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College of Education and Professional Studies


Application Process

  1. When should I apply?
    Application review begins in mid- January for the following fall quarter.  Only completed applications will be reviewed.  Applicants will be accepted until the program is full, though the date by which this occurs each year is variable.  It is to your benefit to submit your CWU and Aviation applications by January 1st.
  2. How many students a year does the Professional Pilot degree accept?
    The maximum enrollment for each section of AVP141 Principles of Flight I and AVP142 Principles of Flight II (ground schools) is 30 students.
    Based on demand, additional sections of these courses will be added as needed up to the maximum capacity in a given year, However, a variable number of our applicants come into the program with previous flight training, thus allowing the program to accept more students per year as these students will immediately enter into later stages of flight training.
  3. What supporting documentation do I need to send with my Aviation application?

• Applicants for the Professional Pilot degree:
1. A COPY of a FAA Class 1 medical certificate.
2. A COPY of your academic transcripts documenting GPA.
3. A Letter of Recommendation from flight instructor, professors, teachers, coaches or supervisors. (No friends or family please.)

• Applicants for Aviation Management degrees:
1. A COPY of your academic transcripts documenting GPA
2. A Letter of Recommendation from professors, teachers, coaches or supervisors. (No friends or family please.)

4. Once I am accepted into one of the Department of Aviation degrees what should I do?
• Complete the checklist provided in your Aviation acceptance letter.
• Return the signed Declaration of Intent to Enroll to the Department of Aviation as early as possible to ensure your seat.  This may be done by email or regular mail.
• Attend a Discover orientation during the summer prior to arriving at CWU. Information should be sent to you from University Housing and New Student Programs.
• Consider visiting us during an open house event if you have not done so already.

5. Why is it required to obtain a FAA Class 1 Medical Certificate?
• The Central Washington University’s Professional Pilot degrees require the FAA First Class Medical Certificate prior to enrollment. This ensures that the student will be able to pass the physical examination necessary to become an airline pilot, assuming no changes to their health. For your benefit, we want you to know if you can obtain the First Class Medical standards prior to undertaking the expenses related to flight training.

6. If I already have a FAA Class 2 or Class 3 Medical Certificate do I need to re-apply for Class 1 Medical Certificate?
• Yes, unless you are applying for the Professional Pilot Minor only.

7. Can I go to any doctor to obtain a FAA Medical Certificate?
• No, you must schedule an appointment with a designated Aviation Medical Examiner (AME). A physical examination by a doctor other than an AME is not sufficient. To locate an AME in your area please visit the following link:

8. What degrees can I obtain CWU’s Department of Aviation and what flying if any is required?

Flying Degrees:
• Professional Pilot - Flight Officer Specialization:
- This specialization prepares graduates for professional pilot positions within the airline industry in addition to becoming a flight instructor.
- Students Complete: Private Pilot Certificate, Instrument Rating, Commercial Pilot Certificate, Certified Flight Instructor, and a Multi-Engine Rating.
• Professional Pilot - Commercial Pilot Specialization:
- This specialization prepares graduates for commercial aviation employment opportunities.
- Students Complete: Private Pilot Certificate, Instrument Rating and Commercial Pilot Certificate, and Multi-Engine rating.

Non-Flying Degrees:
Aviation Management Specialization:
♣ This specialization prepares the graduate for a variety of administrative management positions in the aviation industry. Management career opportunities related to aviation, such as airport management, general operational management, and air carrier management, exist in the industry.

9. What are the math requirements?
• There is no math prerequisite.  The specialization you choose determines the level of math knowledge required. We prefer students have a thorough knowledge of algebra and geometry for all degrees.

10. Can I begin the Professional Pilot Degree during Winter or Spring quarter?
• The Aviation Management and Aviation Maintenance Management degrees have flexible start times.
• The Flight Officer and Commercial Pilot specializations have a more rigid schedule and must be started fall quarter only. There are occasional situations such as military commitments that could warrant a winter or spring start date. Please contact the program for more information.

11. Am I eligible for the Professional Pilot degree if I have an AA degree and no flight training?
• You are eligible yet the Professional Pilot program is structured to be completed in four years. It will still take 3.0 – 3.5 years unless you arrive with prior flight training. Please refer to the Flight Training information page on our website regarding previous flight training.
• You still must apply to and be admitted to the university before you may apply to and be accepted by the Aviation program.  Your admission to CWU will include a credit evaluation to determine how many of your prior credits will transfer.

