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If you’re looking for the best flight schools for pilot training in the United States, you’ll want to explore the many options that are available. You’ll find that there are many options to choose from, and you’ll want to compare some of the top flight schools in the country to see which one suits you best.
Whether you’re looking for a school that has a lot of experience in training pilots, help you land a commercial airline job, or train for hobbyist flying, there are many options to choose from.
What to look for in pilot training schools
First of all, there are four things you should look for in pilot training schools:
- Facilities offered
- Program length
Not all flight schools are made the same way, and they each train students in different ways to cater to different kinds of needs. But they all do provide the necessary requirements to let anyone fly.
For instance, some students look for military training alongside pilot training so they could become air force pilots or experimental aircraft pilots. Some may want education in aircraft repair and maintenance along with flying. Others may already have been professionals with bachelor’s degrees, and would rather supplement their academic record with an associate degree instead of a full bachelor’s one.
Best Aviation Colleges in the US for Pilot Training
Now here are the 14 best flight schools for pilot training among all the aviation colleges in the United States!
Purdue University Polytechnic Institute
Purdue University Polytechnic Institute is not just your ordinary piloting school. The school offers a program that gives undergraduates a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree after completion.
The school also trains students in four different kinds of aircraft. They all have different configurations that let student pilots experience how flight works for different types.
The program lasts for 5 years. Students will go through 1000 flight hours before they finish the whole thing.
Upon completion, students will earn two degrees:
- Bachelor’s Degree in Flight
- Master’s Degree in Aviation and Aerospace Management
These are proper degrees and can be used for further study and career development.
The total cost for the whole program is $59,752.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona prides itself in more than just its flight training. This flight school teaches aviation maintenance science and provides flight training as an elective for student A&P mechanics.
The whole program lasts for 4 years and requires 127 credit units. Of that total, 36 are allocated for flight training.
Students who finish the whole program will earn a degree in Bachelor of Science in Aviation Maintenance Science.
- The tuition fee in this school costs $40,714 per year.
- That totals to $162,856 for the whole 4-year program.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Prescott
At Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Prescott, students have opportunities to learn both leadership skills while doing their flight training. They will also learn about the aviation business industry and do their own scientific research while earning a degree.
The school offers pilot training for both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.
The whole program lasts for 4 years, both for students of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. They will need to complete 120 credit hours of coursework to finish.
Students will also go through 1000 hours of flight to finish the whole program.
Students will earn the degree of Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science after going through it all.
- Flight costs will reach about $16,300 for the required flight courses and $5,507 for the elective ones.
- The school estimates budgeting $18,000-$26,000 a year or a total of $72,000-$104,000 for the whole program.
The Ohio State University
With their famous NetJets Observation Deck and state-of-the-art flight simulators, nothing beats The Ohio State University’s high-quality training and administration facilities. This school brings the word modernization a new face on the airfield.
This school is a popular choice for flight cadets who want to work for an airline transportation company in the future.
Students will take up to 4 years to finish this school’s bachelor’s degree program.
The school offers a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering program that prepares students for both flying and designing aircraft and spacecraft.
- Ohio residents: $11,936 per year or 47,744 for four years (tuition only)
- Non-residents: $35,019 per year or 140,076 for four years (tuition only)
- Ohio residents pay $11,936 per year or $47,744 in tuition for the whole four years of the program.
- Meanwhile, non-residents pay $35,019 per year or a 4-year total of $140,076.
University of North Dakota
The University of North Dakota has courses that can give you the management knowledge and technical expertise to excel in the aviation industry. The school offers scholarships for students with high GPAs.
Non-flight majors also have a place in the Department of Aviation with flight majors and flight training courses.
- The complete program for flight majors lasts for about 4 to 5 years and requires 120 credit hours.
- For non-flight majors, the program lasts for 2 to 3 years and requires 30 credit hours.
Upon successful completion of the program, students will receive a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics degree. Non-flight majors will receive a Commercial Pilot Certification.
- UND charges a $10,857.12 tuition fee and $1,714.32 miscellaneous fees per year.
- The total cost for the whole B.S. Aeronautics program comes at around $50,285.76.
- Getting commercial pilot certificates for non-flight majors costs $25,142.88.
Western Michigan University
As the school with the third largest college aviation program in the United States, Western Michigan University boasts a 55,000 square-foot Aviation Education Center and a world-class training fleet of single-engine and multi-engine aircraft.
The school also has a partnership with United Airlines. Cadets can be employed right after graduation and even given scholarships in exchange for return service.
Students can finish the program’s 123 credit units in over 4 years.
After graduation, students will get a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Flight Science.
Western Michigan University offers a discount for students who are residents of Michigan.
- Residents pay $555.58 per credit unit or $68,336.34 for the whole program. Non-residents pay $694.48 (or $85,421.04 respectively).
- Undergraduates who have to enroll in extra units will need to pay a flat rate over the tuition fees. This is $6,667.00 for Michigan residents and $8,333.75 for non-residents.
Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology
Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology has one of the biggest fleets in all of aviation training schools in the United States. They boast a fleet of over 40 training aircraft with different makes and models. Students get to fly for several hours per week to get them used to flying.
