College aviation programs prepare students for careers flying, servicing and directing private and commercial aircraft. Complementing lectures and coursework, hands-on flight training prepares students for various flight certifications and instrument ratings. Every aviation college offers different benefits and specializations, though some consistently achieve top rankings based on general academic excellence.

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

Consistently ranked at the top of the list for aviation education by various ranking bodies like U.S. News & World Report, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida is the cream of the crop. The world’s oldest aviation university, Embry Riddle is a premiere, fully accredited aviation-centered university. This school offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in aviation and aeronautics. Embry Riddle’s programs in flight – including private, commercial and multiengine – and flight dispatch are approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Bowling Green State University

A top-ranker with Flying Magazine, Bowling Green State University is fully accredited by the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering. Bowling Green’s aviation program offers specializations in aviation engineering technology, aviation management and operations, and flight technology and operations. Students can receive a variety of flight certificates and ratings through the school’s approved flight training program.

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Florida State College

Another top aviation school with Flying Magazine, Florida State College offers aviation degrees in aviation operations, professional pilot technology, and aviation maintenance management. Participating onsite aircraft industry partners allow students an opportunity to network and gain practical experience. Graduates from the pilot program have traditionally gone on to fly charter airplanes, private jets and major commercial airlines.

Purdue University

A top-ranking aviation college with ranking bodies such as Campus Explorer, Purdue University offers a comprehensive bachelor’s degree in professional flight. Students can earn commercial and private pilot certificates, flight instructor certification and various instrument ratings. This school also offers students a unique opportunity to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in only five years through a special plan of study.

About the Author

Bill Reynolds holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from Rowan University. He has written hundreds of articles for print and online media, drawing inspiration from a wide range of professional experiences. As part of the UCLA Extension Writer's Program, he has been nominated for the James Kirkwood Prize for Creative Writing.