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Aeronautics - Pilot Training

Program Requirements: 

The Aeronautics - Pilot Training degree program at Gateway Technical College will prepare students for an exciting career in aviation as a professional pilot able to work in a variety of settings including airlines, corporations, flight training companies, law enforcement, state and federal agencies, and other transportation companies. Students benefit from both highly trained instructors and quality program equipment. The program faculty are FAA certified flight instructors and many have worked as professional pilots bringing valuable, real world experience to the classroom. Program equipment includes aircraft with the latest in GPS navigation equipment and aircraft management systems. In addition, classroom instruction includes work with flight simulators that mimic airplane equipment.

What does an Airplane Pilot do?

Graduates will be qualified for a number of different opportunities including airline pilot, commercial pilot and flight instructor. The typical Gateway graduate will start out as a flight instructor, which will allow for additional flight hours and experience, without having to pay for flight time. Continued growth in the economy, combined with large numbers of retirements in the airlines, should translate to available entry-level opportunities in the airlines as well. Each airline requires a different amount of flight hours to be hired as an airline pilot.

Learning by doing

Gateway Technical College’s Aeronautics - Pilot Training degree program utilizes the Frasca TruFlite flight training device–giving students a true simulation of flight before stepping into a plane. The unit trains students in the latest in avionics, including digital flight instrumentation, 180-degree visuals, and scenario-based training to prompt students to take their plane from and to actual airports. The device provides instructors with many ways to teach students how to properly pilot a plane. Gateway’s Horizon Center for Transportation Technology is located adjacent to Kenosha Airport property with easy access to the airport runways. As students’ progress through the program, they’ll start in a single engine aircraft to get their Private Pilot Certificate and will immediately move to a multi-engine aircraft. This rapid progression to advanced aircraft enables students to accumulate approximately 100 hours of multi-engine flight time by graduation. This positions Gateway’s graduates ahead of others in the job market. The Aeronautics - Pilot Training program at Gateway is FAA Part 141 certified. The program has “approved school” status for its private pilot through flight instructor programs. This means that graduates are able to accomplish certificates and ratings in fewer flight hours, which translates to lower cost.

Job and salary outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the aircraft pilot profession is expected to grow about 11 percent through 2020. The potential income of aircraft pilots varies greatly depending whether they work as airline or commercial pilots. Earnings also depend on factors such as rank, seniority, and the size and type of aircraft flown. In 2010, a median annual salary of airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers was $103,210. For commercial pilots, the median annual salary in 2010 was $67,500.

Certification and Licensing

Required courses and electives prepare students to obtain a commercial pilot certificate with single engine, multiengine, and instrument ratings as well as flight instructor certificate with single engine, multiengine, and instrument ratings.

To become a private pilot, students will undergo a four stage exam and final at Gateway. Once a student has passed all the exams they will then be prepared to take an off-site FAA exam. Once a student has passed the exam he or she is a certified private pilot.

Additional Requirements

This program has a second-tier admission process for clinical/practicum/program courses called petitioning.  Students are selected based on completion of academic eligibility requirements and district residency.  See "What is Petitioning?" for additional information.


Horizon Center
Desmar McDuffie


Horizon Center
Craig Larson

Program Administration

Ray Koukari, Interim Dean