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North Shore Community College

Aviation Science Professional Pilot (AVD)
Frequently Asked Questions

    GETTING STARTED

    Do I need any flying experience to apply? Can I take an introductory flight lesson first to try it out?
    Previous flying experience is not necessary in order to begin. However it is recommended that new students take an introductory flight lesson in an airplane at Beverly Flight Center prior to starting the program. This allows new students to experience a bit of fun and educational flight training prior to beginning the program, and it also familiarizes the student with the process of a flight lesson. 

    Can I take an introductory lesson in your simulator for free?
    YES !
    Even potential students who are not yet enrolled may schedule a free simulator lesson in NSCC's Redbird TD2 Basic Aviation Training Device with a Peer Mentor (Aviation Program Tutor/Advisor). For more information, please contact the Aviation Sciences Program Coordinator. 

    Can I start flying before I enroll in the program?
    Yes! Students may transfer previously obtained flight time into the program for credit. Some students choose to start flying at another flight school first, and then complete their training with NSCC. This allows them to make faster progress after enrolling in the NSCC flight program because they have less hours remaining to complete. It also allows them to see if they like flying before committing to the NSCC program. 

    Can I start flying before I graduate high school?
    Yes! The Dual Enrollment Program at NSCC allows high school and home-schooled students to earn college credit while still in high school. Day, evening, weekend and online courses are available. One of the NSCC courses eligible for dual enrollment is AVS101 - Private Pilot Ground School. Dual-enrolled students are also eligible to participate in NSCC-sponsored activities and clubs, including the Aviation Club.
    Additional information about the Dual Enrollment Program


    Do I need an FAA medical exam?
    All students applying for admissions to the Aviation Science Professional Pilot Program must possess either a First Class or Second Class FAA Medical Certificate that was issued by an FAA-approved Aviation Medical Examiner (AME). Please note: Although they are also offered by AMEs, Third Class FAA Medical Certificates are not accepted at the college. NSCC will require a copy of your FAA medical certificate be submitted prior to final acceptance to the program. Students applying to the Aviation Management Program are not required to have an FAA Medical Certificate. 

    Visit a local FAA-designated AME nearest you, and be sure to indicate that you need both a medical certificate and a Student Pilot Certificate. The AME search tool is provided at this part of the FAA's website.


    When and how should I register? 
    Students interested in registering should contact the Aviation Sciences Program Coordinator (ASPC). The ASPC provides academic advisement for every enrolled student in the Aviation Program, and works with Peer Mentors to advise new students and potential students. 

    Resident Aliens, VISA Holders and Non-U.S. Citizens:
    If a student is a Resident Alien, VISA Holder, or a Non-U.S. Citizen, the student must undergo a registration process with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) prior to beginning any flight training with Beverly Flight Center. The student is responsible for beginning this process by registering online with the TSA, and contacting his/her flight instructor for assistance. 

    Due to the amount of information required by the TSA, this process may take several weeks before the TSA issues the student an authorization to begin flight training. Therefore, timely initiation of the process is critical to minimizing delays in the student's ability to start flying. It is strongly recommended that students begin this process at least one month prior to the planned start of their flight training.




    FUNDING

    How much does it cost?
    Flight training fees make up the majority of Professional Pilot Program costs.  All program costs can be accessed from the menu on the left.

    Will financial aid be available, and does it cover all flight training fees?
    Financial aid is available for students who qualify.  Students will receive a financial aid award detailing the types and amounts of aid they will receive for the academic year.  The financial aid funds will pay towards the class tuition and fees first.  And if there are excess funds after the tuition and fees are paid these funds can be used towards the flight training fees.  Students who find they need additional assistance to cover the flight training fees may explore alternative options, such as, the Parent PLUS Loan (FAFSA is required) or a private student loan.

    Are scholarships available?
    There are many scholarships available to students in both the Professional Flight Program and Aviation Management Programs.  Most scholarships allow the funds to be applied to flight training fees, after tuition and fees are paid.  One of these scholarships is called the NSCC Foundation Scholarship, and it is offered through NSCC. Students who are interested must complete the application process and will be notified when they becomes eligible. 

