How to pick a flight school

Picking your flight school is the basis of your career as a pilot. It’s an important choice and the options can be overwhelming.  

To make things a little easier, here are a few pointers of things to keep in mind when choosing which educational establishment to carry out your pilot training in. 

Some of these factors may help you to form questions for potential schools or lists of pros and cons for each of your options. 

Make a list of options 

Making a list of what schools you think you’d like to attend is the first action to take. They could be local to you or abroad, but whatever research you have already put in online or in person, you will have some idea of what’s on your radar. Making a list will shape the following actions.  

Visit schools on open days 

If the schools you wish to attend are having open days or information events, attend them. This will be the best way to see the buildings, meet the tutors and see the equipment and training materials available. 

Calculate cost of course (and any additional fees) 

Each course and school will have varying fees. Some may be all inclusive and other may have additional fees for flying time or learning tools. It’s important to find out what costs are involved in each to school so that when you make your final choice, you’ll have the right methods of funding in place. It could also be that studying abroad is more affordable and provides the specific type of learning you’re looking for. 

Get a feel of atmosphere 

Visiting open days will allow you to get a sense of the atmosphere of the school. Everyone has their own learning style, interact differently with others, and react well to certain attitudes. Your unique feelings will influence how you feel within a certain building with particular tutors and teaching styles. Feeling comfortable is a good sign! 

Contact current and previous pupils 

Previous pupils will be able to tell you a lot about a school. Find out how their experience felt and if they are in the job they wanted. If the majority of past students are in their dream role and enjoyed their learning process then that’s a good basis for your experience.  Find more information via online forums and in person wherever you can. Even talk to people who work in airlines you’d like to work for and see what path they took.

Learn about entry requirements 

Find out what tests each school uses to enroll students and to test progress throughout the course. You want the standard to be high so that you and your fellow classmates are learning to the highest standard you can throughout your time. There’s no point in the entry exams being too easy so that either a) you will struggle through the rest of the course or b) your final qualifications may not be high enough to gain your dream job. 

Find out school affiliations 

Some flight schools are partnered with airlines, so if there is a particular organization you’d love to work for this could be useful. Some schools are also partnered with certain companies for use of flight simulators, aircraft and other learning tools. 

Find out what help is offered to find a career 

What assistance will you get at the end of your course in order to land a job as a pilot? Check to see what support each school offers. Some may send regular emails with tips and job opportunities to help you to find a job. Others may offer further guidance on interviews and applications. As your main aim is to qualify and find a pilot job, the more help you can get then the better investment you would have made in your education. 

Picking a school ultimately comes down to research, investigation and enquiries. You are the best person to do your research. Trust your instincts and be confident that you’ve done all you can to find the right flight school for you and your future. 

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