Share This Page

Huge Demand for Pilots Anticipated

September 9, 2016

Flight Students Have Faster, Less Expensive Options 

In July 2016, Boeing predicted that 617,000 new commercial airline pilots would be needed over the next 20 years. That works out to about 31,000 pilots each year. This is a growth of 10.5 percent for pilots over Boeing’s 2015 outlook.

Boeing researchers have found that the increased demand is primarily driven by new airplane deliveries and fleet mix. This is on top of a number of factors that were already in place, creating huge opportunities for aspiring fixed wing and helicopter pilots.

  • In 2007, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) raised the mandatory retirement age for pilots from 60 to 65, which means plenty of Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age in the next few years.  
  • In 2013, the FAA increased pilot training requirements to for safety purposes, making it more challenging for students to earn their pilot licenses.
  • The economy is continuing to improve, creating more jobs in general, but specifically in the travel industry as more Americans can afford to travel.

Anticipating this looming pilot shortage, Charter College officials met with flight schools across the country to find out how they could help. “Our focus has always been to help people find a great career doing something they love,” said Kyle Beebe, Charter College director of new business and innovative program development. “And we know people love to fly!”

In 2015, Charter College began partnering with select FAA part 141 flight schools to provide an associate degree in aviation. In 2016, they added a bachelor’s in aviation program option due to demand from students and pilot employers. As Beebe points out, “The bachelor’s degree is important for students who want to work as a pilot at a major airline, as most of the legacy airlines (United, Delta, FedEx, etc.) won’t even talk to them without it.”

With the partnerships, the flight school offer the ground school and general flight instruction needed to earn a variety of FAA 141 licenses while Charter College provides the aviation and general education courses required to earn their degree, as well as financial aid resources for those who qualify.

The Charter College Aviation approach to education allows pilots to complete training and earn a degree much more quickly than at a traditional university. It also saves students money, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of their education.

The bachelor’s degree program can be completed in under two and a half years, compared to four years at a traditional university. To earn the bachelor’s degree in aviation, students will complete 250 flights hours for the Concentration in Fixed Wing or 210 flight hours for the Concentration in Rotor, along with a series of aviation courses (including commercial aviation, navigation, aircraft system and components, air traffic control and crew resource management) over a period of 120 weeks.

“Our approach allows students to acquire their hours while they’re on the job, so rather than paying to fly all those extra hours, they’re getting paid for them,” Beebe explained.

After earning the appropriate FAA 141 certifications, students can build their flight time by working as a certified flight instructor (CFI), tour pilot, ferry pilot or another pilot job while completing their degree. Once they’ve logged 1,500 flight hours, their next step is to interview with regional airlines to start their aviation career.

“Getting their training and degree done quickly and efficiently means they start their career sooner, as well as enter the seniority queue at a major airline sooner,” Beebe explained. “All of this means they’ll get their preferred routes, schedules and hours much earlier.”

Charter College Aviation’s partnerships include flight centers in Arizona, California, Florida, Kentucky, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma,Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming with new centers being added on a regular basis. For a complete list, visit

Details on Charter College’s aviation program are available at or by calling 877-862-3484.