As an aspiring aviator, there are many paths that can get you to your dream of becoming a pilot. The important first steps are for you to research the options and decide which path is right for your timeline, finances and goals. The fact that you found BogiDope and this eCourse is a testament to your hunger for knowledge and resources.

For students aged eight- to seventeen-years old, you can begin by taking a discovery flight with the Young Eagles and/or join the Civil Air Patrol for a meaningful way to serve your country at an early age while earning your private pilot certificate! More information about these programs can be found in the section “Charitable Organizations/Volunteer Opportunities.”

For opportunities to pursue, in addition to the options above, and for advancing beyond those programs please see below.

AIM HIGH Flight Academy 

The USAF recently launched a program called the AIM HIGH Flight Academy. It is a free, three-week course offered by the Air Force Recruiting Service. The AIM HIGH Flight Academy is a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-based, aviation-focused, motivation and mentorship program designed to increase diversity in the aviation career field. To be eligible, students must be between the ages of 16-23, in high school or full-time college students in the ROTC, the Air Guard or Reserve, or in the Air Force Academy. During the three-week course, the students will learn to fly and earn a certificate of completion for a beginner-pilot level. To find out more information and how to apply visit the website here.

Pathway to Wings

There are many ways to pursue a career as a military aviator, such as ROTC, attending a military academy, Officer Training School and other avenues that are discussed in the videos above. These videos focus heavily on the Air Force, but you can find information about other branches in various BogiDope articles on the website and by clicking on the following links: Navy and Marine Corps Aviation, Army Aviation, Air Force Academy

Aside from attending the ROTC or a military academy, another pathway that many people choose is to enlist in any one of the military branches in a field that interests them and that translates well into a career in aviation. These include Air Traffic Control, maintenance, load master, boom operator, etc. While enlisted, take advantage of the benefits that the military offers such as the GI Bill and DOD COOL program to help fund college and your private pilot certificate. More information about these programs is detailed in a coming lesson (Enlisted Career Advancement Programs). If you wish to become a pilot in the military, you must be an officer which requires a four-year degree (unless you become a Warrant Officer in the Army. For more information about this check out the BogiDope articles that cover this topic).

After obtaining your four-year degree, you are then eligible to apply for officer positions in the active-duty armed forces, Guard or Reserves. To be competitive for Guard/Reserve slots in the Air Force, you must obtain a private pilot certificate and network with squadrons. As mentioned above, there are military programs that can be used to help fund this certificate. Also, take advantage of your position as an enlisted military member throughout your service commitment. Work hard. Impress your coworkers and network, network, network. This is the perfect place to learn on-the-job skills and make the connections needed for stellar letters of recommendation from your superiors and peers. Additionally, this is a perfect time for you to start rushing squadrons and making contact with people who can help you land that dream pilot position once your enlisted commitment is complete.

Once you are commissioned as an officer, the next step will be to attend flight training in one of the military branches. In the Air Force, the traditional Undergraduate Pilot Training pipeline has undergone a lot of changes in the last two years. For a detailed BogiDope article about some of the changes, and to learn more, click here. For another informative article on the topic, click here. Also, the AFRC UPT guidebook can be accessed and provides detailed information on the Civil Path to Wings, traditional UPT, and UPT 2.5. Also, check out the videos below to learn more about these pathways and UPT Next.

For more information about different military pathways to Wings, check out the wide array of  BogiDope articles and other eCourses that cover these topics and more. The team at BogiDope puts a lot of love and effort into creating these resources so that we can equip you with all the tools you need for success in your dream career! Please take advantage of these opportunities and never hesitate to reach out to one of our BogiDope coaches to schedule a general strategy session and more!