Flight School in Michigan

Flight Schools in Michigan

Looking for a flight school in Michigan? This guide is here to help. [Credit: CanvaPro]

Editor’s note: The following article is not intended to be a ranking, but is only to serve as a list of possible options. As the saying goes, your mileage may vary.

Do you have an affinity for accepting challenges? Do you enjoy feeling the rush of adrenalin, exhilaration, and sheer liberation? If so, you may find an extremely fulfilling and rewarding career as a pilot in the aviation industry! 

Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to become a pilot in Michigan. From an overview of flight schools in Michigan and how much flight school is in Michigan, we’ll also tell you all about the associated requirements and how much it costs to get a pilot’s license in Michigan. 

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Quick Look: Flight Schools in Michigan

10 Flight Schools in Michigan

Now that you know how to become a pilot in Michigan, you'll need to decide which schools offer all that you specifically need. Have you thought about the course offerings, the average class sizes, or the graduation rates? 

Can the school help you find a job after graduation? How much is the tuition and what options does the school have in terms of financial assistance? To help you find answers to these questions and more, we’ve listed the ten best flight schools in Michigan.  

Western Michigan University College of Aviation

Western Michigan University College of Aviation boasts over 1,100 undergraduate students, making it one of the largest aviation programs in the nation. 

Location: 237 Helmer Rd N, Battle Creek, MI 49037

Graduation Rate: About 67% of students graduate from WMU College of Aviation. 

Tuition & Fees: Tuition ranges from $555.58 to $761.88 per credit hour. There are additional flight school fees as well, making the estimated total cost about $68,109. 

Financial Assistance: WMU participates in federal, private, and university-funded loan programs. The College of Aviation offers internal scholarships, and WMU also has scholarships available to the entire student body. 

Accreditation: WMU College of Aviation is accredited through the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI). Additionally, the FAA certifies WMU facilities for pilot training via MDOT licenses.

Program Length:

  • Aviation Flight Science Bachelor of Science: 4 years
  • Aviation Management and Operations Bachelor of Science: 4 years 
  • Aviation Maintenance Technology Bachelor of Science: 3.5 years 

Endorsements: WMU provides flight training for the FAA Commercial Pilot’s License with instrument rating and multi-engine endorsements.

Class Size: On average, class sizes at the College of Aviation range from 25 to 30 students.

Job Placement: The College of Aviation helps identify job opportunities and internships that are available for students. Partner companies and school alumni look out for applicants who are in search of jobs and internships.

Virtual Learning: Technology-related resources are available for aviation students who need assistance with distance education, computer programs, IT problems, and more. 

Andrews University

Andrews University is a private, not-for-profit university in Berrien Springs, Michigan. It was originally called Battle Creek College, and it is the top university within the Seventh Day Adventists' school system.

Location: 4150 Administration Dr, Room 136, Berrien Springs, MI 49104

Graduation Rate: Overall, about 47.2% of students graduate from Andrews University. 

Tuition & Fees: Annual tuition is $30,552, plus an additional $10,202 for miscellaneous fees as well as room and board.

Financial Assistance: 

  • Federal student aid
  • Student work study
  • Ministry work
  • Scholarships

Accreditation: Andrews is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Adventist Accrediting Association (AAA).

Program Length: 

  • Aircraft Maintenance Certificate: 1 year
  • Aviation Flight Certificate: 1 year
  • Aviation Flight, AT Associate’s Degree: 2 years
  • Aviation Maintenance, AT Associate’s Degree: 2 years
  • Aviation, BT Bachelor's Degree: 4 years

Endorsements: Complex endorsements are available from authorized instructors.

Class Size: On average, classes contain fewer than 20 students.

Job Placement: Andrews University has a career center that helps students prepare for employment and has programs to assist in finding jobs after graduation. 

Virtual Learning: Online classes are available. 

Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University started as a teacher's school over 100 years ago. Since then, the school has grown into a large education and public research university. EMU’s GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology offers technical programs and professional services management for undergrads. 

Location: 207 Sill Hall, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 

Graduation Rate: EMU has a graduation rate of 39.7% of students per year. 

Tuition & Fees: EMU’s tuition is about $8,400 per year. The flight school costs around $50,000 in addition to the base rate of tuition. 

Financial Assistance: EMU offers applications for financial aid, grants, and scholarships, as well as loans for undergrad students and some for graduate students. 

Accreditation: EMU has a Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation.

Program Length: 

  • Aviation Flight Technology Bachelor of Science: 4 years 
  • Aviation Management Technology Bachelor of Science: 4 years

Endorsements: Complex endorsements are available from certified instructors. 

Class Size: The average EMU class size is 14 students.

