The Associate Degree of Applied Science - Aeronautics is designed for the student interested in pursuing a career as a professional pilot. This would include working for the major airlines, corporate flight operations, and general aviation. The program prepares the beginning student to take their Private Pilot Certificate written exam, oral exam, and flight checkride. Upon completing their Private Pilot Certificate, the student proceeds on to add the Instrument Rating. This rating allows the student to fly by using the aircraft’s instruments and without visual ground references.

The student then begins preparation for the Commercial Pilot Certificate, which is divided into two ratings: single engine and multi engine. The Commercial Pilot Certificate allows the individual to act as pilot in command of an aircraft for compensation or hire. Additional ground classes such as Advanced Aerodynamics, Advanced Aircraft Systems, and Crew Resource Management help round out the prospective professional pilot. The student has the option to take elective substitute courses to earn a Commercial Pilot Certificate with MEL Rating and/or FAA Certified Flight Instructor Certificate.*

* Elective Course Substitutions

With prior approval from administration, a student may elect to earn a Commercial Pilot Certificate with MEL Rating with the following courses:  Commercial Pilot MEL Ground (PA 230) & Commercial MEL Flight (AV 230L).  The student also has the option to earn his or her FAACertified Flight Instructor License with the following courses: Certified Flight Instructor Ground (PA 240) & Certified Instructor Flight (PA 240L).  The student is responsible for any additional costs associated with elective course substitutions and additional ratings/licenses.

Upon completion of the program, the student should be able to:

  • Fly single engine or multi engine aircraft. Multi engine option available if student successfully completes the electives associated with the Commercial MEL Rating.
  • Conduct flights with passengers.
  • Understand aviation meteorological charts and interpret weather data associated with safe flight.
  • Work as a commercial pilot for compensation or hire.
  • Apply principles of aviation crew resource management.
  • Understand aircraft computer systems.
  • Think critically, both conceptually and by using mathematical analysis.
  • Use basic computer applications.
  • Offer the student the opportunity to earn an FAA Certified Flight Instructor Certificate. CFI option available if student successfully completes the electives associated with the Certified Flight Instructor Certificate.


Potential entry-level job titles include, but are not limited to: flight instructor, aerial photography and surveying, military, bush pilot/remote re-supply, pipeline and transmission line patrol, recreation/sight-seeing pilot, police and traffic control, research and development, test flight, airplane sales/demonstration.  The CFI allows you to give instruction to private and commercial student pilots as well as the ability to perform biennial flight reviews.

Admissions/Enrollment Requirements

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Age 16 to fly solo; age 17 to earn Private Pilot Certificate; and age 18 to earn Commercial Pilot Certificate
  • Current government-issued photo ID
  • Birth certificate or current passport
  • Student Pilot Certificate
  • Current first class FAA medical certificate 

Graduation Requirements

Per the FAA regulations for Part 141, the minimum hours of flight training and academic courses must be met. The FAA makes no exceptions for meeting the set standards. American Winds requires a minimum of 90.0 credit hours for graduation from the Aeronautics Program; all courses are required.  All academic programs and flight training are graded in accordance with AW’s “Grading & Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.”  Students must successfully pass all FAA Standard Tests (written and oral exams, check rides, etc.). 

Credentials Awarded

  • Associate Degree of Applied Science in Aeronautics
  • FAA Private & Commercial SEL OR MEL Certificates with Instrument Rating*
  • FAA Certified Flight Instructor* OR FAA Certified Flight Instrument Instructor Certificate*

      * Dependent upon successful completion of elective course substitutions.