What is an aviation meteorology degree?
Meteorology is the study of the Earth’s atmosphere, and a component of Earth system science; a meteorologist is someone who predicts the weather based on the systems of the Earth’s atmosphere, and an aviation meteorologist does all that with a singular focus on the aviation industry. Aviation meteorology students become experts in math and physics, build a comprehensive knowledge of meteorology, and gain in-depth exposure to fields like oceanography, geology, space science, environmental science, climate science and atmospheric chemistry. Whether you want to be a professional atmospheric scientist, aviation meteorologist, or weather specialist, an aviation meteorology degree from Florida Tech develops a strong background in aviation with experience in modern meteorology technology and industry best practices.
You can also choose to include the flight option in your degree, which allows you a specialization in air traffic control. The air traffic control program meets the requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration’s air traffic-collegiate training initiative program and is FAA-approved. Learn more about this degree option.
Your First-Year Experience
A unique and memorable component of each student’s first-year experience in the aviation meteorology degree program at Florida Tech is the Whole Earth course. This class, which integrates biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and mathematics, leads students to experience and understand our planet as a system of interacting processes. Students may also enroll in Weather Briefing, a course that covers the key aspects of forecasting.
Another signature of the aviation meteorology degree program at Florida Tech is that first-year students are invited to work alongside faculty on weather research and often begin working on projects during their first few weeks on campus. See below for more information.
Gain Practical Experience—Inside and Outside the Classroom
Senior coursework toward your aviation meteorology degree includes advanced aircraft operations and atmospheric dynamics. You’ll also have an opportunity to meet recruiters from airlines and private industry at university career fairs. Students have access to the local National Weather Service site in Melbourne, Florida; the 45th Weather Squadron; and the Kennedy Space Center for direct industry experience. As a result, you get practical experience, an expanded professional network, and perhaps a pre-graduation job offer.
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The major benefits of Florida Tech over any other national aviation universities are our small class sizes and the close personal contact students enjoy with their professors and administrators. Whether for student advising, academic assistance, or internship and research mentorship, our faculty is available to mentor students.
Learn from Aviation Experts
The aviation management faculty at Florida Tech is a mixture of experienced pilots, airport design and management experts, and a professional meteorologist who stays updated on the latest developments in meteorology training. As a top national aviation university, our faculty members are also experts in at least one other aviation-related field, including aviation law, aviation business management, and safety. The meteorology professor also serves as the advisor for all meteorology majors.
Our students are up for a challenge and are encouraged by our professors to join in an annual national forecasting contest where they compete with other national aviation university students from all over the country. Florida Tech has claimed several winners over the years. In addition, each year professors assist high-achieving meteorology students in applying for scholarships from the American Meteorological Society.
Comprehensive High-Tech Facilities
Florida Tech boasts facilities and resources that can measure up to nearly any other national aviation university in the country. Among these are the training facilities housed in the 12,000 square-foot Emil Buehler Center for Aviation Training and Research located near Melbourne International Airport. The center’s many features include a weather/flight planning room, refurbished aircraft, and a simulator room.
Skurla Hall includes computer labs for airport design and planning, and the Basic Aviation Training Device (BATD) Lab, where aviation students can fly desktop simulators under the supervision of a flight instructor. Skurla Hall is also where aviation majors find the Air Traffic Control Lab.
Located in the Heart of Florida’s High-tech Corridor
Florida Tech is the perfect place for a BS in Aviation Meteorology degree. The 130-acre campus is located on the Space Coast (so named because of the presence of NASA and the Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral just north of us), minutes away from the Indian River Lagoon, the most diverse estuary in North America. Florida Tech has ideal weather conditions for all flight-based operations, something that is vital to any national aviation university.
The area has the fifth largest high-tech workforce in the country, with more than 5,000 high-tech corporations and government and military organizations located nearby. This workforce also provides an abundance of internship, research, and employment opportunities.
Florida Tech is just over the causeway from the Atlantic Ocean with its 72 miles of beautiful beaches, and a short trip to the Florida Keys or the Orlando theme parks. We also have a rich campus life that includes a wide range of intramural and collegiate sports, clubs, and social activities.