Job Placement: Students are provided with job search assistance for careers with small and large airlines. Help is available for students looking to join a military aviation program as well. Several graduates land teaching roles at EMU within the first year or two after graduation, allowing them to log more air time before applying for industry jobs.

Virtual Learning: EMU offers virtual courses with the exception of aviation classes. 

Northwestern Michigan College

Northwestern Michigan College is a community college in northwestern Michigan. Associate degrees are awarded upon completion of the flight crew and pilot training programs. 

Location: 1701 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49686

Graduation Rate: NMC has a graduation rate of 27.4% of students. 

Tuition & Fees: NMC charges $142 per credit hour. Additionally, anywhere from $59 to $69 is charged per hour during flight instruction. 

Financial Assistance: Grants, scholarships, and loans are available. 


  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • Federal Aviation Regulation

Program Length:  

  • Aviation Flight: 1 to 2 years
  • Aviation Ground: 1 to 2 years
  • Unmanned Aerial Systems: 1 to 2 years

Endorsements: An official endorsement can be earned voluntarily by meeting certain criteria.

Class Size: The average class size at NMC is 22 students per class. 

Job Placement: NMC students have a nearly 100% post-graduation placement rate. 

Virtual Learning: NMC offers online courses. 

MIAT College of Technology

The Michigan Institute of Aviation Technology in the township of Canton, Michigan. The school offers degrees in several industrial trades, including aviation maintenance. 

Location: 2955 S Haggerty Road, Canton, Michigan 48188

Graduation Rate: MIAT has a graduation rate of 65.3% of students. 

Tuition & Fees: Tuition is about $17,800 per year. 

Financial Assistance: Grant aid averages about $1,750 per student per year. Loans are also available. 

Accreditation: MIAT is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. It is also certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Program Length: 

  • Aviation Maintenance Technology Associate's Degree: 24 months
  • Airframe and Powerplant Technician Certificate: 20 months

Endorsements: None. 

Class Size: There tends to be 10 students per class. 

Job Placement: MIAT offers employment assistance to all graduates. 

Virtual Learning: Most, but not all, courses require hands-on participation, but some courses can be completed online.

Northern Michigan University

Northern Michigan University is a public college and aircraft maintenance school located in Marquette, Michigan. Flight degrees are available. You can also earn an associate's degree or a certificate in Aircraft Powerplant Technology. 

Location: 1401 Presque Isle Ave, Marquette, MI 49855

Graduation Rate: About 66% of students graduate from NMU. 

Tuition & Fees: Tuition and fees equal about $11,200 on average per year.

Financial Assistance: On average, students can receive grant aid that totals $3,123 per student. Students may also qualify for scholarships or federal loans to assist with tuition and expenses. 

Accreditation: NMU Aviation is accredited by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

Program Length: 

  • Aviation Maintenance Technology Associate's Degree: 2.5 years
  • Aviation Maintenance Technology Certificate: 2 years

Endorsements: NMU does not offer endorsements in aviation. 

Class Size: Northern Michigan University has an average class size of 20 students.

Job Placement: NMU offers resources and services to assist in career placement. 

Virtual Learning: NMU provides virtual learning options for many courses.

Siena Heights University

Siena Heights University is a small, not-for-profit, private Roman Catholic university founded in 1919. Located in Adrian, Michigan, Siena Heights University offers degree programs in multiple disciplines, including two Bachelor’s degrees in flight programs.  

Location: 1247 E Siena Heights Dr, Adrian, MI 49221

Graduation Rate: Siena Heights University has a graduation rate of 74% of students. 

Tuition & Fees: Tuition and fees are estimated to equal $27,152 per year. 

Financial Assistance: Estimated total grant aid is $13,352 per student. Students may also qualify for scholarships or federal loans to assist with tuition and expenses.

Accreditation: Siena Heights University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). 

Program Length: 

  • Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Aviation Flight Technology: 4 years

Endorsements: Siena Heights University does not offer endorsements in aviation. 

Class Size: Siena Heights University has an average class size of 12 students. 

Job Placement: Siena Heights University Career Services offers resources and services to assist in career placement, including connecting students with 300+ employers. 

Virtual Learning: Siena Heights University offers virtual courses. However, all aviation courses are in-person classes. 

Lansing Community College

Lansing Community College is located in Lansing, Michigan. It offers certificate programs and associate’s degrees in aviation technology in addition to many other fields. South of their downtown location, LCC has new aviation facilities located in Mason, MI.

Location: 409 N Washington Square, Lansing, MI 48933

Graduation Rate: LCC has a graduation rate of 18% of students. 

Tuition & Fees: Tuition is $17,130 per student per year. 

Financial Assistance: Grants, scholarships, and student loans are available for undergraduates at Lansing Community College. 

