January 24, 2022

An investment in Purdue’s online Master of Science in aviation and aerospace management pays career dividends, graduates say

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University’s online Master of Science in aviation and aerospace management was just what Alex John was looking for – a path to advancing her knowledge of the aviation industry on the way to a career in the field, without necessarily flying airplanes.

“I felt it was more well-rounded than an aeronautical university,” she said of Purdue’s online degree program. “The reasonable price point also allowed me to graduate without debt, which was a huge benefit.”

And John, of Philadelphia, director of client relations for Solairus Aviation, a top private aircraft management and charter company, said her investment paid off.

“Once I graduated, I immediately became more marketable in my job search,” said John, a December 2020 graduate. “It has helped open the door for me professionally.”

Purdue’s history in aviation and aerospace education is long and storied. It includes the first university-owned airport, opened in 1930 and designated a historic landmark, as well as Amelia Earhart as a former advisor, and more than two dozen alumni astronauts. Purdue developed a four-year aviation degree with options in flight, maintenance and management in the 1940s. Not surprisingly, the university developed a 100% online master’s degree in the field early on as well.

The current online master’s program from the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, has proven popular with working professionals across a broad spectrum of positions in aviation and aerospace, or who are looking to get into the field.

“There were a lot of people who wanted to come to Purdue but could not pick up their lives and leave home,” said Mary Johnson, associate head for graduate programs and professor. “The online program allows you to be anywhere in the world. It’s a great way to get a Purdue education to people who want it but can’t come to Purdue.”

People working for airlines; airports; air cargo, general aviation and charter operations; aircraft and aircraft parts manufacturers; aircraft repair and overhaul firms; aircraft financing and leasing companies; market forecasting firms in aviation and aerospace; and space and satellite companies are among those who can benefit from the program. Because it is 100% online, it’s attractive to military personnel, whose deployments may have them stationed around the world, Johnson said.

Courses are offered in a rolling format that allows students to complete the 30 required credit hours in 12 months to five years, with faculty and dedicated student support staff from Purdue Online available online or by phone to assist. Students are not required to have an undergraduate degree in aviation or aerospace to enroll.

“We welcome people from many different backgrounds,” Johnson said.

In their first semester, students work with their advisory committee to develop a plan of study incorporating industry-specific course choices that best fit their goals. In addition to aviation leadership, the curriculum covers such topics as international civil aviation regulatory systems, airline revenue management, resource analysis and optimization, aviation safety program development, issues in transportation security, risk management, and more. Like Purdue’s on-campus programs, the online courses are taught by faculty with extensive expertise and work experience in civilian and military aviation and governmental roles.

“It’s given me confidence and a well-rounded understanding of our industry,” John said. “I was also recognized more within the industry, and I am now on a few business aviation boards and councils. Simply put, I wouldn’t be as far in my career without my master’s from Purdue.”

Jaime Moncada, a first officer on Airbus A320 airliners who lives in Mexico City, was based in the Middle East when he decided to enroll in Purdue’s online master’s program. The ability to focus his studies on specific topics in aviation and aerospace attracted him.

“I did not want to enroll in an MBA program,” the June 2020 graduate said. “I wanted a specialized degree that included aviation safety and operations management courses.”

In addition to the Master of Science in aviation and aerospace management, Purdue offers a specialized Graduate Certificate in Aviation Safety Management designed to teach students to develop, lead and execute effective aviation safety programs. The 12-credit certificate, which includes such topics as risk analysis and risk mitigation strategies, can be completed in as little as 12 months. Courses toward a Graduate Certificate in Aviation Financial Management are starting in fall 2022.

While the global pandemic impacted the aviation industry negatively, a rebound is expected, according to AviationPros, with industry growth over the next several years driven by such trends as the explosion in e-commerce (creating increased demand for air cargo service) and pent-up demand for leisure travel. Meanwhile, business travel may be slow to recover to pre-pandemic levels given the trend toward remote work. Shifting trends like these point to a changing landscape in the industry, which will require trained managers to navigate effectively – the kind of training Purdue’s Master of Science in aviation and aerospace management is designed to provide. For more information on this online degree from Purdue, visit the program website.

Writer: Greg Kline, 765-426-8545, gkline@purdue.edu

Source: Mary Johnson, mejohnson@purdue.edu

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