Flight School Options in Washington

Flight school in Washington

Learn more about flight schools in Washington to find the best school for you. [Credit: iStock]

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.

You have several options for flight schools in Washington, including a flight school in Seattle. Whether you’re looking for a bachelor’s degree or certificate, you’re on the path to a great career by attending a Washington flight school. 

We’ve put together important facts and figures to guide you in finding the ideal flight school for you. 

Quicklook: Flight Schools in Washington

  • Green River College
  • Galvin Flying
  • Rainier Flight Service
  • ATP Flight School
  • Aero Maintenance Flight Center

5 Flight School Options in Washington

Now you’re ready to start researching the best flight schools in Washington. We’ve helped you create a shortlist of the 5 best schools in the state.

Green River College

Green River College offers the opportunity to pursue a college degree in aviation while earning your pilot license. This can be a great benefit if you plan to advance your career beyond being a pilot or are looking for a way to maximize your salary as you gain experience.

Location: 1221 D Street NE, Auburn, WA 98002

Tuition & Fees: You’ll complete the in-class portion of your training at Green River College but the school partners with local flight schools to offer your flight training hours. Your final tuition fees will be dependent on which flight school you select but they will range from $80,000-$100,000.

Financial Assistance: No

Accreditation: Yes

Program Length: Green River College offers bachelor’s degrees, associate’s degrees, and certificates to accompany your pilot license. The program length will depend on which degree you seek and how often you schedule your flight hours.

Endorsements: Endorsements will vary depending on which partner you choose for your in-flight training.

School Size: Total enrollment is 8,471 and the student-to-teacher ratio is 12-1.

Job Placement: Yes

Virtual Learning: No

Galvin Flying

Galvin Flying is an excellent flight school in Seattle, Washington. After more than 90 years of training future pilots, the school is experienced in preparing both private and commercial pilots. 

Location: 7001 Perimeter Rd S., Seattle, Washington 98108

Tuition & Fees: Tuition to become a commercial pilot includes three phases. 

1. Private pilot certificate $8,995. 

2. Instrument Rating $11,502. 

3. Commercial pilot license $27,816. 

The total tuition and fees are $48,313.

Financial Assistance: No

Accreditation: Yes

Program Length: The program length will depend on how quickly you work through the in-class and in-flight training. If you’re diligent, you could earn your private pilot license in 8 months, complete instrument training in 6 months, and your commercial certification after an additional 4 months for a total of a year and a half.

Endorsements: Tailwheel, high altitude

School Size: The school has about 80 students enrolled at a time, though that number changes frequently. Class sizes average 10-20 students depending on the time of year that you enroll. 

Job Placement: No

Virtual Learning: No

Rainier Flight Service

Rainier Flight Service is designed to prepare commercial pilots for a rewarding career. This is one of the flight schools that work with Green River College to help you earn your hours while getting a college degree. The school will prepare you for both the technical proficiency needed along with pilot skills. 

Location: 800 W. Perimeter Rd., Renton, WA 98057

Tuition & Fees: Tuition to become a commercial pilot includes three phases. 1. Private pilot certificate $16,575. 2. Instrument Rating $16,575. 3. Commercial pilot license $29,465. The estimated total cost to earn a commercial pilot license is $62,615.

Financial Assistance: Rainier Flight Service offers financing options as well as several aviation scholarships to help you offset the cost of the school.

Accreditation: Yes

Program Length: Instruction includes 60 hours of flight time with your instructor. Depending on how often you schedule your lessons, you could complete the course in about 14 weeks and then just need to complete the additional hours to meet the 250-hour minimum for Part 61 FAA requirements.

Endorsements: High performance, commercial multi add-on, complex

School Size: Class sizes average 7-12 students per instructor. 

Job Placement: No

Virtual Learning: Yes

ATP Flight School

ATP is a national leader in commercial pilot training. Its accelerated learning plans help you get started with your career quickly and its job placement services help ensure you earn a valuable and rewarding career. As a national school, ATP has resources many other flight schools do not.

Location: 1302 26th Ave. NW, Gig Harbor, WA 98335

Tuition & Fees: If you don’t have your private pilot certificate yet, you’ll pay $83,995 for your commercial pilot license. If you do have a private pilot certificate, expect to pay $65,995 for your license.

Financial Assistance: ATP offers assistance finding a loan as well as tuition reimbursement programs with partner airlines.

