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United Aviate Academy

Do you dream of a career of boundless horizons where the sky is literally the limit? Are you driven for a life of adventure and a strong financial future? If your goal is to fly for United but don't have flight experience, this is the place to start.

Getting admitted to United Aviate Academy

You're eligible to apply for United Aviate Academy if you:

  • Are at least 18 years old
  • Are a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (we do not sponsor foreign visas)
  • Have a high school diploma or GED equivalent

What's next after you apply:

  • Video interview
  • Assessments
  • Conditional acceptance
  • Submit your application – Complete a brief online application with basic information about yourself
  • The interview – Add some color to your application by recording answers to interview questions.
    • For those applying without a Private Pilot License (PPL), we are conducting pre-recorded video interviews via a tool called Modern Hire. Candidates who pass the initial application will receive a link to complete their video interviews and submit within seven days.
    • For those applying with a PPL, you will submit an application via Airline Apps and there will be an in-person interview as part of the selection process into United Aviate Academy and the Aviate program. 
  • Assessments – Take a series of online assessments so we can learn about you — your strengths, your thinking style and how you prefer to work. We do not share specific information about the assessments.
  • Conditional acceptance – Celebrate the first milestone in your pilot career — conditional acceptance into United Aviate Academy. The conditions are: 
    • Achieve a score of at least 80% on the FAA knowledge test — we’ll provide a free test prep kit for you to study once you have been accepted into United Aviate Academy.
      • You must register with the FAA before you can take any FAA exams. You can find detailed instructions for registration here.  After registering with the FAA and obtaining an FAA Tracking Number (FTN), you will be able to schedule your FAA exam through PSI.
      • Applicants with a PPL are exempt from this requirement
    • Hold a valid FAA medical certificate that was originally issued as a first class medical certificate — required before starting training. 
      • To get an FAA first class medical certificate, an FAA-designated Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) must examine you. You must contact an AME of your choosing, schedule an appointment, complete an official FAA application form via MedXPress, and undergo a physical examination by an AME. If you meet the appropriate medical standards, the AME will issue you a medical certificate. This Q&A page on the FAA website has more information and resources.
    • Pass background checks
    • Pass a drug screen
    • Provide physical proof of U.S. citizenship in the form of 1) a valid U.S. passport OR 2) an original or certified copy of your birth certificate along with a government-issued photo ID.
    • Provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination

Apply now

Once you're accepted:

Your path through Aviate from United Aviate Academy to United pilot


Step 1 Fund your training

Program costs and financial assistance

Program costs

  • Private pilot training – $17,750 FREE
  • Instrument rating – $18,250
  • Commercial SE initial – $26,000
  • Commercial ME add-on – $7,500
  • Certified flight instructor – $7,500
  • Certified flight instructor (instrument) – $5,500
  • Multi engine flight instructor – $6,500
  • Total – $89,000 $71,250

Costs shouldn’t be a barrier

We want to ensure a career as a pilot for United is possible for the best candidates, regardless of financial background. As part of our commitment to removing barriers, United and Chase will provide $2.4M in scholarships. And if you don't have a Private Pilot License (PPL), we'll cover the cost (~$17,750 value).

Applying for scholarships and loans

Step 2 Start your training

Go from zero flight hours to getting your Private Pilot License in two months

At United Aviate Academy, we provide the best flight training to prepare you for a safe and successful career as a pilot at United. It is designed solely for applicants with little to no piloting experience, and the full course takes about a year to complete. You will be expected to commit to a full-time intensive course of study and flight activity a minimum of 5 days a week. Our innovative training program integrates:

  • Computer-based instruction
  • Ground training
  • Aircraft flight training

Once you get your Private Pilot License, you’re ready to interview for Aviate, United's industry-leading pilot career development program.


Step 3 Interview for Aviate

Now you're ready to interview for Aviate, the most innovative pilot career development program in the industry.

When you join Aviate, you’ll gain access to:

  • A direct path to United — Aviate participants transition to United as a First Officer upon successful completion of the Aviate program and hiring requirements
  • Travel privileges — Aviate participants enjoy travel privileges to hundreds of United destinations
  • Coaching — Aviate participants are paired with United pilots, creating a structured format for critical leadership and career development
  • Development events and programs — Aviate participants are provided a breadth of resources to learn and grow throughout Aviate

Step 4 Finish your pilot training in 10 months

Congratulations! At this step, you have now been accepted into the Aviate program. To fly for United, you’ll need to complete your flight training and earn your ratings and certificates:

  • Instrument rating – 2 months
  • Commercial SE initial – 3 months
  • Commercial ME add-on – 1 month
  • Certified flight instructor – 2 months
  • Certified flight instructor (instrument) – 1 month
  • Multi engine flight instructor – 1 month

Step 5 Join an Aviate partner and build your flight hours — 18 months

Great news — you've officially completed your flight training at United Aviate Academy. What’s next? You’ll need to work toward your ATP hour requirement and gain valuable experience instructing as a CFI at United Aviate Academy or one of our Aviate partner schools, or as a commercial pilot at one of our Part 135 operators.

