Online Classes Help Busy Mom Earn Degrees in Aeronautics and Unmanned Systems

Unmanned Systems Applications graduate Kelcey Kocer is putting her degree to work in a new job at Tesla.

Kelcey Kocer – B.S. Unmanned Systems Applications
B.S. in Unmanned Systems Applications graduate Kelcey Kocer has some advice for fellow working parents who are pursuing higher education. (Photo: Kelcey Kocer)

Kelcey Kocer ('18, ’21) knows a thing or two about how to juggle work and school with being a parent. After completing her A.S. in Aeronautics, she followed up with a Bachelor of Science in Unmanned Systems Applications (BSUSA) through Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus.

She began working in the aviation field when she joined the U.S. Navy at 17 as an Aviation Machinist’s Mate. During her service, she gained experience as a mechanic and inspector on several types of aircraft.

After spending six years in the Navy and having children, Kocer decided to end her enlistment in 2020 to focus on her education.

Where can you work with an unmanned systems degree?

Today, Kocer works full-time as an end of line vehicle validation technician at Tesla, a job she started in January 2023. Prior to that, she spent 18 months as an aerospace maintenance technician at Amazon Prime Air and before that, she worked as aircraft mechanic at Kay and Associates Inc. on Whidbey Island in Washington.

When she’s not at work, she follows a strict schedule with each moment of her day planned out to stay on top of her work responsibilities and take care of her two young children.

“When it comes to being a full-time mother, student and worker, utilizing your support such as family, friends and co-workers can benefit a lot,” she said. “I have learned throughout my education that when it comes to support, don’t be afraid to ask, even superheroes couldn’t do it alone.”

While working parents may not realize they have a support group, she said that even the people you would least expect to help often don’t mind lending a hand. Fortunately, Kocer’s husband and others have formed a strong support system for her that help to tackle parenting duties.

How do online classes work?

Along with her support group, being able to take online classes also plays a major role in her ability to fulfill these different responsibilities. She noted that the virtual format of her classes is one of the main reasons why she can continue to advance her education, as in-person classes would not provide the same level of flexibility.

One of the major advantages of Embry-Riddle’s online programs like the BSUSA is the freedom to choose your own pace in the courses. Thanks to this key benefit, Kocer is able to manage her time strategically to ensure balance between work, student and home life.

In an online post, Kocer says she is “a very versatile individual thanks to my military experience along with being self-driven and goal oriented. I like to think outside the box and gain new perspectives while working on teams.”

She goes on to add that she is “passionate about unmanned systems and how they can aid humans in many domains such as space exploration, aerial missions, sea operations and ground operations. It is my dream to be part of an unmanned mission that can change the world, no matter how small the impact, it is a step in the right direction.”

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