It is also a place for SkyWest Airlines to pick new pilots for their company.
The program lasts for 17 months with 87 credit units of coursework.
Students will get the degree of Associate of Applied Science in Aviation Flight after graduation.
The whole associate degree costs $82,864 in tuition fees and $6,600 in books, tuition, and uniform.
Florida Institute of Technology
Florida Institute of Technology offers comprehensive training in either army ROTC or air traffic control. Students can choose to specialize in either field while studying.
What makes this school unique, however, is their state-of-the-art BATD Lab. This is a room of specially-made training simulators for piloting students.
- 4 years, 120 credit units.
- Students will need to finish 120 credit units of coursework for over 4 years to get their degree.
After graduation, students will get a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science degree from the school.
- While flight fees vary between $30 – $200, their tuition fees stay at $19,295 per semester.
- That amounts to $154,360 for the whole program.
Utah Valley University
When it comes to simulators, Utah Valley University has the best of them. They use special Frasca simulators that use real airplane hardware instead of recreated parts that mimic airplane equipment.
The school also has partnerships with several airline companies so students can get recruited after graduation.
120 credit units, 4 years. Students will study for 4 years finishing 120 credit units of coursework.
Upon graduation, students will get a Bachelor of Science degree in Professional Pilot.
- Utah Valley University offers a discount for Utah residents. They pay around $2,600 per semester which amounts to $20,800 for 4 years.
- Meanwhile, non-residents pay $8,200 per semester or $65,600 for the whole program.
US Airforce Academy
For students who want to become Air Force pilots or Experimental Aircraft pilots, then the US Airforce Academy is the right place to study at. While it is a military school for pilots, this academy also offers majors like Aeronautical Engineering, Geospatial Science, and even Philosophy.
Cadets will go through their coursework for four years before graduating.
The school awards a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering degree for cadets who graduate.
Because this is a military training academy, students can study at this school for free.
St. Louis University
When it comes to budget equipment that’s as good as or even better than the industry standard, St. Louis University has it all. Before moving on to the Piper Archer that most schools use as a first plane, they have students fly a Diamond DA-20 Eclipse first.
Their flight practice is also done at the nearby St. Louis Downtown Airport, which is between a major international airport and an Air Force base.
4 years, 120 credit units
The program requires 120 credit units to be finished in 4 years.
The school offers a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics degree for students who finish the program.
- The program costs $24,050 per semester.
- It costs $192,400 in tuition fees to finish the whole program.
People who want to get their solo flight licenses while majoring in other degrees should consider going to Auburn University. The school offers a flight minor in addition to their bachelor’s degree program.
Their bachelor’s degree takes 4 years to finish over 123 credit units. Other majors will only need to finish 20 credit units to be eligible for a solo flight license.
The school offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Professional Flight.
- Alabama residents pay only $5,040 per semester, which amounts to $40,320 for the whole program.
- Non-residents pay $15,120 per semester. This puts them at a total of $120,960.
Baylor University is another school that offers a flight minor. They also have separate training programs for fixed-wing aircraft and rotary motor aircraft, and coursework includes aviation law, commercial aviation, corporate aviation, and even weather analysis.
It takes 4 years to finish their bachelor of science degree.
Undergraduates will get a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Sciences after graduation.
- It costs $25,116 per semester to study at Baylor University.
- The whole program will cost $200,928 in tuition.
South Dakota State University
When it comes to training experts and distinguished pilots, South Dakota State University has it all. This school not only has Frasca RTD flight simulators, but it also has optional tailwheel training on an American Champion Citabria.
Four years, 120 credit units for both plus 17 credit units for flight training.
The school offers two degrees with specializations:
- Bachelor of Science in Aviation Maintenance Management Specialization
- Bachelor of Science in Aviation Education Specialization
The school offers scholarships to South Dakota residents, children of alumni, and Minnesota residents.
The following is the breakdown of their tuition costs:
- South Dakota Residents or Children of Alumni: $4,650 per semester
- Minnesota Residents: $5,189 per semester
- Non-residents: $6,405 per semester
Can you get a scholarship to a pilot training school?
Students can definitely get a scholarship to study at pilot training schools. There generally are three kinds of scholarships in pilot training schools:
- Commercial airline scholarship
- State financial aid
- Military scholarship
Most schools have partnerships with commercial airline transportation organizations and companies. If they find a prospective student or cadet, they can offer financial aid in exchange for return service.
Others, like Minnesota and Utah, offer lowered tuition costs for residents of their states. These schools also sometimes offer lowered tuition costs for those who live in nearby states.
And lastly, studying at the United States Air Force Academy is always free. It’s the best option for students who want to become air force pilots.
Conclusion: Choosing the Best Pilot Training or Aviation College for You
There are different schools for different students with different needs. While some may want to be an experimental aircraft pilot for the US Air Force, others may want to be a professional airline pilot in an international commercial airline company. Whichever school you decide should be based on your needs, location, and what you can afford.
When you do end up with a flight license and need to refurbish your own aircraft’s interior design, don’t forget to contact us at Southern Air Customs for a quote!