Flight School Options in Virginia

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.

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a pilot and soaring over the Appalachian mountains or across the Chesapeake Bay and along the Atlantic coastline of Virginia? Earning your pilot’s license may not be as difficult as you might imagine. 

Learn what it takes to become a pilot in Virginia, how long it takes, and what costs are associated by reading all about the best flight schools in Virginia and the top employers of pilots in the commonwealth. 

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Quicklook: Flight Schools in Virginia

  • Hampton University
  • Liberty University
  • Averett University
  • American Aviation
  • Horizon Flight Center

5 Flight Schools in Virginia

The best companies hire the best pilots, which typically come from the top flight schools. Check out our list of flight schools in Virginia! 

Hampton University

Hampton University is a historically black private college located in Hampton, Virginia. It was originally founded in 1868, after the Civil War, to provide educational opportunities to freedmen. They were voted the best flight school in Virginia by PilotColleges.com 

Location: 100 E. Queen Street, Hampton, VA 23669

Tuition & Fees: Undergraduate tuition and fees for the 2021 school year total $42,148 with an additional $3,500 for flight school fees. 

  • Tuition 2020-2021: $ 26,198
  • Room & Board: $ 12,986
  • Comprehensive Fees: $ 2,964
  • Annual Total: $42,148 + $3,500 = $45,648

Financial Assistance: 

  • FAFSA – Federal Student Aid
  • Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant
  • Grants
  • Scholarships
  • Federal Loans
  • Personal Loans

Accreditation: Yes

Program Length: 

  • (B.S.) in Flight Education – 4 years
  • (A.S.) in Flight Education – 2 years
  • (B.S.) in Aviation Management, Airport Administration – 4 years
  • (B.S.) in Air Traffic Control – 4 years
  • (A.S.) in Air Traffic Control – 2 years

Endorsements: None

School Size: Hampton University has an enrollment of 3,742 students and an average class size of 16 students per classroom. 

Job Placement: Yes

Virtual Learning: Yes

Liberty University

Liberty University is located in Lynchburg, Virginia, and is a private Christian university. In 2017 and 2018, Liberty’s School of Aeronautics was awarded the prestigious, Loening Award, which honors the most outstanding all-around collegiate aviation program in the nation. 

They feature three areas of aviation specialties, Commercial/Corporate, Military, and Missionary. 

Location: 204 Arthur S. DeMoss Dr. Lynchburg, VA 24515

Tuition & Fees: 

  • Annual Tuition: $23,800
  • Annual Room/Board: $8,000
  • Annual Dining Plan: $4,450
  • Annual Fees: $1,810
  • Annual Pilot Training Fees: $7,500
  • Total Annual Cost: $45,560

Financial Assistance: 

  • FAFSA – Federal Student Aid
  • Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant
  • Grants
  • Scholarships
  • Federal Loans
  • Personal Loans

Accreditation: Yes

Program Length:

  • (A.A.) – Aviation Maintenance Technician – 2 years
  • (B.S.) – Aeronautics – 4 years
  • (B.S.) – Aviation (Online) – 4 years
  • (B.S.) – Aviation Administration – 4 years
  • (B.S.) – Aviation Maintenance – 4 years
  • (B.S) – Aviation Management – Online – 4 years
  • (B.S.) – Aviation Technology – 4 years

Endorsements: None

School Size: Liberty University has over 100,000 students enrolled with an average class size of 20 students per classroom. 

Job Placement: Yes

Virtual Learning: Yes

Averett University

Averett University was founded as a women’s college in 1859, became a co-ed college in 1969, and Baptist re-affiliated in 2011. Located in Danville, Virginia, the flight school offers bachelor degrees in aviation, as well as the required certificates required to become a professional pilot in Virginia. 

Location: 427 Airport Dr, Danville, VA 24540

Tuition & Fees: 

  • Annual Tuition: $36,900
  • Annual Room/Board: $8,000
  • Annual Dining Plan: $4,240
  • Annual Fees: $1,140
  • Annual Pilot Training Fees: $12,000
  • Total Annual Cost: $62,280

Financial Assistance: 

  • Financial Assistance:
  • FAFSA
  • Federal Loans
  • Military Financial Aid Benefits
  • Scholarships
  • Grants
  • Private Loans
  • Student Employment

Accreditation: Yes

Program Length:

  • (B.S.) – Aviation Business – 4 years
  • (B.S.) – Flight Operations – 4 years
  • Private Pilot Certificate 
  • Commercial Pilot Certificate
  • Flight Instructor Certificate
  • Flight Instructor Instrument Certificate
  • Instrument Rating Certificate
  • Class Rating Certificates

Endorsements: None

School Size: Averett University has an annual enrollment of 893 students with an average class size of 11 students per classroom. 

Job Placement: Yes

Virtual Learning: Yes

American Aviation

American Aviation is considered one of the highest respected flight schools in the nation and has been in business since 1979. Located in the Manassas Airport, they offer private and commercial pilot training, as well as various instructor and instrument certificates. 

Location: 10503 Wakeman Dr, Manassas, VA 20110

Tuition & Fees: 

Private Pilot License – Cost varies dependent on aircraft, however, all coursework and materials are included in the price listed. 

