Maximize your GI Bill® Pilot Training Benefits


Florida State College at Jacksonville

Sunrise Aviation – Jacksonville


Learn to Fly VA Benefits

Did you know that both the academic tuition and the cost of flight training are covered by the Veteran’s Administration under the GI Bill®? This means, if you are a veteran and you want to attend a state college and are eligible for in-state tuition, the full amount of your tuition is paid. Any students that performed active duty after September 10, 2001 can actually receive even more funding.

The United States government understands that many veterans have a passion for flying and would love to get the training necessary to make commercial pilot  flying their new career path.  As part of the post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act, training to become a pilot is now much easier and more affordable. Instead of trying to take out loans and come up with the money on your own, nearly all of your training will be covered by your VA benefits.

**August 2016:  VA changes policy on flight training:  All flight training except Private will be covered by the VA.  Student pilots will be required to pay for Private out-of-pocket prior to the VA paying for Instrument, Commercial and higher.  Call 904-317-3875 for more details.

Florida State College at Jacksonville’s a two year Associate of Science degree program in Professional Pilot Technology.   Veterans enrolling in that degree program receive the maximum benefits allowable to pursue their ratings.  Veterans can also add the Multi-engine Rating and the Flight Instructor Certificate with Airplane Single-Engine using their Post 9/11 GI Bill® Benefits.

Why Veterans Should Choose a State College for Their Pilot Training

Starting a new career can be a bit scary, but as a former member of the military, you already possess many of the qualities needed to become a great pilot. If you have always dreamed of flying or you already love to fly, this is a great career path after your service to the United States. Veterans fit the mold of what most airlines and other flight organizations are looking for and this seems to be a perfect fit.

A large percentage of commercial airline pilots are veterans and airlines love hiring former military men and women. With the GI Bill covering nearly all the costs of your training, it only makes sense that you attend a state college and use your VA benefits to further your aviation and professional pilot career.

A logical first step would be that you, as a veteran, receive a VA Certificate of Eligibility, which will show you how much you can receive to help with the cost of flight training.  At the same time, you can begin the process of applying for admission at Florida State College at Jacksonville.  Admission is open to all High School grads or GED recipients but you must meet certain deadlines and get all required materials to the college in order to be admitted.

You should also realize that there are some expenses that the VA is likely not to cover.  Most veterans end up paying for the FAA Knowledge Tests and Practical Tests.  Over the full program, these expenses add up to nearly $2500 and can exceed that if you take all of the ratings available to you.  The benefits you are able to access through your Post 9/11 GI Bill®  could reach $60,000 or even more in just the flight training fees!

The aviation field is growing and veterans that successfully finish any pilot training program will have the opportunity to become part of this growth. Recent studies by the FAA and aircraft manufacturers indicate over 69,000 new pilots will be needed in North America between now and 2031.  The North American market is also now just a small part of the world-wide aviation scene where 460,000 new pilots are projected over that same period.

This is a competitive field and most will require a college degree, along with a commercial pilot license. Pending FAA policies will also increase the minimum number of flight hours required by pilots hired by the airlines.  Pilots trained in the military will have a distinct advantage when it comes to landing a job.  But future hiring for flight instructors is predicted to increase and spending time as a flight instructor can help you gain the necessary flight hours and experience needed to move into airlines or corporate aviation.  Flight Instructors are typically paid $25 to $35 per hour for flight and ground instruction.

Initial salaries at regional airlines are around $50,000 per year, so future airline pilots must plan accordingly.  You can expect your salary to increase about $10,000 per year as you gain seniority.  But wages increase with longevity and wages at the major airlines are significantly better.

If you need more information about using your VA benefits for college, you can contact a representative through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The staff at Florida State College Jacksonville And Sunrise Aviation are available to help you as well.  You can reach FSCJ’s Aviation Center of Excellence at (904)317-3875.

Here are some important websites for Veterans interested in FSCJ:

General information:  Click Here

Information on all FSCJ’s aviation programs:  Click Here

Specific information on the Professional Pilot Technology program: Click Here

College Enrollment information: Click Here

Veterans Center for Career Re-entry at the college: Click Here

Career Success Counselors at Cecil North campus: (904) 779-4050

Aviation Programs Manager at the college:

Sam Fischer (904) 317-3844

You can reach Sunrise Aviation by calling (904)317-3875 or emailing us at

The college and Sunrise Aviation have an Open House scheduled year-round on the second Tuesday of each month from 1700 to 1900.  Come join us for a presentation and hands-on look at our airplanes and simulators.

Sunrise Aviation is open seven days a week.  We are located at Cecil Airport in and near the FSCJ Aviation Center of Excellence which is located at 13450 Lake Fretwell St., Jacksonville.  You can find us either in FSCJ room J-109 (Building J).  You can also call Sunrise Aviation Dispatch at (904) 317-3875 from 0800 to 1700 most days including weekends.

Sunrise Aviation is the exclusive flight training partner for Florida State College at Jacksonville.


Florida State College Jacksonville Sunrise Aviation