Build Lasting Professional Relationships through Campus Organizations
Beyond the classroom, aviation meteorology degree students build leadership and professional experience through exciting internships and participation in academic organizations like Collegiate Aviation Business Executives, a student chapter of American Association of Airport Executives, student government, and over 100 other campus-wide student organizations.
The Falcons Precision Flight Team is a group of students dedicated to soaring above the competition in both flight and ground exercises. The team regularly takes part in regional and national competitions around the country. The Falcons also hold informative aviation safety events for students and faculty of all disciplines including field trips to places like the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Women in Aviation is a student organization made up of both women and men working together to advance women in all areas of aeronautics. They frequently network with other chapters to help members find an aviation meteorology internship or research opportunity.
“How will an aviation meteorology degree prepare me for the future? ”
Peerless Study and Internship Opportunities
Aviation meteorology students can intern at local companies in both the aviation and meteorology fields. An aviation meteorology internship provides valuable experience at many organizations, including the National Weather Service, JetBlue Airlines, and Southwest Airlines. Students explore career options in an aviation meteorology internship while also making the connections that later helps them find a job after college.
Stunning Undergraduate Research Opportunities
In addition to an aviation meteorology internship, students can participate in research opportunities in meteorology. The department of ocean engineering and sciences is an integrated group of environmental scientists, oceanographers, ocean engineers, and meteorologists who share a keen interest in preserving, protecting, and enhancing natural resources. Their research interests are broad and often interrelated. Current research focuses on:
- Tropical cyclone and hurricane wind speed probability
- Freshwater-saltwater hydrology
- Atmospheric radiative transfer
- Climate change
Aviation meteorology students carry out a capstone research project in the summer of their junior and senior year, choosing from a wide variety of topics. They range from thunderstorm development along sea breeze fronts to the effects of coastal buildings and landforms on wind behavior. Students are also encouraged to take part in an annual national forecasting competition where they can compete with other meteorology students from around the country.
“What can you do with an aviation meteorology degree? ”
Safe air travel depends not only on safe equipment but on safe weather as well. Florida Tech prepares you for a career in corporate aviation, commercial aviation, and with such organizations as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Get Recruited Upon Graduation
Meteorologists do more than TV weather reports. They play a vital role in government and private sector aviation, communications, and environmental, marine, and space enterprises. Our students have been recruited by:
- Department of Homeland Security
- National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
- National Hurricane Center
- National Weather Service
- Private weather forecasting services
- Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)
- US Air Force
The Florida Tech Aviation Meteorology program provides a background in meteorology, aeronautical science, and the physical sciences necessary to expertly address the challenges of this career. A graduate with a BS in Aviation Meteorology meets the standards established by the US Office of Personnel Management for employment by the federal government as a meteorologist.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), provides information about specific jobs including median annual pay, working conditions and job outlook, among other things. The handbook includes aviation meteorology careers such as geoscientists, hydrologists, air traffic controllers, airport managers and coordinators, and more.
Florida Tech’s program prepares the graduate for work involving subjects from weather and climate around the world to flight and research. Employment of atmospheric scientists and meteorologists is projected to grow by 11% through 2020. New technology and computer models have vastly improved the accuracy of forecasts, giving meteorologists new opportunity in private industry.
Other Career Options
College of Aeronautics graduates find careers such as:
- Airline manager
- Airport manager
- Meteorologist in the private sector
- Meteorologist in the public sector working for local, state, national, or global organizations, including the military
- Public policy specialist on climate change, deforestation, water resources
- Atmospheric scientist
- Environmental scientist
Graduate and Doctoral Programs
After receiving their aviation meteorology degree, many of our students go to graduate school for advanced degrees in meteorology, aviation human factors, atmospheric science, and related fields, either at Florida Tech or at other prestigious graduate schools such as:
- Florida State University
- Texas Institute of Technology
- North Carolina State University
- University of Florida
- University of Utah