12. How long does the Professional Pilot program take to complete?
• Program completion times vary student to student. The program is structured for students who have no previous college experience or flight training to complete in four years or three years for students who stay over summers. Variables determining completion time include previous college credit or flight training.

Click here for more information on flight training

13. In what type of aircraft will I fly during training?
• Private Pilot Certificate - Cessna 172 (C-172R)
• Instrument Rating - Cessna 172 (C-172R)
• Commercial Pilot Certificate - Cessna 172 (C-172R) & Beechcraft Duchess (BE-76)
• Certified Flight Instructor Certificate – Cessna 172RG

14. How many aircraft are available?
• 12 – Cessna 172 (C-172R)
• 3 – Beechcraft Duchess (BE-76)
• 1 – Cessna 172RG

15. How often will I fly?
• Students are scheduled to fly at least 5 times in a two-week period Monday through Saturday. However, there may be opportunities to fly more than 5 times in two-weeks resource and schedule permitting. Students may also fly on Sundays and holidays/breaks if the schedule permits.


Airline partnerships: The aviation department has partnerships with Express Jet and and Horizon Air. Click here for more information. 

16. When can I get paid as a pilot?
• To be paid as a pilot in aviation you must hold a Commercial Pilot Certificate at minimum.

17. What is the Restricted Airline Transport Pilot License (R-ATP)?
• Before a pilot may work for a Part 121 air carrier, they must have a minimum of 1,500 hours of total time to obtain the required Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) license.  However, graduates of certain four year university programs qualify for a reduction in this total time requirement, called the Restricted Airline Transport Pilot license (R-ATP).  Central Washington University qualifies for this reduction – allowing qualified Flight Officer graduates to obtain a R-ATP at 1,000 hours or Commercial Pilot graduates to obtain the R-ATP at 1,250 hours.

18. Do previous Aviation and Flight Technology graduates qualify for the R-ATP?
• Yes, the R-ATP is retroactive so long as you completed the minimum approved aviation course requirements during your time at Central and it has been 5 years or less since your degree confer date.  Please visit the web page to fill out a request.

19. After graduation will I be eligible for a job at an airline?
• You will build between 250-350 hours total time and approximately 20 – 30 hours multi-engine time by the time you graduate the Flight Officer program. The airlines require you to have more flight experience prior to hiring you. For Part 121 operations (airlines), you must have 1,500 hours unless you qualify for a Restricted Airline Transport Pilot (R-ATP) license – which you will if you graduate from our program.  The R-ATP hiring minimums are 1,000 hours. Many students opt to flight instructor or work other commercial pilot jobs in order to build this remaining time to reach the airlines.  Minimum flight time requirements vary with airline.

20. What do Aviation Program flight graduates do after graduation?
• Generally, graduates obtain jobs as flight instructors at various fixed base operations (FBOs) to build the flight time and experience required by small cargo carriers or airlines.  Additionally, there are a number of other commercial pilot jobs available after graduation with lower flight time minimums – such as aerial sightseeing flying, fish spotting, pipeline control, and more.

21. How difficult is it for Aviation graduates to find jobs?
• Many of our graduates begin as flight instructors, often at our designated flight training contractor (IASCO Flight Training) and some in the Western Washington area or around the nation.  More experienced graduates are currently flying for Aeroflight, Horizon Air, SkyWest, Compass Airlines, and ExpressJet.  We also have graduates flying for major carriers such as United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and Alaska Airlines.

Previous Training:

22. What if I already have a Private Pilot Certificate or Instrument Rating
• A student coming to CWU with a Private Pilot Certificate or Instrument Rating who completed a FAR 141 ground school will be required to challenge appropriate CWU ground schools and flight labs.  Those students completing a FAR Part 141 ground school through an accredited college or university may be exempt from challenging courses.
• All students intending to arrive at CWU with previous certificates/ratings are required to complete a flight evaluation process prior to the beginning of fall quarter with the designated flight contractor. (See question # 24 evaluation flight question).
• Completion of the evaluation flight allows the student to begin the next stage of training.

23. What if I have completed my flight training and ground school under FAR Part 61?
• CWU Aviation accepts Private Pilot Certification under both FAR Part 61 and FAR 141.

24. What if I begin the program with only half of my Private Pilot Certificate complete?
• You will be subject to an evaluation flight with a flight instructor to place you in the appropriate stage of flight training.
• It is strongly advised you finish any certificates/ratings you are working towards prior to beginning CWU’s Aviation Program.

