Career advancement in any industry often involves additional education and training on newer techniques, processes and technology. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers aviation and space industry professionals who are already in the workforce flexible class options to continue their education.
“We cater to the working adults, and most of our classes are Monday through Thursday nights, and sometimes we’ll offer a Friday or a weekend class,” says Vicky Krantz, assistant campus director at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The school offers aviation and aerospace courses in Houston and more than 150 locations through ERAU Worldwide and at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz.
ERAU offers nine-week terms, with five terms per year, and Houston in-house classes generally are scheduled from 5:30 p.m.-10:15 p.m. Students taking in-class sessions spend one night per week at the 16055 Space Center Blvd. facility for each class. Most students take two to three classes per term, Krantz says.
In addition to flexible timing, ERAU also offers multiple instructional options, including in-class, online and virtual. About 15 percent of students in Houston take courses purely online, and these students generally have night jobs or live too far from the Houston facility. The majority of students take classes in all modalities, Krantz says, including virtual classroom.
The virtual curriculum consists of two options under EagleVision, which ERAU Worldwide began using in 2007. With computer/laptop, webcam and headset, a student can log on wherever they are at scheduled time and hear the instructor using EagleVision Home. They have an option to “raise their hands” to ask questions remotely by pushing a button. In another virtual option, EagleVision Classroom, the instructor is remote and students gather at the Space Center Boulevard location in a single classroom to hear the instructor. Instructors can proctor online tests and watch the classroom remotely.
Online students learn on their own by logging on to complete assignments as scheduled and returning them to the instructor as scheduled. They can e-mail the instructor with questions and also are required to post to discussion boards to interact with other students. ERAU’s online and virtual offerings reflect a trend in nationwide education. According to a 2011 study by the Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board, about a third (31 percent) of higher education students now take at least one course online and about two-thirds (65 percent) of higher education institutions now say that online learning is a critical part of their long-term strategy.
Embry-Riddle Worldwide is proud of its history of being a pioneer in distance learning, and it was one of the first 20 universities in the world to provide this method of education in 1971 to help on-the-go aviators earn a degree. ERAU first came to Houston in 1998 at Ellington Field. It later moved to Clear Lake at 1611 Space Center Blvd. In January, it moved into its new location 16055 Space Center Blvd. and held a ribbon-cutting event at the campus in April. Degree programs offered in Houston include associate degrees (60 hours) in Aeronautics or Technical Management, bachelor’s degrees (120 hours) in Aeronautics or Technical Management, and master’s degrees in Aeronautical Science or Management. Kandi Windham, associate campus director, says ERAU will begin offering new degree programs in the following areas within a year:
- AS/BS in Aviation Business Administration
- Bachelor of Fire Science
- Bachelor of Science in Transportation
- Master of Business Administration in Aviation
- Master of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management
- Master of Systems Engineering
- Master of Science in Leadership
- Master of Science in Occupational Safety Management
The major airlines hire more alumni from Embry-Riddle than from any other collegiate aviation program, according to the school’s website, and the school says it is the nation’s largest supplier of air traffic controllers with bachelor’s degrees to the Federal Aviation Administration.