Partner universities

Elizabeth City State University Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Florida Tech University of North Dakota Western Michigan University

Partner flight schools

ATP Hillsboro Aero Academy Lufthansa Aviation Training US Aviation Academy

Part 135 operators

Ameriflight Boutique Air Wiggins Airways

Step 6 Congrats, pilot! Start flying for United Express — 2 years

Gain invaluable experience flying with one of our United Express Aviate partners, which include:

Air Wisconsin - Airlines CommutAir GoJet Airlines Mesa Airlines

Build your credentials: minimum service requirements of 24 months and 2,000 flight hours for First Officers, or 1,500 flight hours for Captains, with a United Express Aviate partner.


Step 7 And finally, transition to a pilot career for United Airlines

  • Once you complete your minimum transition requirements with United Express, you’ll be eligible to transition to United as a First Officer
  • You are also required to have a bachelor’s degree by the time you transition unless you receive an exemption from United
  • When a First Officer position opens with United and you’re at the top of the priority list, you’ll receive a job offer
  • Once you join United as a First Officer, begin your dream career toward the left seat in the flight deck as a United Captain

Frequently asked questions

Eligibility

You must be at least 18 years old at time of enrollment. There is no maximum age to enroll in the Academy, however, the Federal Aviation Administration does mandate that United pilots retire at age 65.

To be eligible for United Aviate Academy, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. We do not sponsor foreign visas for United Aviate Academy.

The United Aviate Academy is designed for applicants with little to no piloting experience. Any applicants with more than a Private Pilot License (PPL) will receive credit for their PPL but will be required to complete the curriculum at United Aviate Academy for any ratings beyond a PPL. Another check ride for ratings already earned would not be required. other entry points into the Aviate career pathway program.

The United Aviate Academy is designed for applicants with little to no piloting experience. Any applicants with more than a Private Pilot License (PPL) will receive credit for their PPL but will be required to complete the curriculum at United Aviate Academy for any ratings beyond a PPL. Another check ride for ratings already earned would not be required. other entry points into the Aviate career pathway program.

Application process/assessments

Full details about eligibility, assessments, admissions, tuition, scholarships and more are outlined in the Admissions and program details. Clicking the "Apply now" button on the page will start your application process.

For applicants without a PPL, we are conducting pre-recorded video interviews via a tool called Modern Hire. Candidates who pass the initial application will receive a link to complete their video interviews and submit within seven days. For applicants without a PPL, there is no in person interview for the United Aviate Academy at this time. Those applicants with a PPL who are selected to move forward will be invited for an in person interview in Denver.

To determine applicants’ likelihood of success in training and as a pilot at United, the United Aviate Academy uses a series of assessments to better understand personalities, skills and fit with the United culture. We are not sharing specific information about the assessments at this time.

To get an FAA first class medical certificate, an FAA-designated Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) must examine you. You must contact an AME of your choosing, schedule an appointment, complete an official FAA application form via MedXPress, and undergo a physical examination by an AME. If you meet the appropriate medical standards, the AME will issue you a medical certificate.

This Q&A page on the FAA website has more information and resources.

You must register with the FAA before you can take any FAA exams. You can find detailed instructions for registration here. After registering with the FAA and obtaining an FAA Tracking Number (FTN), you will be able to schedule your FAA exam through PSI.

Due to the volume of applications we have received, we are unable to provide specific updates on application status. Please continue to look for updates from us via the email you provided in your application.

If your application isn’t accepted, you will be notified via email but we are unable to provide specific feedback on why certain applicants were not successful. However, your Aviate journey doesn’t have to end here. If you are still interested in joining Aviate, please visit the Aviate career selector to learn more about other places to pursue your training that would provide entry points into the program. If you would like to explore other opportunities within United, please visit the United careers page.

Scholarships and loans

Acceptance into United Aviate Academy is a prerequisite for scholarship applicants, so the first step is applying for admission. After you're accepted into United Aviate Academy, you will have the option of applying for scholarships through our four scholarship partners: Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, Sisters of the Skies, the Latino Pilots Association and the Professional Asian Pilots Association.

The program will include both full and partial scholarships.

Anyone accepted into United Aviate Academy has the option of applying for scholarships, regardless of race or gender identity. The scholarship funds are distributed through four partner organizations (the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, Sisters of the Skies, the Latino Pilots Association and the Professional Asian Pilots Association) and anyone can apply, though each organization may have certain requirements that applicants need to meet in order to be eligible (such as membership in the organization).

United Aviate Academy has partnered with Sallie Mae to offer loans to students to cover the cost of tuition and fees. After you're accepted into United Aviate Academy, you will have the option of applying for the loan.

  • Private pilot training – $17,750 FREE
  • Instrument rating – $18,250
  • Commercial SE initial – $26,000
  • Commercial ME add-on – $7,500
  • Certified flight instructor – $7,500
  • Certified flight instructor (instrument) – $5,500
  • Multi engine flight instructor – $6,500
  • Total – $89,000 $71,250

Scheduling a class

We will provide available class dates to those applicants who have received a conditional acceptance and fulfilled the requirements of that acceptance. Classes will be filled well in advance to provide sufficient time for students to make their arrangements in the Phoenix area. Currently we are working on filling classes in the third quarter of 2021.

