How to Become An Accredited Airport Executive (A.A.E)

Sept. 6, 2023
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Aspiring airport professionals seeking to distinguish themselves and excel in the aviation industry can achieve this through the prestigious Accredited Airport Executive (A.A.E.) program offered by the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE).

Since its inception, AAAE has been dedicated to advancing the careers of aviation professionals by conferring the A.A.E. designation upon individuals who have demonstrated their competence in airport management. This designation is highly regarded and can significantly enhance one's career prospects in the field.

Program Eligibility and Structure

To embark on the journey toward becoming an A.A.E., candidates must meet specific eligibility criteria, including:

  • Age Requirement: Candidates must be at least 21 years old.
  • Affiliate Membership: Prospective candidates must hold current affiliate membership in AAAE or the International Association of Airport Executives (IAAE).
  • Airport Experience: Candidates must have worked full-time for a public-use airport for a minimum of one consecutive year. Military experience may exempt candidates from this requirement, provided they can provide appropriate documentation.
  • Educational or Professional Background: Candidates must have either a four-year college degree or eight years of civil airport management experience. Accreditation candidates can substitute two years of civil airport management experience for one year of college education, with a maximum of eight years of experience substituting for a four-year degree.

The Accreditation Process

Candidates progress through the A.A.E. program by completing a three-step process:

  • Multiple-Choice Examination: The program begins with a 180-question multiple-choice examination.
  • Writing Requirement: Candidates can choose one of four options to fulfill the writing requirement, which includes a management research paper, case study, proctored essay examination, or submission of an advanced degree transcript.
  • Final Interview: The final step involves a comprehensive interview with a panel of A.A.E.s, designed to assess the candidate's overall knowledge of airport management.

It's worth noting that candidates have the flexibility to complete these steps in any order, but the final interview must be the last stage. There are no strict time limits for program completion; however, after five years in the program, an annual administrative fee of $100 is required until the program is successfully completed. If a candidate cancels enrollment or fails to pay the administrative fee but wishes to resume the program later, a $275 re-enrollment fee applies.

Benefits of A.A.E. Designation

Earning the A.A.E. designation is not just a matter of personal achievement; it also brings significant benefits. Accredited Airport Executives command respect within the industry and stand out as qualified professionals. The designation can open doors to exciting career opportunities within airport management.

After successfully completing the A.A.E. program, individuals can proudly use the A.A.E. designation after their name. They will also receive various awards, notifications, and privileges, recognizing their accomplishment.

To maintain their A.A.E. status, individuals must accumulate Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits to demonstrate that their knowledge remains current with industry changes. This ongoing commitment to learning ensures that A.A.E.s stay at the forefront of airport management practices.

In conclusion, the Accredited Airport Executive program offered by AAAE is a valuable pathway for professionals seeking to excel in airport management. It not only bestows a respected designation but also provides a comprehensive and flexible approach to skill development and career advancement in the aviation industry.

For more detailed information and guidance on the A.A.E. program, including application procedures and study materials, please visit the official AAAE website here.