Accreditation: Yes

Program Length: Graduate in as little as 7 months. 

Endorsements: Multi-engine add-on

School Size: Approximately 8,258 students earn their FAA certificate from the school each year. 

Job Placement: Yes

Virtual Learning: Yes

Aero Maintenance Flight Center

Aero Maintenance Flight Center gets high ratings for excellent instructors and thoroughness. The school also offers discovery flights so you can learn more about becoming a pilot and see if it’s right for you. 

The class settings allow students to ask questions and ensure the best possible chance of success.

Location: 101 East Reserve Street, Vancouver, WA 98661

Tuition & Fees: Earning your private pilot’s license costs about $11,000-$13,000. Each 2-hour lesson after that costs about $204-$424 and you’ll need a minimum of 250 hours of flight time, which puts your total cost at about $51,000-$106,000.

Financial Assistance: The school provides resources to connect you with Flight Training Finance and AOPA Finance.

Accreditation: No

Program Length: Your training starts with ground training, which is an 8-week course. Then it’s up to you to schedule your in-flight hours to complete your requirements. 

Endorsements: Tailwheel, high performance 

School Size: Enrollment is rolling and students graduate on their schedule based on when they complete their flight hours. The average class size is about 7 students. 

Job Placement: No

Virtual Learning: No

How Does Flight School Training in Washington Work?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has stringent requirements for aircraft pilots. There are various types of licenses, including a sport license, private license, or commercial license. Each provides different rights. But if you plan to make a career out of your pilot license, you’ll need a commercial license. 

If you’d like to become a pilot for hire, you’ll want to take a few steps.

  1. Check to see if you’re medically qualified. You’ll need to get medical clearance from an Aviation Medical Examiner. This includes a physical to ensure you meet FAA requirements. 
  2. Find a flight training program in Washington that meets your goals of earning your license. Make sure to discuss with the school your career aspirations before you start your degree to make sure it’s a good fit.
  3. Complete all required training. The FAA requires at least 35 to 40 hours of flight training for a private license. But to get a commercial license, you’ll need 250 hours of flight time. 

Seattle Flight School Facts & Figures

Learn about your options and some key facts and figures for Seattle flight schools. This will help you prepare for inquiring with these schools about their training programs.

Number of Schools

There are 35 flight schools in Washington with 4 schools in Seattle.

Number of Students per Class

Class sizes are fairly large in Washington for flight school at about 31 students. However, once you begin your in-flight training, you’ll be taking to the skies with just you and your instructor.

Tuition Rates

The average tuition rate for earning your private pilot license in Washington is $16,000. To earn your commercial pilot license, you should expect to pay closer to $80,000

Average Loan Amount

Because becoming a commercial pilot requires 250 hours, many people take several months or even a few years to earn their license while working. Your ability to work and offset the $80,000 tuition will impact your total loan amount.


Scholarships are somewhat challenging to come by for pilot training. You can learn more about options from the Washington State Aviation Alliance.

Job Placement

Some schools offer airline sponsorships and partnerships that help guarantee a job after graduation. This will set you on a good path toward paying off loans and making the license beneficial for you.

Seattle Pilot Employment Facts & Figures

Before embarking on pilot training, learn about your career prospects and what you can expect from a career.


Seattle has the seventh-largest aviation market in the US. Get insights into the largest employers for pilots in Washington and the average salary you can expect.

Biggest EmployerAverage SalaryFull or Part Time Pilots
Boeing$81,839Full time
Horizon Air$104,911Full time
Delta Airlines$92,000Full time
Southwest Airlines$101,363Full time
United Airlines$73,743Full time


The mean annual wage for airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers is $186,870 per year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s a monthly pay of $15,573 and a weekly pay of $3,594.

Begin Your Training Now

Earning a commercial pilot’s license to start a career takes a minimum of several months, but generally a few years. The sooner you get started, the better. You have many excellent options for Washington Flight schools. Gather information from a few listed above to find the one that is best for you. Subscribe to FLYING Magazine for industry news and updates.



How do you become a pilot in Washington?

To become a pilot in Washington, you’ll first need to earn your private pilot license. Then you’ll get your instrument rating and finally earn your commercial pilot license, which enables you to get hired as a pilot.

How much does flight school cost in Washington?

It costs approximately $80,000 to become a pilot in Washington.

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