Your conditional acceptance into the United Aviate Academy is good for 6 months. You will have that long to complete the conditions (e.g., pass the FAA knowledge test) and secure a class date.

Location

United Aviate Academy is located in Phoenix, Arizona.

The diverse nature of the terrain found in the southwestern United States enables students to experience a wide variety of flight conditions including coastal flying, mountain flying, instrument meteorological conditions and high density altitude flying. The volume of local air traffic and superb year-round weather make the Phoenix valley an excellent location for flight training.

We are not currently offering tours of the facility. We may resume tours in the future so please subscribe below for updates.

The Phoenix area offers student pilots a wide variety of airspace to train. Students will gain experience flying in controlled, uncontrolled and special use airspace. There are dozens of small to medium sized airports in the area with many instrument approaches. Additionally, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is typically among the top ten busiest airports in the United States, offering our students experience operating in a high-density traffic environment later in their program while learning the basics at a smaller regional airport.

Arizona has five climate zones that range from alpine (yes, Arizona has skiing) to low arid desert and three zones in between. Phoenix is located in the Sonoran Desert and gets about seven inches of rainfall per year. There’s a reason why aviators from all around the world come to Arizona. It’s the weather. Daily temperatures run from the 60s in the winter to the 100s in the summer.

Housing/transportation

Students accepted into United Aviate Academy will need to relocate to Phoenix, AZ for the duration of their flight training. We encourage applicants to wait before making any final housing plans until receiving a class date. We will work with admitted students to select a date to start training and will ensure you have adequate notice before needing to secure housing and relocate.

Many United Aviate Academy students live at Aspire Pinnacle Peak. This modern and well-appointed apartment complex is conveniently located a few miles northwest of Deer Valley Airport and within walking distance of The Shops at Norterra.

To see lease options, please visit  aspirepinnaclepeak.com. Students are not required to live at Aspire and may choose one of the many other nearby residential locations.

Some students would like to find a roommate while attending United Aviate Academy. Though matching students with a roommate is not a guarantee, Student Services is happy to assist you with finding a good fit and possible options.

United Aviate Academy offers shuttle services to and from Aspire Pinnacle Peak Apartments and the school. These shuttles run on an hourly basis during United Aviate Academy’s hours of operation. If you choose to reside elsewhere, you will be responsible for your own transportation services.

For additional transportation, most students choose to utilize Uber or Lyft.

There are many moving pieces when it comes to moving from one state to another. Please see the cost-of-living calculator to get a good idea of how to financially plan during your stay in Phoenix.

Training program/curriculum

The full course takes about a year to complete. While timing may vary, general timelines are below:

  • Private pilot training – 2 months
  • Instrument rating – 2 months
  • Commercial SE initial – 3 months
  • Commercial ME add-on – 1 month
  • Certified flight instructor – 2 months
  • Certified flight instructor (instrument) – 1 month
  • Multi engine flight instructor – 1 month

Activities

In addition to being the premier location for flight training in the world, Phoenix is a world-class tourist destination. As such, there are unlimited opportunities for recreational activities. The following are a few suggestions and resources for finding fun things to do when you are not flying or studying:

Things to do in Phoenix, AZ

There is a wide variety of things to do in the Phoenix area.

Hiking

There are trails suited for every skill level within a short drive from the United Aviate Academy campus.

Sightseeing & guided tours

A variety of tours are available for outdoor enthusiasts. Professional outfitters are happy to put adventurous sightseers in the saddle of a horse, the seat of a Jeep or the basket of a hot-air balloon.

Gardens, parks & zoos

Visit the Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix Zoo or the Phoenix Mountains Preserve to see the true Sonoran Desert.

Phoenix sports

Phoenix is the proud home of four major professional sports leagues: The NFL's Arizona Cardinals, NBA's Phoenix Suns, MLB's Arizona Diamondbacks and NHL's Arizona Coyotes.

The Phoenix Suns Arena is also home to the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and the Indoor Football League’s Arizona Rattlers. Local soccer fans have a hometown team to root for with the USL's Phoenix Rising FC.

If you like sports, Phoenix hosts major sporting events every year, including college football's Fiesta Bowl and Cactus Bowl; the PGA Tour’s highest-attended event, the Waste Management Phoenix Open; NASCAR events each spring and fall; and Cactus League Spring Training, where fans can see the biggest names in the MLB up close as 15 teams train and play.

Golfing in Phoenix

The Greater Phoenix area is known as one of the top destinations for golf.

Phoenix arts & culture

Phoenix enjoys a rich environment of arts and culture with performances to attend at a variety of theaters, concert halls and cultural centers, along with several excellent art and history museums.

Any questions?

We’re here to address any questions you may have. Please provide your information and question in the space provided, and we’ll get back to you soon.

If you have questions on the Aviate program that are not academy-related, please use our main contact form.

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