Helicopter Pilot Training Programs and Courses

By completing the appropriate training and logging sufficient flight time, you can become licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a helicopter pilot. Learn where you can find training programs for helicopter pilots, and review what skills you'd learn as a trainee. Read more about the requirements for licensure, and discover what careers are open to helicopter pilots. Schools offering Aviation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Prospective helicopter pilots can choose from several training and degree program options. After acquiring FAA certification, you can choose to work in the public or private sector.

Programs Certificate, Stand-Alone Training, Associate's, Bachelor's
Licensing Commercial, private or instructor license options through the FAA
Future Career Options Flight Instructor, Emergency Response Pilot, Surveyor, News and Traffic Pilot

What Helicopter Pilot Training Programs Are Available?

Community colleges and universities offer degree, certificate and stand-alone training programs to prepare you for one or more levels of FAA licensing. You can become certified as either a private or commercial pilot or an instructor. You can also receive an instrument rating that allows you to fly in conditions of low visibility. Some certificate programs qualify you for private, commercial and instructor-level FAA certification. An FAA Commercial Pilot Certificate or a Certified Flight Instructor Certificate might be two available options.

What About Degree Programs?

Associate's degree programs in general aviation include specialized training options that prepare you to become a helicopter pilot. Completing an associate's degree program could give you the training necessary to earn a helicopter pilot's license and transfer to a bachelor's degree program in advanced majors, such as aviation management. An Associate of Applied Science in Aviation Technology or a Bachelor of Applied Science in Aeronautical Science could be two potential degree options.

What Courses Will I Take?

Through training and certificate programs you'll likely take courses in aerodynamics and human factors in flight. In addition to coursework, these programs give you the necessary amount of flight experience for your chosen level of FAA certification. You'll practice flight with an instructor, participate in solo, cross-country and night flights and master take-off, landing and instrument reading. You might also be studying some of the following topics:

  • Flight safety
  • Aviation planning
  • Operations management
  • Maintenance
  • Weather monitoring

What About Courses in an Associate's Degree Program?

Associate's degree programs include courses and flight experience to prepare you for private, commercial, instructor and instrument rating certification by the FAA. General education courses are usually included alongside more in-depth coursework. An internship could be required at this level. Here are some areas you might be covering:

  • Humanities
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Ground training
  • Human error
  • Instrumentation
  • Aviation management

What Careers Can I Pursue?

As a helicopter pilot with a commercial license, you can pursue work in several industries. You can use your knowledge to enter the field of flight instruction, or you could work as an emergency response pilot for a hospital, fire department, law enforcement agency, the U.S. Coast Guard or the Air Force.

Entertainment-type jobs include helicopter rides and scenic tours through museums and recreation organizations. You could offer surveying, aerial photography, cargo delivery and patrolling for the construction industry. If you're interested in journalism, you could provide flight support for news gathering and traffic reporting. Individuals, corporations and other organizations might hire you for private or business transportation, search and rescue, fish spotting or hunting.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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