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Before taking a seat in the cockpit, pilots must first undergo intense and lengthy training to learn everything there is to operating an aircraft. Read on to learn about some of the best institutions for pursuing pilot training, and the requirements of admittance. The world of aviation provides vast opportunities.
Students who desire to become pilots should consider attending the best schools for pilot training and aeronautical science and technology.
A school’s reputation, curriculum, and level of training and preparedness can help a graduate achieve their career goals of landing a job in the competitive and robust aviation industry. In addition to learning to pilot planes, aviation students learn the ins and outs of how aircraft are made, the physics of operation, safety standards, and advancements in technology used to pilot airplanes.
Depending on whether a student seeks to join the armed services to learn how to fly aircraft, or would rather commit to earning a degree from an esteemed university will have an impact on their future. Rather than going to a flight school, attending a university that educates students in aeronautical sciences and career tracks, in addition to learning how to fly planes successfully makes for a more well-rounded graduate.
As a pilot, there will be a need for understanding the terminology and jargon when communicating with crews on the ground at airport terminals, and effectively communicating with air traffic control. Recognizing the value of teamwork, sharp observation skills, memory, and a stable countenance is vital to being a solid pilot.
The opportunities in aviation technology, research, and career openings for pilots commercially and privately are robust and will enjoy continued growth.
How We Choose Our Ratings
Each school for pilot training was evaluated for the quality of education offered based on the curriculum, cost of tuition, and hours of time needed to complete coursework and achieve a degree. Schools that had on-site airfields and a fleet for student use scored higher on our list. Considerations for job placement and the range of aeronautical education tracks offered in addition to pilot training was taken into account as well.
The rate of student success to find jobs as private or commercial pilots mattered a lot, as many graduates have reasonable concerns about incurring any student debt, and the ability to find gainful employment. The field of aviation is competitive, filled with technological advancements, and provides a fulfilling career to those proud enough to earn their chops to fly aircraft.
Top 6 Best Schools For Pilot Training
When looking for the best school for pilot training, this list of institutions stood out beyond the rest. Many schools with aviation programs offer ideal weather to fly aircraft thanks to a strategic geographical location. Other schools provide the latest aviation training and technology for current jobs available or enjoy a respected and well-known reputation for graduating top-notch pilots.
With locations in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Prescott, Arizona, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is one of the most respected institutions since its inception in 1926. One in four pilots have been trained at this university, according to sources, and it’s no secret why. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is a leader in aeronautical education.
The university offers programs for full-time, part-time, military, and working professionals to achieve their goals. Consistently ranked as having one of the top programs for aviation technology in the nation, students who attend this institution can select from a host of non-degree and degree programs, and learn from leading experts in flight technology with real-world experience.
Additionally, students who wish to take classes online can also do so.
Students at both the Florida and Arizona locations can take advantage of flight simulators, pilot a fleet of aircraft, and learn hands-on about flight safety. Students can also learn about investigating crashes, maintaining aircraft, and collaborate with companies steeped in aeronautical innovations, research, and development.
According to US News, tuition costs for the 2017-2018 year were $34,822, and total undergraduate enrollment is under the 6,000 mark.
- Oldest aviation school in the world
- Private Co-ed institution with small class sizes
- Excellent reputation and vested in research and innovation
- The student body is 80% male and may lack diversity
Students who choose to attend the University of North Dakota to pursue an aviation program can take advantage of hands-on training to competently fly aircraft in all seasons.
Located in the heartland of America, the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences is one of the best in the nation. Students follow a curriculum that combines the liberal arts and sciences, with access to industry-standard flight simulators, and state-of-the-art facilities.
Students can pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Commercial Aviation Helicopter, Commercial Aviation Fixed Wing, or earn a minor degree in Professional Flight.
Tuition fees are at a discount to residents of North Dakota, but students coming from select states may enjoy a lower rate than other out of state students.
Unlike other locations across the country, pursuing a degree in flight and aviation technology give students the upper hand, as they learn to fly in varying weather conditions for hardiness and preparation for piloting aircraft in real-world situations.
The University of North Dakota enjoys a positive reputation for offering aviation students a traditional college experience, in addition to being surrounded by students and faculty equally passionate about aviation. The acceptance rate is relatively high compared to other institutions, and financial aid packages help offset the cost of attendance.
- Lots of flight training centers across the nation
- School provides career opportunities, internships, and co-ops
- Offers lots of degrees in specifics to aviation
- The cost of tuition is more expensive if coming from specific regions
Students who want to train to become pilots may appreciate the experience offered by Purdue, located in West Lafayette, Indiana.
The professional flight program provided helps train students who want to work as a commercial, corporate, or charter pilot for aircraft. At Purdue, students can expect to begin flying their first week of the freshman year. By the time students reach their junior and senior years, students will amass experience flying aircraft powered by turbines, and manning fight simulators for larger aircraft.
