Turning Flying Experience Into Aviation College Credit: Different Approaches And How It Is Done
Aviation colleges in different parts of the country spend a couple years training new pilots before the next set of new pilots begin their training. However, you can shorten that time between entering flight college and graduation by transferring prior flight experience. Here is how it is done.
Single Pilot Training and Licensing
Individual pilots who are licensed have the ability to train others to become licensed pilots. This approach is quite common, and the flight records of how often you flew with your teacher and how often you flew solo are what you need to bring with you when you apply to an aviation college. Your flight school adviser will be able to translate your flight hours and current license into credit at the flight school.
Air Force Training and Naval Flight Pilot Training
Both the Air Force and the Navy train fighter pilots to fly. If you served first in either of these branches of the military where you were trained to fly a fighter plane or helicopter, this transfers very well into aviation schools. It also helps to have the extra military points granted to get into the school ahead of hundreds of other applicants. Some schools that ordinarily have a wait list for applicants will actually push the wait list back further to accept former military pilots to their schools first.
NASA Flying Experience
If you flew a rocket ship as an astronaut, you are most definitely able to transfer that experience into credit at a flight school. Some flight schools look at spaceship flight as an extra feather in your cap because you have flown on missions that required a much more intense level of skill and personal fitness. The stress levels alone speak volumes for your application and credentials. Astronauts who want to learn how to fly earth-bound planes after flying rockets will find that their knowledge regarding height, atmosphere, pressurized cabins, etc. will help give them a jumpstart on their education.
Credentials, Documents, and Flight Hours
Almost all flight and aviation schools have an applicant's meeting for students. Each student who wishes to apply to the college has to meet with a representative from the school, which is usually an academic adviser, but may be anyone that represents the interests of the college and its student body. When you come to this meeting, be sure to bring your credentials, licenses, documents that show your flight experience, and all of your flight hours right up to the day of the appointment. Then the college can decide for itself, looking at all of the above and your application, if they can fast-track you on their flight training programs.