Flying an aircraft is one of those jobs or professions that not everyone can just learn to do. One must have enough knowledge and skills gained through sufficient education and hands-on training.
In fact, there are specific licenses or certifications and ratings required to fly a specific type of aircraft and pilot profession.
The best Florida flight schools discussed below offer programs focusing on the vital aspects of flying aircraft, from instrumentation and 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 were ranked from the lowest annual average cost to the highest, with each piece of information obtained from the schools, US Department of Education, and FAA websites.
8 Best Florida Flight Schools
1. Florida State College at Jacksonville
2 Year; Jacksonville, FL
Average Annual Cost: $3,916
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 flight training and education. Plus, it has available scholarships and financial aid options for qualified students.
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 shifts quickly from the classroom to the flight simulators and the flight line without cutting corners.
FSCJ is authorized to approve its graduates’ application for R-ATP (Restricted Privileges Airline Transport Pilot) certification. Graduates may use their AS credits to pursue bachelor’s degrees in four-year aviation institutions like Jacksonville University, Polk State College, and Embry-Riddle.
2. Miami Dade College
4 Year; Miami, FL
Average Annual Cost: $4,842
As one of the largest colleges in the country, Miami Dade College’s Eig-Watson School of Aviation Department offers several FAA-accredited programs. However, those who plan to fly aircraft only have one option: AS in Professional Pilot Technology.
The school boasts modern, FAA-approved flight training devices (FTDs) equipped with tower and flight technology. It also has well-trained and licensed instructors who will teach students aerial management and maneuvering, advanced flight capabilities, practice 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: $9,740
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 can earn FAA commercial pilot certification for single- and multi-engine aircraft and Instrument Rating. They can also use it to obtain optional flight certifications.
Another is the BS in Aerospace Sciences Major in Professional Pilot. As a more extensive program, graduates would be able to advance in their careers or get promoted to air captains. They can also qualify for corporation, private and commercial airline, air ambulance, air support, and military pilot jobs.
4. Broward College
4 Year; Fort Lauderdale, FL
Average Annual Cost: $12,649
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 the following:
- Commercial Pilot Certificate
- Private Pilot Certificate
- Instrument Rating
- Multi-Engine Rating
- Certified Flight Instructor (CFI)
- Certified Flight Instructor Instrument (CFII)
They 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: $20,333
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.
The BS in Aeronautics is ideal for those who want to fly private, commercial, and military aircraft. Those who want to become unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and small UAS pilots can enroll in the university’s BS in Unmanned Systems Applications (BSUSA) program. Both programs require the student to finish 120 credits to earn the degree.
Embry-Riddle students preparing to obtain a UAS operator certification may also register for the Minor in UAS program. 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: $34,992
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. Enrollees also have the option to add more hours of learning and training.
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 skills 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
- 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: $36,044
Among the Florida-based schools on this list, this mid-sized private university offers the highest number of aviation programs for future pilots. Most can also be taken online and/or on campus, but each program ensures hands-on training and experience.
Here’s a quick list of the certification programs available:
- Airline Transport Pilot
- Commercial Pilot
- Commercial Professional Pilot
- Private Pilot
- 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.
Lastly, the bachelor’s programs available for aspiring pilots offered by Lynn University are BS in Aviation Operations and BS in Professional Pilot.