Accreditation: LCC is accredited by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

Program Length: 

  • Airframe Maintenance Technology, AAS: 2 years
  • Airframe Maintenance Technology, CA: 1 year
  • Basic Aviation Technology, CC: 1 year
  • Powerplant Maintenance Technology, AAS: 2 years
  • Powerplant Maintenance Technology, CA: 1 year

Endorsements: Lansing Community College does not offer endorsements in aviation. 

Class Size: Lansing Community College has an average class size of 17 students.

Job Placement: LCC’s Job Referral Program helps students find post-graduation jobs. 

Virtual Learning: LCC offers virtual courses, though not for aviation. 

School of Missionary Aviation Technology (SMAT)

Founded in 1970, the School of Missionary Aviation Technology trains individuals to serve mission organizations as either pilots or aircraft maintenance technicians. Due to the unique nature of global missionary service, these aviation specialists require a special level of knowledge, skills, and attributes, all of which are specific to reaching remote locations all around the world.

Location: 84 E Sprague Rd, Ionia, MI 48846

Graduation Rate: SMAT has a graduation rate of 93% of students. 

Tuition & Fees: Tuition and fees are an estimated $13,879 per year. 

Financial Assistance: On average, students can receive $3,109 in aid money from SMAT. Students can also apply for scholarships or federal loans to assist with the costs of tuition and school-related expenses.

Accreditation: SMAT is accredited by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

Program Length: 

  • NBI Bible Certificate: 1 year
  • Accelerated FAA Certified Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics Course: 2 years
  • Private Pilot’s License and Commercial Certificate with Instrument Rating: 3 years

Endorsements: Single-engine HP endorsement and tailwheel endorsements are available through the School of Missionary Aviation Technology. 

Class Size: The student body at SMAT encompasses 27 students in total, and the average class size is 7 students. 

Job Placement: SMAT provides job placement services for graduates.

Virtual Learning: SMAT does not offer any online courses.

Schoolcraft College

Schoolcraft College is a publicly-funded community college that was founded in 1961. Located in Livonia, Michigan, Schoolcraft College offers programs that result in Aviation Management Associate’s Degrees and Certificates. 

Location: 18600 Haggerty Rd, Livonia, MI 48152

Graduation Rate: Schoolcraft College offers access to programs and resources for financial aid, including scholarships, grants, and loans. 

Tuition & Fees: Tuition and fees are an average of $3,960 per year. 

Financial Assistance: Total grant aid is estimated to be $2,250 per student. Students can also qualify for scholarships or federal loans to further assist with tuition and expenses.

Accreditation: Schoolcraft College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). 

Program Length: 

  • Associate's Degree in Aviation Management: 2 years
  • Associate's Certificate in Aviation Management: 1 year

Endorsements: Students may earn a Global Endorsement of 15 hours if specific courses are completed. 

Class Size: Schoolcraft College has an average class size of 19.

Job Placement: Schoolcraft College has a career services office that conducts seminars covering topics such as resume writing, interview skills, career fairs, and employer relations.

Virtual Learning: Courses are available online. 

How Does Flight School Training in Michigan Work?

A driver’s license allows a person to lawfully operate a motor vehicle. Similarly, a pilot’s license allows someone to legally fly an aircraft. 

Michigan does not license aircraft pilots on a state level, so you will need to get a certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Anyone who wants to operate an aircraft has to obtain a license in order to become a pilot in Michigan.

Numerous career opportunities exist within the aviation industry. The number of opportunities out there will depend on the type of aviation license that you want to earn. 

In order to become a pilot in Michigan, you first must take classes and work towards earning a basic Private Pilot’s License (PPL) from a licensed flight instructor. Prior to officially beginning flight instruction, a Student Pilot Certificate is also required. 

  • Student Pilot Certificates allow you to receive instruction from a Certified Flight Instructor and work towards getting your private pilot’s license.
  • Private Pilot’s Licenses (PPL) allow individuals to operate most single engine aircrafts and teach students how to fly during inclement weather. PPLs cannot be used for paid flights, but PPL holders can fly solo or with passengers for free.  
  • Commercial Pilot’s Licenses (CPL) is required for pilots who want to make a living flying any type of aircraft. 
  • Instrument Ratings (IR) are also known as instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). These certify pilots who want to fly during periods of low visibility.
  • Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Licenses are a prerequisite to flying for any of the major airlines. You must first obtain your PPL and CPL certificates, and from there, you can start working towards your ATP license. 
  • Multi-Crew Pilot Licenses (MPL) are an airline-specific alternative to the Airline Pilot Transport License (ATPL). 
  • Certified Flight Instructors (CFI) train student pilots and teach them how to fly different types of aircraft in various weather conditions. 
  • Multi-Engine Instructors (MEI) are certified to teach flight students who want to become certified to fly multi-engine aircraft. 

