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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:

  • Assessments
  • Virtual behavioral interview
  • Conditional acceptance
  • Submit your application – Complete a brief online application with basic information about yourself
  • 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.
  • Virtual behavioral interview 
    • For those applying without a Private Pilot License (PPL), we are conducting virtual behavioral interviews via MS Teams before your class placement.
    • For those applying with a PPL, you will submit an application and there will be an in-person interview as part of the selection process into United Aviate Academy and the Aviate program. 
  • 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 (preferred) — 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 
      • For those applying without a Private Pilot License (PPL), a valid FAA medical certificate is 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.
      • For those with a PPL, a valid FAA medical certificate that was originally issued as a first class medical certificate is required to apply
    • 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 — 2 months

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

Our state-of-the-art, 340,000 square-foot facility at Phoenix Goodyear Airport provides aspiring pilots with industry-leading resources, equipment and accommodations. The facility is one of only three aviation training campuses in the U.S.

Once you get your Private Pilot License, you're ready for a final review to ensure you have maintained certain standards in order to be accepted into Aviate, United's industry-leading pilot development program.


Step 3 Aviate acceptance

Now you're ready for a final review to ensure you have maintained certain standards in order to be accepted into Aviate, the most innovative pilot career development program in the industry.

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

  • Growing pipeline of talent. United aims to hire up to 24% of the Aviate transition list each year at each participating United Express (UAX) carrier
  • A simple, direct path. Aviate participants can 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 United destinations around the world
  • Coaching. Aviate participants will have the opportunity to participate in a coaching program and receive mentorship from United pilots
  • Culture. You'll gain deeper connections with our United team, with access to senior leadership, site visits and tours, and an inside look at our inclusive culture

Step 4 Finish your pilot training — 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. While timing may vary, general timelines are:

  • 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 Build toward your ATP certification — 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 where you’ll have the opportunity to gain valuable experience instructing as a CFI at United Aviate Academy or at one of Aviate’s partner schools and Part 135 operators.

Partner universities

Auburn University Delaware State University Elizabeth City State University Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Florida Tech Hampton University Kent State University Louisiana Tech University The Ohio State University Purdue University Southern Illinois University University of North Dakota Western Michigan University

Partner flight schools

ATP Cornerstone Aviation Epic Flight Academy Lufthansa Aviation Training Phoenix East Aviation Skyborne Airline Academy US Aviation Academy

Part 135 operators

Ameriflight JSX Wiggins Airways

While we have many quality partners where you can work toward building your ATP, you can also work as a commercial pilot at another operator, instruct at your local airport, or build hours in any other manner that you would like.


Step 6 Congrats, pilot! Start flying for United Express

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
  • When a First Officer position opens with United and you’re at the top of the priority list, you’ll receive a class date at United
  • Once you join United as a First Officer, begin your dream career toward the left seat in the flight deck as a United Captain

Ready to start?

Apply now

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. Explore 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. Explore 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 will be conducting a virtual behavioral interview with one of our team members via MS Teams before class placement.

To determine an applicant’s 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.

You will be notified via email if your application isn’t accepted, 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 scholarship partners:the Latino Pilots Association, National Gay Pilots Association, the Organization of Black Aerospace ProfessionalsProfessional Asian Pilots Association, Sisters of the Skies and Women in Aviation International.

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 our partner organizations (  the Latino Pilots Association, National Gay Pilots Association, the Organization of Black Aerospace ProfessionalsProfessional Asian Pilots Association, Sisters of the Skies and Women in Aviation International) 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 ZuntaFi and 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 are filling classes on a rolling basis.

Your conditional acceptance into the United Aviate Academy is good for 4 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 Goodyear, Arizona. Our address is:

Phoenix Goodyear Airport
1658 S. Litchfield Rd. #104
Goodyear, AZ 85338

Full details about our facilities, housing, transportation, and the area can be found on our locations page.

Training program/curriculum

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

  • 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

To get you acclimated to the professional pilot lifestyle, we will run UAA on the same schedule as the United Airlines Flight Training Center, which means training could happen any day of the week and there are no extended holiday breaks. Our goal is to provide you world class training as quickly as we can, so you can begin your path to United without delay.

However, at United Aviate Academy we do observe the following federal holidays: News Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving (optional) and Christmas Day.

United Aviate Academy will operate a fleet of single engine Cirrus SR20 aircraft and a twin-engine fleet of Piper Seminoles. The Cirrus aircraft are air conditioned; the Piper aircraft are not.

Ready to start?

Apply now

United Aviate Academy


Phoenix Goodyear Airport
1658 S. Litchfield Rd. #104
Goodyear, AZ 85338

We're currently not offering in-person tours, but you can take a virtual tour of the United Aviate Academy campus.

Any questions?

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

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