Purdue offers both a track for a Bachelor’s degree or Master’s Degree in Aviation Technology. Students may also learn to become flight instructors to teach younger students and can fraternize with nine student organizations specifically for aviation students.
Outreach for career placement is available, as students can land jobs working for Boeing, FedEx, and other carriers.
The tuition cost and fees at Purdue are considerably more affordable than other institutions for the quality of education and facilities offered. The range of available aircraft for students to physically operate is considerable, and the history of graduate success and job placement is pretty solid coming from Purdue.
- The school has a good reputation and provides specialized Professional Flight Technology degree
- Students can sign up for a two-year or five-year degree
- Private and commercial pilot certificates can be earned by students and with an instrument rating
- Students cannot transfer from another college into the flight program
Located in Columbus, Ohio, Ohio State University offers a quality aviation program for students interested in becoming pilots.
Students pursuing a degree in Aviation studies fall under the College of Engineering at Ohio State.
Ohio State University’s history with aviation stretches back over a century, as during WWI, pilots were trained to fly at the reputable institution. The School of Aeronautics officially opened May 21, 1917, less than 20 years after the Wright Brothers successful test flight.
The Center for Aviation Studies at Ohio State collaborates with various research initiatives, applied research and development, and focuses on pilot education, certification, and flight instruction. The range of degrees offered is small, but the reputation of Ohio State’s Aviation Department is world-class.
Students can earn a minor in Aviation, or pursue a Bachelor’s degree in arts or sciences in Aviation, Air Transportation, or Aviation Management.
Students who want to learn to pilot airplanes can also consider pursuing other majors such as learning about Air Traffic Control, Maintenance of Aircraft, and other opportunities in the aviation industry.
As Ohio State University is an institution committed to research and community outreach, many underserved and non-traditional individuals may be invited to pursue a career in aviation.
- Students can fly the school’s fleet of Cessnas or other well-maintained aircraft
- Small class sizes allow for more personalized attention
- Plenty of passionate student organizations to enjoy camaraderie and network with alumni
- A small selection of degree offerings and coursework for aviation
San Jose State University only offers two different degree tracks for Aviation Technology. Students who wish to become pilots should steer over to earning a degree in Professional Flight, Operations, or Aviation Management before moving onto gaining pilot certification.
Located in San Jose, California and under the College of Engineering, students seeking to earn a Bachelor’s degree of science in Aviation will be expected to experience some key features at the institution.
Students can earn an Instrument Rating, Commercial Pilot rating, and an FAA Private Pilot certificate. After graduating, students should be able to utilize navigation fundamentals, understand and describe instruments for flight techniques, and understand aircraft communication systems.
San Jose State University’s emergence into educating students in aviation started after being used for the Civilian Pilot Training Program around the time of WWII. Today, whether a student seeks a degree in Aviation or Industrial Technology, they can successfully become a certified pilot.
- With only two degree options to choose from, students can focus more on specialization
- Friendly and diverse campus with quality faculty
- Connection to FAA accredited flight schools for hands-on training
- Limited degree tracks offered
Founded in 1969, and located in San Antonio, Texas, Hallmark University is ranked number one in Texas state for the maintenance of aircraft.
As the university’s aeronautical campus is actively located on the San Antonio International Airport, students have the unique opportunity to work on real jet engines in hangars while pursuing their formal education in the aeronautical sciences.
- Hands-on training allows students to work on aircraft inside active hangars readily
- Acceptance rate to attend is higher than other institutions
- The average cost of tuition and fees is modest compared to other aviation programs
- Not a traditional school for learning about aeronautical sciences and flight
|Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University|
|Purdue Polytechnic Institute|
|Ohio State University|
|San Jose State University|
|San Jose State University|
Before selecting a school for pilot training, one should consider the cost of attendance, the time commitment required, and how rigorous the coursework involved will be on a student. More popular flight schools may have significant competition to gain admittance, so having a backup school choice is helpful.
It is essential to understand how the flight school will best prepare you for a career in aviation, and that you are signing up to attend an institution that helps with job placement, networking opportunities, and provides hands-on learning with flight simulators and real aircraft that can be actively flown.
In addition to choosing a traditional path by studying at an accredited college, students can consider joining the armed services to earn flight time and education or may sign up for a school that certifies pilots to fly without requiring liberal art and science education.
Not all schools are a good fit for every student interested in learning how to fly an aircraft. Being able to have access to comprehensive instruction from experienced pilots, following FAA safety standards, and learning the mechanics and science behind aircraft operation, maintenance, and construction makes for a better prepared pilot.
Depending on your lifestyle, income, and dedication to become a pilot, you can choose a track to start a career as a commercial pilot, or can focus more on recreational flying as a leisurely pursuit. Investing in an aeronautical degree can be costly, but a pilot shortage can prove a benefit for active job seekers fresh out of graduation.
The best school will help provide a track toward a career as a professional commercial pilot to fly airplanes, jets, helicopters, and other aircraft. Students can look forward to getting in the cockpit as early as a week, or study the art of flight for two years or more to become certified and competent.