The aviation industry is a growing field and one that women can continue to make their mark on. It’s an exciting space that craves diversity and innovative thinking. There are some other perks, like soaring salaries, for example, that make it even more attractive. With an associate’s degree, you can break into the field — then the sky’s the limit to continue your education and career path from there.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay in 2020 for aerospace engineering and operations technicians, which requires an associate’s degree, is $68,570 annually. And boasting faster-than-average job growth from 2019 to 2029, the opportunities are evident. With a bachelor’s degree and as an aerospace engineer, the median pay in 2020 was $118,610, which is higher than the average of all engineers.
Women have always played an important role in aviation. We’ve all heard about Amelia Earhart, but there have been dozens of others who have had an enormous impact on the aviation industry. From engineers to pilots — and everything in between. More recent female inspirations in aerospace and defense include Tara Thomasson, Fellow at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company; Elisabeth Smith, President and CEO of Acutec Precision Aerospace; and A. Adele Ratcliff, Director of Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment Program for the Office of Industrial Policy for the U.S. Department of Defense.
According to Women in Aviation: A Workforce Report, women are underrepresented in all categories of the aviation workforce (except for travel agents and flight attendants). In particular, the report notes there should be an emphasis on increasing female presence in the following roles: pilots, maintenance technicians, aerospace engineers, dispatchers, cybersecurity experts, airport managers, air traffic controllers and aviation leadership positions.
Florida Tech’s aviation management degree, which is 100% online, has offered opportunities to many graduates, including Lauren Boshell and Nicole Curiel.
Lauren Boshell started the program while living in Chicago but has since moved to Florida. Her ultimate goal is to become a commercial pilot, but the degree has allowed her to learn about the broader aviation industry and apply topics like crew resource management (CRM) when she’s in the cockpit. Her favorite class was Aerodynamics.
Nicole Curiel started the program on-campus in Tampa, Fla., then switched to the online program for flexibility. She plans to join the U.S. Air Force as a Commissioned Officer now that she’s completed the program and start pursuing her dream career in aviation. While she intends to become a pilot eventually, anything in the aviation industry interests her. In fact, Airport Design was her favorite class.