Purdue University Global has officially launched its professional flight program and will begin training students through its flight training affiliate, Sterling Flight Training LLC, this fall. Students may apply to enroll in the online Bachelor of Science in Professional Flight program beginning Wednesday (June 10).

Those accepted into the School of Aviation program will complete their Bachelor of Science degree courses online through Purdue Global, which includes aviation and general education classes, while completing professional flight training at Sterling Flight Training in Jacksonville, Florida.

The program is a collaboration between Purdue Global and Purdue University’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology – announced in June 2019 – and a partnership between Purdue Global and Sterling – announced in February 2020.

Purdue’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology, one of six departments and schools in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, has provided its expertise in curriculum development, faculty hiring and accreditation by the Aviation Accreditation Board International.

“This collaboration represents a significant step in the expansion of Purdue’s world-class professional flight program and an exciting new opportunity as we persist in addressing challenges in the aviation industry,” said Gary R. Bertoline, dean of the Purdue Polytechnic Institute and a Distinguished Professor of Computer Graphics Technology and Computer and Information Technology at Purdue University.

This program is designed to get students flying immediately, shortening the timeline to becoming a professional pilot in order to meet an anticipated industry demand. As United States airline pilots approach the federally mandated retirement age of 65, the industry faces a shortage of pilots. Reports forecast a need for more than 800,000 pilots over the next 20 years.

Progressing from private pilot to certified flight instructor, graduates will have the foundation essential to serve as flight instructors and accrue additional flight experience required by airlines to get hired as an airline pilot. Upon reaching CFI status, participants enrolled in the program can begin teaching fellow students and earn compensation for their work in addition to flight hours, which can help with education costs and living expenses.

Those wishing to be part of the initial class should apply quickly, as space is limited.