Flying an aircraft is not a skill that can simply be picked up and learned on the job. One must have enough knowledge and skills gained through pilot education and hands-on training, and be able to obtain a commercial pilot license. In fact, there are specific licenses and certifications required to fly specific types of aircraft and to fly professionally. The best Florida flight schools discussed below offer programs focusing on the vital aspects of flying aircraft, from instruments to landing to safety.
Each of the institutions meets the following criteria:
- An expected median salary of no less than $30,000
- An average annual cost of no more than $40,000
- Accredited and recognized programs
The schools below are ranked from the lowest annual average cost to the highest, with each piece of information obtained from the schools themselves as well as the US Department of Education and FAA websites.
7 Best Florida Flight Schools
1. Florida State College at Jacksonville
2 Year; Jacksonville, FL
Average Annual Cost: $3,129
This large public institution proudly claims it has the most affordable flight training tuition fees. After all, it lets students maximize the GI Bill benefits for the flight training program and education. Plus, it has available scholarships and financial aid options for qualified students. FSCJ is authorized to approve its graduates’ applications for R-ATP (Restricted Privileges Airline Transport Pilot) certification. Graduates may use their AS credits to pursue bachelor’s degrees at four-year institutions like Jacksonville University, Polk State College, and Embry-Riddle.
The school has several aviation-related degrees and certification programs, including the Associate in Science (AS) in Professional Pilot Technology. The curriculum’s design ensures that the student pilots shift quickly from the classroom to the flight simulators and the flight line without cutting corners.
2. Miami Dade College
4 Year; Miami, FL
Average Annual Cost: $4,870
Miami Dade College’s Eig-Watson School of Aviation Department offers several FAA-accredited programs, including an AS in Professional Pilot Technology. The school boasts modern, FAA-approved flight training devices (FTDs) equipped with control tower simulation and flight technology.
It also has well-trained and licensed instructors from the aviation industry who teach students aerial management and maneuvering, advanced flight capabilities, Cockpit Resource Management (CRM), and more. Like FSCJ, MDC can issue its students an R-ATP certification. The only difference is that MDC students can add an ATC or air traffic control specialization.
3. Polk State College
4 Year; Winter Haven, FL
Average Annual Cost: $8,722
Unlike the last two Florida flight schools, this mid-sized public institution offers two programs for future pilots and instructors. One is the 63-credit AS in Professional Pilot Science, wherein graduates learn to fly and earn FAA commercial pilot certification for single- and multi-engine aircraft and Instrument Rating. They can also use it to obtain additional optional flight certifications.
Another is the BS in Aerospace Sciences Major in Professional Pilot. With this more extensive program, graduates would be able to advance in their careers or get promoted to air captains. They can also qualify for corporate, private, and commercial airline, air ambulance, air support, and military pilot jobs.
4. Broward College
4 Year; Fort Lauderdale, FL
Average Annual Cost: $12,351
The Emil Buehler Aviation Institute at Broward College offers programs certified by FCC (Federal Communications Commission) and FAA (Federal Aviation). It has partnerships with Phoenix East Aviation, state-of-the-art training grounds and simulators, and certified flight instructors.
This community college’s Professional Pilot Technology program is ideal for future co-pilots, pilots, airline captains, and even flight instructors. Graduates will obtain a Commercial Pilot Certificate, Private Pilot Certificate, Instrument Rating, and a Multi-Engine Rating, as well as their Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) and Certified Flight Instructor Instrument (CFII) qualifications. Aviation students at Broward also have the opportunity to earn the R-ATP (Restricted Privileges Airline Transport Pilot) certificate, as long as they meet the other requirements.
5. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide
4 Year; Daytona Beach, FL
Average Annual Cost: $18,938
As one of the best private colleges in the US, Embry-Riddle’s Department of Aeronautics has professors with real-world military and civilian aviation operation and teaching experience. It also has many online and in-person aeronautics and aviation programs. Embry-Riddle’s BS in Aeronautics is ideal for those who want to fly private, commercial, and military aircraft.
Graduates and working professionals can opt to enroll in any of the master’s degrees offered by the university for higher chances of being promoted. A Ph.D. in Aviation is also available. You can choose from four specializations: Aviation Human Factors, Aviation Operations, Aviation Safety, and Intradisciplinary.
6. Aviator College of Aeronautical Science and Technology
2-4 Year; Fort Pierce, FL
Average Annual Cost: $28,303
This small college offers three different programs that meet the requirements for obtaining a commercial pilot certification. Its 12-month Commercial Pilot Program is best for international students. It is a cost-efficient and effective path to receiving the minimum flight training required for employment. The second option, perfect for those who prefer a program with more flight time, is the two-year, 71-credit AS in Aeronautical Science program. With this degree, you’re fully prepared to apply for your FAA certification and rating. For more extensive knowledge and skill development, enroll in the four-year, 121.5-credit BS in Aeronautical Sciences program.
The difference with the AS degree is that the curriculum includes upper-level courses in various subject matters, such as Aircraft General Knowledge, Airplane Performance, Basic and Advanced Instrumentation, Principles of Flight or Aerodynamics, Flight Planning, General Navigation, Human Performance, Mass and Balance, Meteorology, and Radio Navigation. Students can also choose from three concentrations or majors: Airline Pilot Concentration, EASA Professional Pilot, and Flight Education.
7. Lynn University
4 Year; Boca Raton, FL
Average Annual Cost: $35,440
Among the Florida-based schools on this list, this mid-sized private university offers the most aviation programs for future pilots. Most can also be taken online and/or on campus, but each program ensures hands-on training and experience. The certification programs available include Airline Transport Pilot, Commercial Pilot, Commercial Professional Pilot, Private Pilot, and Recurrent Flight Training
If earning several pilot ratings and licenses and qualifications for the 1250-hour rATP is what you want, the Associate of Arts (AA) in Aviation is best for you. You can also transfer the credits gained when you decide to enroll in a BS degree, such as Aviation Management. Lynn also offers two bachelor’s programs available for aspiring pilots offered by Lynn University are BS in Aviation Operations and BS in Professional Pilot.