  • Cessna 150/152 – $8,200
  • Diamond DA20 – $9,100
  • Piper Archer – $10,500
  • Cessna 172 – $10,700
  • Diamond DA40 XLS – $11,100

Financial Assistance: No, but there are grants and scholarships available through the FAA and the Virginia Dept of Aviation.

Accreditation: Yes

Program Length:

  • Private Pilot License – 25 ground hours and 50 flight hours (75 total hours)
  • Instrument Rating  – 50 hours of ground courses, 10 hours in a flight simulator and 40 flight hours
  • Commercial Certificate – 250 flight hours, min of 100 hrs of Pilot in Command flight, 50 hours of cross country flights, and a 10 hours of solo flight
  • Airline Transport Certificate – 1,500 hours of total flight time, including min of 500 hrs of cross-country flights, 100 hours of night flights or 75 hours plus 45 full-stop night landings

Endorsements: None

School Size: All ground and flight training is conducted individually with an instructor.

Job Placement: Yes

Virtual Learning: No

Horizon Flight Center

Founded in 1993, Horizon Flight Center is an FAA-approved, Part 141 / Part 61 Pilot Training Center located in Chesapeake, Virginia. Pilot courses, ground courses, pilot and instrument certificates, and pilot training certificates are offered, in addition to multi-engine add-ons. 

Location: 2801 Airport Dr. Chesapeake, Virginia 23323

Tuition & Fees: 

The cost to attend Horizon ranges between $15,000 and $20,000 to obtain a pilot’s license depending on which classification. 

Financial Assistance: Yes, there are grants and scholarships available through the FAA and the Virginia Dept of Aviation. Financing is also offered through Pilot Finance, Inc..

Accreditation: Yes

Program Length: 

  • Private Pilot : 35-45 hours plus ground course time (6 months total, on average)
  • Commercial Pilot : 250 flight hours, built on from the Private Pilot License (2-3 years)

Endorsements: None

School Size: All ground and flight training is conducted individually with an instructor.

Job Placement: Yes

Virtual Learning: No

How Does Flight School Training in Virginia Work?

A pilot’s license is a document issued by the FAA, which proves that an individual has met all requirements to fly an aircraft and has successfully completed all required testing and flight hours to obtain a professional pilot’s license. 

To qualify for a student pilot’s license, one must pass a physical to obtain a 3rd class medical certificate, be able to read/write/speak fluently in English, be at least 17 years of age, and pass the required flight, oral, and written tests. 

After a pilot has obtained a professional pilot’s license (PPL), they may be hired to pilot commercial (non-passenger) aircraft. To fly with passengers, an airline transport pilot certification (ATP) is required, which is earned with additional training beyond a professional pilot’s license. 

Virginia Flight School Facts & Figures

The best flight schools in Virginia offer the necessary training to become a professional pilot, at a competitive price, and offer job placement assistance upon graduation. 

Number of Schools

There are 39 flight schools in Virginia and 8 aviation colleges across the commonwealth with the majority located in the Richmond and Newport News areas along with the northern part of the state, closest to Washington D.C.

Number of Students per Class

Virginia flight schools and aviation colleges have an average of 17 students per classroom.

Tuition Rates

The average annual tuition rate for aerospace programs in Virginia is approximately $24,000. 

Average Loan Amount

Virginia students have an average federal/private loan debt of $37,098.

Scholarship

The average scholarship amount per student in Virginia is $3,852.

Job Placement

The Virginia Department of Aviation offers programs to assist aspiring pilots with information about flight schools in Virginia and employment opportunities beyond graduation in a career that is in extreme demand. 

Virginia Pilot Employment Facts & Figures

Virginia neighbors one of the busiest airspaces in the world, near Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C. The area attracts several large aviation employers in need of professional commercial and airline pilots.  

Employment 

Commercial pilots in Virginia earn an average annual salary of $87,440, while the average salary of an airline pilot in Virginia is $140,001. 

Biggest EmployerAverage Salary
SkyWest Airlines$139,378
U.S. Dept of Transportation$126,786
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)$126,697
U.S. Air Force$114,882
American Airlines$111,586

Salary

Commercial pilots in Virginia earn an average annual salary of $87,440 ($7,287 per month or $1,682 per week), while the average salary of an airline pilot in Virginia is $140,001 ($11,667 per month or $2,692 per week).

Virginia Is for Pilots! 

The top flight schools in Virginia provide a clearer picture of your specific path to becoming a pilot. The locations, costs, time commitments, and course offerings have been listed so you can decide which educational path best fits your needs as you work towards your goal of soaring the Virginia skies! 

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FAQ

How do you become a pilot in Virginia?

Get an FAA medical certificate, then take the required written and oral tests to obtain a student pilot license. Next, choose a flight school, then complete the course work and minimum flight hours to earn a professional pilot’s license in Virginia.

How much does flight school cost in Virginia?

The cost for flight school in Virginia depends on the type of aircraft, flight school, and the number of hours required to feel comfortable navigating an aircraft. The cost can range from as low as around $6700 to $8,100 to earn a private pilot’s license.

What airlines will pay for flight school?

American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and several of their affiliates will pay for flight school.

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