How Can I Find a Helicopter Flight School?

Helicopter flight education is provided at aviation training schools and found in some undergraduate degree programs. Learn more about schools, degree requirements, hands-on instruction and certification. Schools offering Aviation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

There are plenty of degree programs to choose from, when studying helicopter operations. Consider the associate's and bachelor's degrees we've listed for your benefit.

Are There Flight Schools for Helicopter Pilots?

There are private, commercial schools that specialize solely in helicopter flight training. To help you locate a trustworthy school, there are at least two sources you might want to use: the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Flight schools that offer fixed-wing certification often also host programs leading to helicopter pilot certification. NCES features an online, searchable database for public and private postsecondary institutions; this can be narrowed down to specific regions or school types. As of May 2011, a search yields nearly 120 nationwide schools that offer programs dealing with pilot training that may include helicopter flight courses.

The FAA is the government agency responsible for all aspects of civilian aviation and maintains an online list of approved pilot schools in the U.S. Approved, or certificated, schools are referred to as part 141 schools; non-certificated schools are referred to as part 61 schools. One difference between the two designations is that a certificate from a non-approved school calls for 40 hours of flight training, while private pilot certificate from a part 141 school calls for 35 but also offers knowledge-oriented lessons. The latter is the only type that can officially issue student pilot knowledge and practical exams. The FAA states that since most people require 60-75 hours of training to sit for this exam, the difference is a moot point; FAA-approved flight instructors determine aspiring pilots' 'readiness'.

As of 2009, the FAA listed 600 national certified civilian flying schools; many of these provide reliable helicopter flight training programs. In addition, the FAA maintains a list of all Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO). You may want to contact your district's FSDO for a list of all flight schools in your area.

What Programs Are Available to Me?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, if you want to go to work for an airline, you're better off with at least a 2-year college degree than a certificate from an independent helicopter flight school. Commercial schools are not concerned with academic requirements and don't grant degrees, though some of their courses are similar to those found in programs at traditional postsecondary institutions. A 2-year program, offered through a department of aviation or aeronautics at a postsecondary school, can lead to an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science.

Depending on the school, an associate's degree program can consist of 60-95 credits. Typical courses include private and commercial flight and ground school, meteorology, instrument training, lab sections, dual flying, solo flying and flight instructor training. You may have the opportunity to serve an internship at a school-approved facility. Schools might offer you the opportunity to earn a certificate, which generally entails the same helicopter-related courses as an associate's degree program, but without the general education requirements.

You might be interested in a 4-year program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science or Flight Management with a concentration in helicopter flying. Consisting of 122-124 credits, this type of program is made up of courses similar to those found in an associate's degree program, including aircraft operations, turbine transition, mountain flying, aviation management, security, aerodynamics and aeronautics.

Which Schools Offer Associate's Degrees in Helicopter Flight Training?

Associate's degrees are available in helicopter flight training through community colleges. There are a variety of programs to consider.

  • Aims Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program with a Helicopter Pilot Option
  • Southern Utah University offers an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in helicopter flight training
  • Sinclair College offers an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in Aviation Technology

Which Schools Offer Bachelor's Degrees in Helicopter Flight Training?

Choose from the following bachelor's degrees which include pathways in rotor wing studies and aeronautical science. There are online options too.

  • Southern Utah University offers a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) and a Bachelor of Science in General Studies (BSGS) degree program in helicopter flight training with a Rotor Wing aircraft component
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in Aeronautical Science (Rotary Wing)
  • Middle Georgia State University offers an Online Aviation Bachelor Degree Option

Is Online Instruction Available?

Due to the necessity of practical flight instruction, cross-country dual and solo flying and FAA practical testing, helicopter flying programs presented entirely online don't exist. However, schools may offer hybrid programs. In hybrid programs, though your in-person requirements remain the same, you may be able to complete general-education and ground-school requirements online.

Study helicopter flight training through undergraduate degree programs. These degrees are available from community colleges; and online options are possible.

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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