Professional Piloting: Learn to Fly at UAA!!

Airplane flying

The Professional Piloting program prepares graduates for piloting careers in commercial aviation and airlines. The Aviation Technology Division offers an AAS degree in Professional Piloting and a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Technology with a Professional Piloting concentration. The UAA Professional Pilot training program is certificated by the FAA under Part 141 of the Federal Aviation Regulations.  

Airline PilotAirline Pilot

PIlot in TrainingCommercial Pilot

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What FAA ratings and certificates do students earn in UAA's flight program?

    In both the AAS and BS degrees student will have the opportunity to earn the following certificates and ratings:

    Course Hours
    Private 50
    Instrument 50
    Commercial 90
    Multiengine 15
    Certified Flight Instructor (optional) 25
    Instrument Flight Instructor Add-On (optional) 15
    Multiengine Flight Instructor Add-On (optional) 25

    Not all students opt to take the flight instructor add-on courses, but we highly recommend going through at least Certified Flight Instructor.  The hour projections listed above are minimums - additional hours may be needed to attain proficiency prior to taking checkrides.  Students will typically finish the program with around 250 hours.  

  • Can I use financial aid or veterans benefits to pay for flying?

    Financial Aid

    Because flying is part of the required curriculum for your college degree, any grants, scholarships, or loans you receive can be used toward the cost of flying.  We recommend all students research financial aid opportunities thoroughly, and plan ahead with a financial aid counselor to have a strategy for covering program costs before the beginning of flight training.  UAA's Financial Aid Website is a great place to start.   

    Veterans Benefits

    Post 9/11 GI Bill®*

    Students with Post 9/11 GI Bill® may be eligible to have flight costs covered, up to the minimum cost of each flight course.  

    Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits

    Students using Vocational Rehabilitation benefits should speak directly to their case manager to see what flight expenses may be covered.

    Other Veterans Benefits

    Other forms of veterans benefits such as tuition assistance will cover certain college expenses, but usually do not cover flight costs.  For more information, please contact UAA Military & Veterans Services a 907-786-6962.

    *GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at gov/gibill.

  • Can I transfer in flight ratings or certificates I've earned outside of UAA?

    Incoming students who have completed a private pilot certificate can receive credit for our private pilot ground school and flying courses.  With certain rare exceptions, we are not able to accept other certificates as credit toward our Professional Piloting degrees.  

    For students who have completed ratings or certificates beyond Private Pilot, UAA is able to award elective credit toward non-piloting degree options, such as the BS in Aviation Technology (Aeronautical Studies Emphasis).  This can be a great opportunity for students with prior industry experience or training to complete their bachelor's degree. Interested students are encouraged to meet with the Aviation Technology Student Success Advisor to discuss options in more detail.  To book an appointment, call 907-786-7200.

  • Can I work and go to school at the same time?
    Many of our students work part time jobs while going to school.  Some students also work full time, but that can be more difficult.  Aviation courses are held primarily between the hours of 10:00am-5:00pm Monday-Thursday.  
  • What is the flight schedule like?

    Students are typically scheduled for recurring flight times on Mon/Wed/Fri or Tue/Thr/Sat.  We encourage adding additional flights as aircraft and instructor availability allows.  Whenever possible, it is good to leave at least 6 hours of daylight time free of work and school obligations 4-5 days out of the week, to allow for flexibility to fly when weather and other factors allow.  

  • Are there summer classes?

    We highly recommend students continue to fly during the summer semester when daylight and weather conditions are most optimal.  Summers in Alaska are awesome, and you don't want to miss out on the opportunity to fly during the good weather seasons!

    General education classes (math, writing, science, etc.) are typically offered in the summer as well.  

  • What is an ATP certificate and why do I need one?

    ATP stands for airline transport pilot.  This certification is required to fly for most airlines, unless they are operating as a charter.  Unlike the ratings and certificates you earn in flight school, the ATP certificate is earned primarily through accruing flight experience.  Commercial pilots without a college degree must have 1,500 flight hours to be eligible for the ATP.  

    For students who graduate from an approved piloting degree program, a restricted ATP (R-ATP) certificate is available with a reduced hour and age requirement (must be 21 or older).  This certificate provisionally allows pilots to serve as first officers prior to accruing 1,500 flight hours.  UAA Students who graduate with the AAS in Professional Piloting are eligible at 1,250 hours.  Graduates of the BS in Aviation Technology (Professional Piloting Emphasis) are eligible at 1,000 hours.

  • What will I need to do before I start flying? 

    Students typically start flying during their second semester in the program.  To be eligible to start flying, you must receive a 'C' or better in ATP 100: Private Pilot Ground School.  

    Before flying students must have a 1st or 2nd Class FAA Medical Certificate.  A quick web search for 'FAA medical examiners' can help you locate physicians in your area who are approved to issue FAA medical examinations.  We recommend scheduling your medical exam 1-2 months before you plan to start flying.

    Students must also provide proof of US citizenship,  (usually a passport or birth certificate with state ID).  For students who are non-US citizens, the TSA requires an AFSP background check prior to starting flight training.  AFSP approval is not required for ATP 100: Private Pilot Ground School.   Students who are non-US citizens should begin the AFSP application process 3-4 months in advance of when they intend to start their first flight training course.  Please contact UAA Flight Operations for more information.