2 answers

What's the best college to go to for getting a private pilots license?

Asked Boerne, Texas

2 answers

Kevin’s Answer

Updated Ypsilanti, Michigan

Kim gave very sound advice.


The first question you need to answer is, are you just planning to fly for fun, or pursue a career as a professional pilot?


If it’s the former, your best bet is to skip paying tuition and work with a local flight instructor, flight school, or flying club. They will be far more flexible than any college, and likely less expensive, too.


If you are looking to fly professionally, then I would advise that you look close to home first. Cost is the single largest barrier to completing flight training, and you will probably find it far more cost-effective to complete flight training and earn an AS in aviation at a 2-year college, then tack on a complimentary degree of your choice at a 4-year school. In the meantime you can fly professionally, building time and paying your way. This is the path that I took, and it worked well for me.


The military and many (but not all) airlines want to see a bachelors degree, but they typically aren’t picky about your major - one of my former Navy students had a degree in art history. He’s flying Super Hornets now.


If you are dead set on attending “the best” aviation schools, then Embry-Riddle, Univ of North Dakota, Western Michigan, Auburn, Perdue, and Ohio State are among your options, but completing all your certificates at any of those schools will likely run over $100K.

Kim’s Answer

Updated San Antonio, Texas

Connor,


When people talk about flying and college, it seems the first school that always comes up is Embry Riddle in Florida. However, Palo Alto College, in San Antonio, offers a 2-year program. You would have the advantage of in-state tuition rates. This is assuming you are wanting to fly professionally. If you are just wanting to do it as a hobby, I'd stay real close to home and go to Boerne Stage Airfield. I went up in a glider there a few years ago and it was awesome!


I recommend researching the requirements of the airlines, along with the success rates of the various schools. If you are considering going into the air force after finishing college, you want to talk to a recruiter who specializes in recruiting people into the pilot program. Be cautious about talking to the regular recruiters - they may not be well-informed.