    Can active duty U.S. military personnel and U.S. veterans use their G.I. Bill funding toward NSCC flight training costs? 
    Students enrolled in the Professional Pilot Program may not use G.I. Bill funding to cover the costs of that program. However in most cases, students enrolled in the Aviation Management Program are allowed to use G.I. Bill funding to cover the costs of that program. NSCC has a long tradition of providing education and training to veterans and current members of the armed forces who are seeking to learn new skills to add to their military experience. NSCC's Veterans Services supports the educational goals of veterans as they make use of their GI Bill education benefits. Staff assists in completing the necessary paperwork to ensure proper entitlement pay and also help guide veterans toward a variety of campus resources ranging from tutoring to career and personal counseling.


    How can I find out more about financial aid?
    The Student Financial Service Office can assist you with the financial aid process and reviewing your financial aid award.  There are several different types of funding that you could be eligible for such as grants, scholarships and/or student loans.  Also, there are payment plan options available each semester to help spread out the financing of the class tuition and fees.  However, the flight training fees cannot be included in the payment plans.  The flight fees will need to be paid in full by the published bill due date, or at the time of registration if after the due date.


    THE NATURE OF THE TRAINING

    Will I fly with just one instructor?
    At NSCC we suggest students usually stay with one instructor in order to keep continuity throughout the course of training. However, if a student wants to switch to a different instructor at any time for any reason, we make sure it happens. Learning to fly is a big commitment and we want to make sure students both continue learning, and enjoy their experience.  In most of the courses, students will have periodic stage checks with a stage check instructor to determine that he or she is making progress and advancing efficiently.  

    Can I watch another student fly from the back seat of the airplane?
    Observation flights are strongly encouraged for enrolled students. This is a valuable method of additional learning that savvy students take advantage of. Students are never charged for these observation flights. Observing another student's flights is easy - All you have to do is ask. Also, a student who has not yet enrolled in the program may still observe a flight to see what it's like. 

    Will I be using a flight simulator? 
    Flight Simulators, Flight Training Devices, and Advanced Aviation Training Devices (A.A.T D.s) are useful methods of reducing training costs for the student. They offer a method of simulating valuable scenarios from which students can learn, but in a more practical and manageable environment. Some courses in the Professional Pilot Program use the Redbird LD model A.A.T.D. 



     Beverly Flight Center's Advanced Aviation Training Device (Redbird LD model)


    TIMELINE, LOCATION, SCHEDULE, AND GETTING THERE

    How long does it take?
    The Professional Pilot Program is designed so that students can complete all coursework, including their Private Pilot Certificate, Instrument Rating, and Commercial Pilot Certificate in only four semesters (two years). Students who choose to take classes and fly during the summers can often complete the program in less time. 

    Can I fly during the summer?
    To help maximize scheduling flexibility for students, NSCC provides the option of continuing flight lessons during semester breaks (winter break, spring break, and holidays), and also during the summer. Although it is not required, it is recommended as a great way to catch up or get ahead with the flying portion of the curriculum. Flight instructors are always available during these times. 

    Where and when will I be flying?
    All flight instruction is conducted under 14CFR Part 61 by an appropriately rated FAA-certified flight instructor. These flight lessons are conducted at the NSCC-approved flight training facility, Beverly Flight Center, which is a short 12-minute drive (5 miles) from North Shore Community College's Danvers campus. The two weekly flight lessons (minimum) are scheduled around the student's availability as much as possible. This allows a great deal of flexibility for students who may have jobs or other obligations. 

    Where are the classroom courses held?
    Program courses are held at Beverly Flight Center and at the Danvers campus.

    What if I'm not available for classes during the day?
    Most of the program's courses are also available during nights, weekends, and online. However some of the courses are held only during business hours. Please note that all students are required to attend these day-only aviation courses for program completion. We have found that many students who work during the day or have other obligations are still able to attend the small amount of program courses held only during the day.

    Do I need my own transportation?
    Students are responsible for their own transportation to the NSCC Danvers campus, and also to Beverly Flight Center, which is located at Beverly Airport. NSCC does not provide transportation service to the airport. Aviation students often contact each other for possible ride sharing.

    How frequently should I expect to fly?
    Students are expected to commit to flying not fewer than two times each week. Additional flying is strongly encouraged. Beverly Flight Center is open throughout the year.

    Can I advance faster? 
    Flying more frequently increases proficiency, which results in faster training progress in less time and at less cost. Therefore students who fly more often than the minimum required two lessons per week often make better and faster progress in the program. 



