of Aviation

Liberty University School of Aeronautics (LUSOA) has added two degrees to its growing academic offerings — a Master of Science (M.S.) in Aeronautics and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Aviation Management. Both programs will be offered beginning this fall and are available through Liberty University Online Programs.

Dr. Julie Speakes, online dean, said the new M.S. program offers four specializations: safety, education, leadership, and a general track.

“The M.S. program is for students who are currently working in aviation and even aviation enthusiasts who want to keep their feet on the ground and not fly,” Speakes said. “The program is also ideal for students who value an education with biblical principles.”

Entrance into the M.S. degree program does not require flight credentials, licenses, prerequisites, or an undergraduate degree in an aviation-related field.

Students seeking a career in aviation management or administration will benefit from the Aviation Leadership specialization which will prepare them to manage the unique challenges in the aviation profession. Military members seeking to rise in rank would also benefit from this program.

“Leadership is a transferable knowledge-base and since the aviation field is so broad, graduates of this program will be prepared to work with pilots, mechanics, air traffic controllers, airport managers, or anyone else they might come into contact with at an airport,” Speakes said.

The Aviation Safety specialization concentrates on preparing graduates to be problem solvers who apply specific safety management practices to the aviation industry. Aviation safety regulations often evolve, so trained professionals are needed to understand the impact these safety standards can have on flight operations at corporations, flight schools, government agencies, and other aviation organizations. Graduates may be employed as safety inspectors, program managers, and trainers, or they may work with an agency such as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in investigating accidents and incidents.

The Aviation Education specialization prepares students to apply their experience to a classroom setting. As flight instructors, professors, or safety trainers, graduates will have the skills needed to train future pilots and aviation professionals. Speakes said that while commercial airline pilots are required to stop flying at age 65, many of them are not ready to retire, so this degree gives them the chance to use their experience and slide over from the cockpit into academia.

The General track touches on all areas of the other three specializations and prepares graduates for a broad choice of careers in aviation or in companies outside aviation who may interact with an aspect of the profession. “Think about those companies in a non-aviation field but who have a fleet of aircraft like Amazon, FedEx, or Walmart,” said Speakes. “These companies all need professionals who are well-versed on the ins-and-outs of aviation.”

The M.S. in Aeronautics classes are offered in eight-week sessions. The 30-credit hour program can be completed in approximately one academic year.

“It is hard for a pilot to get home for a Tuesday class, so it just makes more sense to create an online program where they can take classes from anywhere and it won’t inhibit the career that they have already chosen,” Speakes said. “The M.S. is a convenient and valuable pursuit that is much easier than the traditional residential program.”

The new B.S. in Aviation Management provides students with a well-rounded education covering many aspects of the aviation industry and, like the M.S. degree, is a non-flight degree program. It is also a great option for pilots who may have lost their required Federal Aviation Administration medical certification.

Speakes said many major commercial and cargo airlines require pilots to have a four-year degree.

“For pilots who have all of their flight credentials but don’t have the academics required for a four-year degree, they can transfer in those credentials and finish up the academic portion through our online program in as little as 2.5 years. If students are entering the field of aviation for the first time, they can complete this degree in as little as 3.5 years.”

“Through these new programs and in everything we do, we can be the hands and feet of Jesus in the aviation field,” she said. “That is something that is unique to our programs and unique to Liberty as a whole.”