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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
  • 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
  • Video interview – Add some color to your application by recording answers to interview questions
  • Assessments – Take a series of online assessments so we can learn about you — your strengths, your thinking style and how you prefer to work
  • Conditional acceptance – Celebrate the first milestone in your pilot career — conditional acceptance into United Aviate Academy. The conditions are:
    • Achieve the required score on the FAA knowledge test — study for the FAA knowledge test using a free prep kit we’ll provide
    • Obtain a FAA First Class Medical certificate — required before starting training
    • 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

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, we launched major initiatives to help get you one step closer to flying the friendly skies.

We pay for your Private Pilot License

If you don't have a Private Pilot License (PPL) and are accepted into United Aviate Academy, we'll cover the cost (~$17,750 value).

United is partnering with these organization to offer you scholarships:
These scholarships were made possible by $2.4M in generous contributions from:

In addition, loans will be available from our loan partner, Sallie Mae. Details will be forthcoming.

Financial aid is available exclusively for students at United Aviate Academy. You’ll be able to apply for scholarships and loans once you are accepted.

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. 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 FlightSafety Academy Hillsboro Aero Academy Lufthansa Aviation Training US Aviation Academy

Part 135 operators

Ameriflight Boutique Air

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

The United Aviate Academy experience


United Aviate Academy is located at the Deer Valley Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. With a radar-equipped control tower, multiple instrument approaches and two parallel runways, the Deer Valley Airport is an ideal location for flight training. Additionally, more than a dozen airports within 35 miles are utilized to enhance student training flights.

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.

Yes! Please contact us using our contact form at the bottom of the page for tour inquiries.

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.


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.


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.


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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