Aeronautics program now eligible for Post 9/11 GI Bill.
College of the Sequoias has a long standing tradition of providing degree and certificate programs to prepare students with the skills and competencies which lead to gainful employment. The Aeronautics program is an extension of that tradition by proactively engaging the aviation industry to provide a solution to the demand for civilian helicopter pilots. The Vietnam era pilots trained by the US Army during the late 60's and early 70's are aging and retiring faster than can be replaced by the current military. As a result, the aviation industry must rely on civilian flight training schools to meet this demand. Most flight training is done by private civilian flight schools that vary in quality and services for students. The College of the Sequoias has consistently demonstrated that a college education and career preparation are not mutually exclusive. This program combines both elements to make graduates employable.
Choosing a flight school is an important decision. The investment is substantial, and the most important issue affecting every prospective pilot is: "Will I get hired after completing the program." 99.9% of all major employers will not hire low time flight school graduates. 1000 - 1500 flight hours are typical minimum entry requirements for anything other than flight instruction. Most people can't afford to buy this many hours, and even if they could, employers would still prefer pilots with real work experience as flight instructors. We realize prospective pilots need to build hours, which is why we start the training program with flight courses first! After earning the certificates and ratings necessary to work in a low-time pilot position, students can then work towards the general education requirements while having the opportunity to gain experience as a flight instructor. Check out our career guide for more information on how to become a successful helicopter pilot. We run our flight training operation just like any commercial operation. Pilots wear nomex flight suit uniforms, fly every day, and participate in ground training courses.
Quality Comprehensive Training Program
Because our program was designed to make our graduates employable, our courses are packaged to provide all the training necessary to become a successful helicopter pilot. Most professional helicopter pilots start their careers as flight instructors who then build their flight experience until they are qualified to apply for other pilot positions. Unless a pilot is qualified to instruct, he or she will not build the necessary flight experience to achieve his or her goal. Our degree program integrates all training necessary to become an employable flight instructor.
All training is conducted in the Robinson R-22 helicopter (If you can fly a Robinson, you can fly anything). We also add valuable R-44 helicopter time so our students can learn to fly bigger helicopters and increase their marketability as flight instructors. The ability to instruct in the R-44 is highly desirable and almost necessary for prospective flight instructors. Plus, the R-44 is a lot of fun, it handles like heavier turbine Bell helicopters (without the $1000/hour price tag)!
Graduates will receive training that lead to issuance of all FAA certificates and ratings up to and including Certified Flight Instructor - Instrument. This includes commercial certificate with instrument ratings.
Accelerated Flight Training Program
Not only do we offer comprehensive training, we don't waste time. Our intensive format training program is unlike anything available in the industry today. Our program is systematic and demanding, but most importantly, it works! If you come to our school and follow the training program on one of two paths, associate degree or certificate program, we will have all your courses completed so you can start work as a professional flight instructor in the most efficient manner possible. Although we schedule flights every day, our classroom is subject to the weather, and maintenance. Safety has to be our top priority, which means we do not allow operational pressures influence the decision to fly in marginal weather or aircraft. This can cause the flight schedule to get delayed. Those in the certificate program can expect to finish in as little as three academic semesters (beginning in either fall or spring). An Associate degree in Aeronautics & Aviation Technology can expect to complete the program in two academic years. Although the courses in the certificate program are scheduled to be completed within three academic semesters, sometimes FAA check-rides have to be scheduled after completion of the course.
If you've researched other training programs, you're likely to get some vague answers when it comes to duration...there's a lot of, "Well, that depends on you..." The fundamental difference between our program and others is that, we tell you directly what part you're responsible for, and what part we're responsible for. If you aren't doing your part, we let you know that too, so you can fix it and get done on time. Regardless of the path chosen, certificate or associate degree, we prepare you for success in the competitive aviation field. We take training very seriously and if you're making the investment, you will get your money's worth...and a lifetime career that you will love to go to work at every day!
While every pilot needs the certificates and ratings and flight experience to fly professionally, increasingly a college degree is required in this competitive economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010 – 2011 Edition for Aircraft Pilots and Flight Engineers, “Because of the number of college-educated applicants continues to increase, many employers are making a college degree an educational requirement.”
Career Placement Assistance
While we cannot guarantee a job, we do regularly hire our graduates as instructors to work for the school after completing the program. If we cannot place you in our program, we will help you find a job at another school. We have industry contacts with other reputable flight schools, and are willing to use our contacts to help our graduates. Some major flight schools only hire 2 - 5% of their graduates. We calculated our most recent placement rate for the year ending December 2012 and are proud to report a 79% placement rate of graduates that complete the program.
*Legally and ethically, we cannot guarantee anyone a job, so the above statement cannot be construed to represent a job offer. We can give you the tools you need to become successful, but you are still ultimately responsible for your own success as a professional helicopter pilot.
Financial Aid Available
Through the ParentsPLUS loan, 18 - 24 year old dependent students can receive funds necessary to complete flight training. The loan is guaranteed by the Federal government and represents one of the only financial aid options to help young people afford flight training. If you are between 18 and 24 and your parents are willing to help you start your career, this program will make funding possible. So far, every parent that has applied for the PLUS loan, has been accepted.
We strongly recommend that students eligible for this loan take advantage of it, while they can. After turning 25, students must apply for traditional private loans, and even listing the parents with perfect credit as co-borrowers is not sufficient for most lending institutions. Prospective pilots have had to give up on their dreams of becoming a professional helicopter pilot, because funding is not possible for young adults 25 and older. Historically, only about 5% of private loan applications have been accepted, compared to nearly 90% of PLUS loan applications. If you want to become a professional helicopter pilot, don't wait, contact us for more information.