Michigan Flight School Facts & Figures

How do you know which is the best flight school in Michigan? It can be difficult, but let us help! We’ll start by taking a look at the number of flight schools in Michigan, the average number of students per class, and how much flight school costs in Michigan.

We’ll also tell you all about where you can locate applications for available scholarships, grants, and loans. We will compare graduation rates and job placement assistance, as well as the best aviation employers and salary expectations for graduates of the best flight schools in Michigan. 

Number of Schools

There are currently sixty-six licensed flight schools in Michigan. The majority of flight schools in Michigan are located in and around the Greater Detroit and Grand Rapids areas. 

Some are peppered across the Traverse City area, and a few more are located in the central-most part of the state. Sixteen of the sixty-six flight schools in Michigan are aviation and flight colleges that offer various degree programs and certified flight instruction. 

Number of Students per Class

Most flight schools in Michigan have class sizes anywhere from 25 to 30 students on average. During ground instruction, flight schools in Michigan may average between 3 and 15 students per class. When receiving flight instruction, however, every student receives individual, one-on-one direction from their flight instructors.

Tuition Rates

The average cost of tuition for flight schools in Michigan is $10,000 for schools that offer pilot training for a Private Pilot’s License (PPL). The average tuition that is spent on a professional pilot program with the purpose of becoming a career commercial pilot is between $35,000 and $45,000. 

Average Loan Amount

Many students find that they only need to take out a loan to cover their tuition expenses. As noted above, these costs can range anywhere from $10,000 to $45,000. If students take out a loan, it will be a personal loan investment based on the school.  


Scholarships are available for flight school, as are grants and loans. The average amount of money that scholarships offer for flight schools in Michigan is approximately $2,000 annually. 

Job Placement 

Many accelerated flight training schools in Michigan provide job placement opportunities to graduates. Some flight schools in Michigan have agreements with airlines, meaning they can make employment offers to some of their graduates. Be sure to review the job placement agreements, as some schools offer actual job placements while others can only guarantee an interview.

Michigan Pilot Employment Facts & Figures

  • Michigan is a top U.S. state for pilot opportunities and earning potential. 
  • Michigan is ranked #1 for average airline pilot salaries. 
  • From $114,640 to $238,270 per year, pilots receive a 107.8% raise in four years.
  • Michigan employs over 3,000 airline pilots. 
  • There are over 1,000 non-airline commercial pilots in Michigan. 
  • Commercial pilot jobs in Michigan are expected to increase by 5% by 2028.
  • Michigan organizations employ 4,040 airline or commercial pilots.
  • Currently, there are over 600 estimated pilot jobs available in Michigan.


Biggest EmployerAverage SalaryFull or Part Time Pilots
U.S. Department of the Navy$83,738$153,614
Skywest Airlines$46,760$139,378
U.S. Department of Transportation$104,340$127,723
Federal Aviation Administration $92,703$126,697


Michigan’s average airline pilot salary is $140,201. This amounts to approximately $11,683 per month or $2,696 per week.

However, the salary range for pilots in Michigan falls between $121,000 and $158,000. This equates to roughly $10,083 to $13,167 per month or $2,237 to $3,038 per week. 

When considering all pilots in Michigan — not just airline pilots — the average annual wage is $63,860. This is the equivalent of $5,322 per month or $1,228 per week. 

Salaries can vary widely because they depend on location, education level, certifications awarded, learned skills, and years of experience.

ExperienceSalaryNational Average Salary
First Officer$88,840$93,000
Airline Captain$99,656$100,001
Flight Instructor$107,294$105,491
Cargo Pilot$92,543$56,150
Flight Commander$55,233$37,651
Aviation Inspector$39,550$46,238

Pilots Wanted! Make Your Dream of Flight a Reality Today!

Now that you have all of the information you need, you can get started on your exciting new career in aviation! Once you decide which is the best flight school in Michigan for you, reach out to the institution’s admissions department to take the first step toward a rewarding, lucrative career in a dynamic and growing industry. Stay informed along the way by subscribing to FLYING Magazine



How much is flight school in Michigan?

Flight school programs can cost between $8,000 and $12,000 for pilot training. To reach the level of licensing and education required to become a career pilot, the overall cost increases to between $35,000 and $45,000 for an FAA certified program. 

How do I become a pilot in Michigan?

If you can meet the age, health, and communication requirements to become a private pilot, you will log at least 40 hours in the air (most students spend 50 to 70 hours) before you get your private pilot's license. You will train with a certified flight instructor, pass all exams, and eventually take local solo flights, do your own flight planning, and take night flights before making several solo long-distance flights.

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