One of the biggest barriers to education can be cost. And even though a program like an aviation school will often provide an education that can help set you on the path towards a lucrative and fast-growing career, the need to make that initial investment can nevertheless still be daunting. So, how much does flight school cost, and what are some options for how to pay for it? Below, we have a breakdown of paying for your aviation program.
Flight school cost
Receiving flight training at a private flight school typically costs between $40,000–$60,000, with some of the more well-known schools costing up to $80,000. (Alternately, four-year universities that offer aviation majors can cost more than $100,000.) Training for a private pilot’s license is even less expensive, costing between $3,000–$10,000. And unlike many other types of education programs, there are several factors that can influence how much you spend on your training, including:
- How many lessons per week you can do
- How much time you have outside of class to study
- Whether you’re full-time or part-time
- The local climate — how often will bad weather cancel a lesson?
- The type of plane you use to learn
What are some other things you’ll want to consider besides tuition? Depending on your program, you may find that you also need to pay for additional tools and books, certification tests following the completion of your program, and living expenses. Though flight schools on average take less time than four-year degrees (with some schools even offering months-long programs), you might still be faced with reduced income while undergoing training. If that’s the case, you’ll want to be sure you have enough money saved up to cover expenses such rent, utilities, groceries, or transportation.
A commercial pilot license can take less than 12 weeks ,
and it can take as little as 2 years to become an airline pilot!
How to pay for flight school
Upfront, in full
If you have enough money saved up to cover your program’s tuition, any necessary supplies, and living expenses such as rent and groceries, paying out of pocket may be the best option for you. While this method does require the highest upfront cost, you won’t owe any money in interest, there’s no credit check, and you won’t have to worry about remembering to make monthly payments. Since non-degree aviation programs can cost up to $80,000, look around to see if there are any scholarships available that can help ease the tuition amount!
Employer reimbursement programs are very common in aviation training — in fact, many flight schools have partnerships with several airlines. How does it work? Once you complete your program, your future employer pays for your tuition in exchange for an employment contract. In general, these contracts require a few years of commitment to employment in exchange for the full tuition.
This can be a great way to pay for your aviation program, but you’ll want to make sure you read the contract carefully. In some cases, if you stop working for the employer before the contract expires, you’ll be required to pay back the full tuition amount.
If you’re interested in taking advantage of this payment option, reach out to your school to see which companies they partner with!
Veteran benefits — GI Bill
If you’re eligible for veteran benefits, you may be able to pay for your flight school through the GI Bill®, an education grant available to veterans and military personnel.
If you’re eligible, the GI Bill may be able to cover your full tuition. Apply on the VA website or ask your school for more information about qualification!
“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 US government website at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.
For those who are unable to pay the full tuition cost upfront, some schools also offer payment plan options. This allows students to make several smaller payments over the duration of the program, in order to lessen the upfront cost. It includes no credit check and no interest — so you’ll ultimately pay less than you would with a loan. However, payments are spread over a much shorter period of time than other financing options, so although you’ll pay less overall, your monthly payments will be higher.
A student loan can be a good choice for students who need to make the smallest monthly payments, rather than larger payments or all upfront. While not all aviation schools offer federal student loans, private student loans may still be available. Depending on the lender and loan terms available for your program, you may have the option of full deferral, interest-only deferral, or immediate full repayment.
Climb partners with several flight schools for financing with full deferral during your program, and we only perform a hard credit pull once a loan is funded. So, you can submit an application to check out our options with no impact to your credit score!*
There are some things you’ll want to keep in mind, though. Most loans come with an interest rate, which means you’ll ultimately end up paying more than the tuition amount. Your credit will also be pulled, so your credit score may be impacted. At the end of the day, you’ll need to consider what works best for your situation — smaller monthly payments while paying more overall, or higher monthly payments while paying less overall.
Flight school can cost as little as $40,000 ,
and a private pilot's license can cost as little as $3,000 !
Want to know more about paying for your flight school cost with Climb?
*Climb performs a “soft” credit pull to evaluate eligibility, but this soft credit check will not affect your credit score. A hard credit pull is only performed once the loan is accepted and funded.