The costs associate with initial aviation training can really add up. Depending on your goals and the type of license or certification you want, you can expect to pay as much as $80,000 or even more if you are in Europe. The good news is that there are several proven strategies you can use today to finance your dreams. Your costs will include all the flight training you’ll need as well as other expenses you might have to cover such as ground school, airplane rentals, test fees, and more.
1. Aviation Loans for Flight Schools
Getting a loan from a lender that offers programs for flight training is a great place to start. The specifics of the loan depends on each institution, so make sure you look at all your available options and choose the best one for your situation. If you plan on becoming a commercial pilot, look into airline sponsored pilot training through programs like the Southwest Airlines – Destination 225º Cadet Pathway or the American Airlines Cadet Academy. Once your training is complete, you commit to being a pilot for a specific airline and that airline gives you tuition reimbursement.
Some of the more popular lenders in this area include:
2. Student Loans
If you plan on becoming a professional pilot and attending an accredited school in the United States, consider getting a federal student loan. Federal student loans feature low rates and a standardized process to get approved. They are a great option if you are looking to become an airline pilot or are planning to attend a university to study aviation.
3. Get a Job at Your Flight School
Look into the job postings at your school and apply! By working at a flight school, you’ll be earning money to put towards your education and may even get a discount on tuition costs.
4. Use a Low-Interest Credit Card
Using a credit card may be an option for taking care of tuition costs, as long as it offers a low interest rate. There are there a lot of credit card companies offering cards with near 0% rates when you first sign up. Some offer up to 18 months of 0% interest on new purchases, such as your flight training classes. Of course, you will have to pay the money back, but this could be a great way to get started. Be sure to look for a card with a lower interest rate and no hidden fees.
There are a host of organizations that offer scholarships to help people achieve their dream of learning to fly. What each organization covers and who qualifies for a scholarship varies based on the organization. Check for funds that are given to women, minorities or other specific groups if you qualify.
Here are a few of the scholarships available:
6. Join the Military
A lot of airline pilots got their training by being in the military and you can too. Remember, joining the military is a big decision and not something you do just to save money on pilot training. However, if you do, you will have the opportunity to pilot some of the most advanced aircraft in the world.
7. Get a Home Equity Loan
If you have built up equity in the home you own, consider taking out a home equity loan to pay for flight school. Your bank or financial institution will use your home as collateral, which will allow you to have a much lower interest rate since the loan is lower risk to the bank. Some lenders will go as high as 90% of the value of your home.
In the UK & Europe, there are few schemes available to pay for all your training, but you can still benefit from a significant cost reduction. Some flight schools or airlines have even started to offer sponsored scholarships for the initial training, like the CAE Women in Flight scholarship program.
In some countries such Norway, there are state financed flight schools, which enroll a limited number of pilots every year. If you have been living in the UK for at least 3 years, you can apply for Professional and Career Development Loans provided by the government. Remember, the cost of pilot training may differ significantly across Europe and in Asia. So moving to a location with cheaper flight training may be an option for you.
Acquiring flying skills is not only personally fulfilling, but it can also lead to a well-paid career. Remember, the best investment you can ever make is in yourself. So, review your options, make a plan and take action to secure your future in aviation!
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