Pilotsmith and Purdue Global, Purdue’s online school for working adults, have formed a partnership to address the projected global and regional demand for aviation professionals over the next 20 years.

Beginning 23 May, students accepted into the Purdue Global professional flight degree program will complete their Bachelor of Science degree courses online through Purdue Global, while completing professional flight training at Pilotsmith, Purdue Global’s newest flight training partner.

Students who complete all five flight certifications/ratings – private pilot certification, instrument rating, commercial pilot certification, certified flight instructor and multiengine flight rating – will receive 45 college credits from Purdue Global toward their bachelor’s degree in professional flight, equivalent to one year of college credits. Students who have college credits from previous schools may also receive additional transfer credits, thereby saving them more money and allowing them to graduate faster.

“The benefits to our students training under Pilotsmith are the significant cost savings and speed to obtaining the five flight certificates and ratings required within our professional flight program,” said Sara Sander, Purdue Global vice president and dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and interim dean of the School of Aviation. “Students can realistically accelerate their path to the airlines by one or two years.”

Pilotsmith students, employees and immediate family members (spouse, domestic partner, children, siblings and parents) are eligible for a tuition incentive package for undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates.

Purdue Global’s professional flight degree program is a collaboration between Purdue Global and Purdue University’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology.

As U.S. airline pilots approach the federally mandated retirement age of 65, the industry faces a shortage of pilots. Reports forecast a need for around 130,000 pilots over the next 20 years in North America, and airlines are already finding it hard to fill open positions. The Purdue Global and Pilotsmith partnership is designed to get students flying immediately, shortening the timeline to professional pilot to meet this demand.