Best Flight Schools in the United States for Aspiring Aviators

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If you're looking for the best flight schools in the United States, there are many options.

We've taken a look at the educators and programs currently leading the industry. And the good news is, aspiring pilots have plenty of great choices. These institutions each try to offer something a bit different. But in the end, the best flight schools are dedicated to the same goal.

All of these schools strive to provide the highest level of education and safety training. Using the state of the art and latest teaching methods, you can count on a well rounded education. The location and focus of your discipline will be up to you. But if you want to become a great pilot, these schools will give you a good place to start.

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The Best Flight Schools for Any Prospective Pilot

There are many reasons you might be looking for a career in aviation. Pilots can often earn a nice salary and those earnings are trending upward. But there are so many other ways you can make a living in the industry. Whether you want to fly a plane, work on its engines, or manage an airline, these schools can help. Like in any professional career, education plays a big part in success. So identifying and choosing from the best flight schools is vital. Here are our picks and we hope this information helps your aviation career take off!

1. Ohio State University Center for Aviation Studies

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We're looking at the best colleges in the United States. But the Ohio State center stands out among the worlds best flight schools. It is operated by the university's college of engineering. And you can expect to find state of the art technologies and supremely qualified instructors.

The Center for Aviation Studies dates back more than a century. Not only is it one of the oldest still in operation, it has trained countless pilots. During World War II, it became common to see military pilots train at the school. These days, whether you're looking to fly professionally or for yourself, it's a great program.

You can decide how much education you need for your career goals. Start with as little as a bachelor's degree in aviation, aviation management or related social science. No matter what your major is at OSU, you can add on a professional pilot specialization. From there, you can continue on to become a certified flight instructor. With an education from this center, the sky really is the limit.

2. Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

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Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University has built quite a reputation. Since its founding more than 40 years ago, it has gone on to launch nearly 200 other campuses. They are located all around the world and are operated by one of the best flight schools.

The school has a history of providing the essentials. A no nonsense approach to giving graduates a great education has kept it at the top. Staff will work with incoming students to make sure the workload fits into their schedule. So no matter when you want to start flying, you can probably make it work here. Like all of the best flight schools, you can expect a state of the art campus. More than 26,000 students attend classes online. And the courses the school offers are very diverse. Choose from nearly three dozen degree programs. 

In particular, Embry Riddle has received widespread praise for its aerospace engineering curriculum. But whatever emphasis you choose, count on plenty of help and expert guidance along the way. Going far beyond the cockpit, each degree includes a focus on important peripheral issues. Among these courses are ethics, geography and philosophy.

3. Purdue University School of Aviation

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One of America's great historic colleges, Purdue University predates manned air travel. But since humans conquered the sky, its aviation school has become a world class campus.

Of course you can count on the high quality education of any of the best flight schools. But researchers and experts go further, making this a beacon of aeronautic advancement. If you want to get involved in the future of flight, this might be the program for you. Among the specializations the school offers is the testing of new fuels and turbine technologies.

You can also expect a consistently high ranking curriculum. Choose from any of seven separate undergraduate degrees related to the aviation industry. You'll have to get some standard education credits along the way. But much of the time you'll spend at this school will be learning the tools of the trade.

4. Aerosim Flight Academy

We wanted to include Aerosim because it takes a bit of a different approach. Most of the best flight schools in the United States focus on flight time. And you can certainly get that with an Aerosim curriculum. 

But as the name indicates, instructors are much more reliant on flight simulators. And there are many reasons prospective pilots might want to use this type of education. First of all, there's the safety factor. State of the art simulations give you all of the sensory experiences with none of the risk. In fact, they can give you even more real world input. Since you can program virtually any in air emergency, students will go through a range of problems.

Perhaps best of all, it is much cheaper to stage simulations. That means it is easier and more affordable to rack up as many hours as possible. If supplementing flight time with simulations sounds good, check out Aerosim Flight Academy.

5. University of North Dakota's John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences

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Another economical choice, UND's program is also a bit more traditional than Aerosim. We think the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Science is among the best flight schools. And the staff of professionals continue to prove why. 

The school sets out to provide every graduate with five key qualifications. First of all, educators want to teach great fundamental skills for professional pilots. Then they shoot for recognition on a national and worldwide scale. The staff aims to deliver a passion in graduates that leads them to further expertise of the craft. They also stress the basics, providing a strong platform for that continuing education. Finally, the school emphasizes the tools to make air travel increasingly and reliably safe.

Like most of the best flight schools, the UND program offers a variety of specializations. Whether you're looking for an undergraduate, graduate or even higher degree, this school has it. And the school offers an impressively low tuition rate for the high quality of the curriculum.

6. San Jose State University's Department of Aviation and Technology

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Humble roots more than 80 years ago led to one of the best flight schools in existence today. In 1936, a few of the math majors were discussing their mutual interest in studying flight. By the time World War II approached, it had already earned a solid reputation. In fact, at that time, there were only a dozen others training civilian pilots for war.

That proved vital not only for the war effort but for giving the school unique experience. It has continued to pass that on through the SJSU College of Engineering. You can choose from one of two bachelor of science programs. First of all, there is the major in aviation. Then there is the industrial technology program. From there, specializations include operations, maintenance and aviation management, and professional flight. Then the school offers a master's degree for quality assurance in the aviation industry.

If you choose this program, you'll find it is a flexible course. SJSU knows that many in the course also have full time jobs. So they want to make sure students have the best chance of succeeding.

7. Hallmark University College of Aeronautics

Hallmark University offers one of the nation's best flight schools. Its College of Aeronautics takes a holistic approach to the subject. If you are more interested in the nuts and bolts (literally) of aeronautics, check out this program. You can attend most classes either completely or in part through online courses.

And choose from several distinct specializations on your way to a career in aviation. Get an associate degree in power plant, air frame, and air frame and power plant technologies. Then you can opt for a degree in the bachelor's program from there if you choose.


The United States has some of the best flight schools in the world.

So if you're looking for options in anticipating of earning your pilot's license, you're in luck. These colleges share a common commitment to safety. But they provide their educations in different ways. However you learn best, we hope our guide helped narrow down your search.

If you learned something, share this article with your friends. And leave us a comment below if you have any final thoughts or questions.


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