25. What is an evaluation flight?
• The evaluation flight consists of being paired up with a flight instructor. The flight instructor will determine students’ competence, both in ground knowledge and flight proficiency. The minimum time required to complete the evaluation process is 2 hours each of ground and flight. A maximum of 10 hours is allowable to complete the evaluation process. The student must be able to perform to the minimum standards prescribed by the most current FAA Practical Test Standards (PTS) for the maneuvers and procedures required by the final stage check in the appropriate syllabus. Once knowledge and flight proficiency have been satisfactorily demonstrated to the flight instructor the student completes the evaluation process through a flight with the Chief Flight Instructor, Assistant Chief Flight Instructor, or check instructor.

26. If I have a Commercial Pilot Certificate can I transfer to CWU?
• Students transferring with a commercial pilot certificate will not be eligible for any of the Professional Pilot degrees except as provided in approved articulation agreements.  However, a professional pilot without a bachelor’s degree could still consider pursuing an undergraduate degree in Aviation Management as an alternative career path.


27. Are flight training costs included in tuition?
• Tuition and flight training costs are paid directly to the University at the beginning of each quarter.  Flight training costs are divided into separate “flight labs” for each stage of training, and students are enrolled in each flight lab as they progress through training.

28. How much is flight training?
• Costs vary from year to year. Please refer to this link for a breakdown of approximate yearly costs.
• To successfully progress through the program in the time allotted, it is important to have access to funds for the entire course ( e.g., private pilot certificate) prior to starting the flight training.

29. How can I afford flight training?
• Self-pay.
• You may want to work and save money prior to applying to the program.
• Scholarships. Here is the link to CWU’s scholarship office
♣ Scholarships do not have to be aviation related.
• Loans.
♣ The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) grants you access to various subsidized and unsubsidized loan amounts.
♣ Key Bank then select Education Loans under Personal
• Need-based financial aid.

30. Are there flight training scholarships available?
• There several aviation scholarships available through CWU, the Aviation Department, and other aviation organizations (such as Women in Aviation).  Scholarship opportunities will be posted around the Aviation Training Center. There are a number of websites such as with scholarship opportunities.

31. Does financial aid cover all flight training costs?
• No, financial aid does NOT always cover the entire cost of flight training. It is your responsibility to find a way to cover any differential cost.


32. What type of simulators does CWU have?
• The Flight Technology Center’s simulator room houses $1.3 million worth of simulation equipment, which includes:
♣ A PC lab for computer-based training.
♣ Two Frasca 141 single engine Flight Training Devices (FTD)
♣ A Frasca TruFlite Baron G58 multi-engine FTD equipped with Garmin G1000, electronic flight information system (EFIS) and autopilot.
♣ A Frasca 242T which simulates a King Air 200 pressurized turboprop aircraft, equipped with a Flight Management System with vertical navigation capability and EFIS.
♣ A Frasca CRJ-200 AATD Regional Jet Trainer.

33. Do I only take flight courses to obtain this degree?
• No, you will be extensively involved with four years of aviation-related ground school courses, basic and breadth courses and, depending on the course of study you select, minor courses.

34. Do I pay for simulator rental like I do for airplanes?
• The cost of flight simulator time is built into the cost for the flight lab and ground school.  When in the simulator, you are only being billed for the instructor’s time by the flight contractor, which comes out of the same pool of funds you use for flight training.

35. What kind of flight courses do I take?
• Please visit our aviation specialization pages for course descriptions.


36. What is the Aviation Living Learning Community?
• The Aviation Living Learning Community (LLC) is a way for flight and management students to live together in order to foster comradery and promote mutual success.  There are monthly club events to assist with this.  The Aviation LLC is the first floor of Wendell Hill Hall B – a dorm normally reserved for upperclassmen but any student may live in the LLC regardless of class standing so long as they are in the Aviation program.  Wendell Hill Hall is closer to the airport, allowing for an easier commute to flights.
• If interested visit the website listed above or contact University Housing and New Student programs at 509-963-1831or toll free at 1-866-CWU-4YOU.


37. What kind of internships are available?
• Alaska Airlines
• Horizon Air
• The Aviation Department encourages students to seek out other internship opportunities.  In the past students have acquired internships with Kenmore Air, SkyWest Airlines, and the Port of Seattle, to name a few.

Student Organizations:

38. Are there any aviation-related clubs on campus?
• Yes, there are currently several active aviation-related clubs, in addition to the Aviation LLC.  Students are encouraged to participate in clubs in order to network and bolster their personal and professional development in the field of aviation.
♣ Alpha Eta Rho – Chi Rho
♣ Women in Aviation


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