    AFTER GRADUATION

    How much do professional pilots earn? 
    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for airline and commercial pilots is $98,410 per year. However the longer one remains at an airline, the more seniority one accrues, and the more his/her salary increases. For example, a 15-year captain flying a Boeing 777 Dreamliner for Federal Express gets paid $261.00 per hour. Some captains at major airlines make over $242,000 per year. 

    Can I transfer from NSCC to a four-year college?
    Transfer agreements have been established with several Bachelor degree programs such as Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Bridgewater State College. These agreements allow NSCC students to transfer flight certificates held and courses completed into many four-year institutions such as these. 

    Will there be pilot jobs available when I graduate? What is the hiring outlook? 
    Due to the pilot shortage and the large amount of pilot hiring currently in effect, this is one of the best times to start training to become a commercial pilot. The current pilot shortage benefits graduates greatly in their efforts to obtain successful piloting jobs. This shortage is forecast to continue through the year 2024. 

    What if I want to work as a flight instructor?
    Flight Instructor employment on Beverly Flight Center's staff is earned. However all NSCC graduates who then complete the flight instructor certificate will be considered. Beverly Flight Center has hired many previous program graduates as flight instructors. Once a graduate is hired, he or she would then provide flight instruction in order to accumulate the flight hours necessary for the next career step, which is usually application to an airline. 

    What are the benefits of working as a commercial pilot for an airline?  
    Commercial airline pilots enjoy free travel for themselves, their family, and their friends. They have more days off than the average worker, and therefore more free time. Since they can travel for free with family and friends, they often enjoy travelling on vacations. Many pilot jobs are also available locally for those who would rather not travel extensively, and who would rather be based locally. 

    Are there other flying jobs available besides flying for an airline?
    Yes. Some graduates choose other types of flying jobs after graduation. One advantage to this strategy is that many of these non-airline jobs are often obtainable sooner with less hours. There are an abundance of piloting jobs available in the fields of law enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Agency, firefighting, surveillance, fish spotting, parachute jump operations, scenic flights, forestry services, wildlife control, photography, aircraft sales demonstrations, test pilots, agricultural pilots, civil air patrol, banner towing, charter flights, test pilots, and military pilots.


    MISCELLANEOUS

    Do you have many international students in your program? 
    NSCC prides itself on the amount of students from other countries who enroll in its aviation program. At NSCC a number of resources are available to English Language Learners to help facilitate their transition. These include English Second Language classes, which are available at many levels. To be accepted into NSCC, all students must first pass a placement test which evaluates communications and mathematics ability.

    What is the difference between Part 61 and Part 141 training? 
    NSCC is an FAA-approved 14CFR Part 141 ground training provider, certified to conduct Part 141 ground training. Therefore all aviation ground school courses required for the program are conducted under Part 141, and are taught by NSCC faculty. Part 141 providers follow FAA-approved course outlines, meet quality-of-training standards and undergo regular FAA audits. This allows NSCC to provide a higher standard of delivery and quality control over our ground training program. NSCC works closely with the FAA to ensure that we are providing top quality training.

    Beverly Flight Center provides the program's flight training under 14CFR Part 61. By allowing students to fly under Part 61, the program attains maximum flexibility of scheduling, and prevents delays in training associated with strict adherence to lesson order that is required with Part 141 flight syllabi. 

    Is additional help available?
    Aviation Peer Mentors are dedicated Aviation Department tutors who provide both tutoring and mentoring to students in the Aviation Professional Pilot Program and the Aviation Management Program. The tutoring is supplemental for students requiring extra help. It is also occasionally required as part of the curriculum in order to help ensure student success. Students may access the Peer Mentors anytime for additional instruction. Supplemental flight simulator instruction is completed by Peer Mentors in NSCC's Redbird TD2 model Basic Aviation Training Device. Students may also access them for extra ground instruction, and for career guidance and program advising. Students are never charged for additional instruction or mentoring when it is provided by a Peer Mentor. 

    How can I get the most value from my flight training experience?
    This is probably the most important question and answer on this website. Manage your time effectively, and devote time to study and practice. Fly as frequently as possible and avoid pauses in your training whenever possible. An aggressive and continuous flight training schedule will save you time and money. Students learn quickly, especially in flight training. Most importantly, they get out of it what they put into it.

    How can I obtain more information?
    For more information about North Shore Community College's Aviation Professional Pilot Program or Aviation Management Program, please contact the Aviation Sciences Program Coordinator. 

    We look forward to helping you start a new career as an aviation manager or commercial pilot!








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