Aviation Program FAQs

How long are the classes?

Each semester is approximately 16 weeks long.

Lab classes have a required amount of flight time. This will be subject to scheduling with aircraft, student preparation to complete the labs, and weather conditions are safe for flying.

Are the classes during the day or in the evening?

Classes are offered based on student needs and will include evening hours.

Will some courses be online?

All general education courses are available online as well as in the classroom.  Some aviation classes will likely be offered online and/or hybrid.

Lab courses will not be offered online.

Where are classes held? Airport? RCTC?

Flight labs will be conducted at the Rochester International Airport through Great Planes Aviation.

All non­-flight aviation classes will be taught by RCTC instructors at the RCTC Campus or online.

Are there any special admission requirements for this major?

After a student applies to RCTC, several special items are needed:

  • All Aviation Pilot Program students must pass a First-Class FAA Medical (flight physical) with an FAA -designated Aviation Medical Examiner (AME).
  • Before beginning flight labs, RCTC aviation instructors will work with students to request/receive a Student Pilot Certificate.
  • A valid driver’s license is required.
  • The Department of Homeland Security requires certain documents for pilots. Students will need:
    • a valid driver’s license AND original birth certificate with raised seal OR
    • a valid, unexpired United States Passport for Transportation Security Administration verification purposes.
  • Non­-US citizens are not currently being considered for this program.

Are international students eligible for this program?

Non-US citizens are not currently being considered for this program.

What are the lab components?

Flight labs are conducted at Great Planes Aviation, 7300 Brataas Drive SW (at the Rochester International Airport).

Flight costs are based on the number of hours needed to meet the FAA requirements. Conclusion of the flight lab requires completion of the final FAA check ride for that particular FAA certification. The cost of each exam is included with the cost of the appropriate flight lab.

Do students begin flying immediately after enrolling in the aviation program?

Yes! Students will be in a plane within the first three weeks of classes. RCTC wants students to begin flight training as soon as possible so they can complete their degree in two years.

What degree will a student complete?

The student will complete an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Aviation Pilot.

How long does the entire degree take?

A focused student can complete this degree, including required lab time and flight time, in two years.

How much does this program cost?

See the complete explanation of costs, fees, and financial aid information related to this program.

Is this program covered by the GI Bill?

Currently, the Aviation Pilot Program does NOT qualify for the GI Bill. However, the GI Bill will pay for the general education classes of a veteran majoring in Liberal Arts and Sciences but NOT a veteran majoring in Aviation. Once the student veteran declares Aviation as their major, the student can no longer use the GI Bill for the Aviation Pilot program. Please contact RCTC’s Veterans Services for more information.

Are scholarships available?

Yes! Please visit our Scholarships page for more information.

What college credit can transfer?

Rochester Community and Technical College’s Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Aviation Pilot is designed to transfer to Minnesota State University, Mankato, Bachelor of Science (BS) in Aviation.

Can students test out of any courses?

Prior flight experience will be evaluated and may result in advanced standing in flight labs.  Students are responsible for fees associated with the evaluation. This evaluation is not eligible for financial aid reimbursement.

While logged flight hours never expire, Part 141 accredited time will have to be evaluated on a case­-by-­case basis.

How many people are in each class?

Non­-flight courses taught by RCTC faculty are capped at 24 students. General education courses may vary in class size.

Lab classes are one­-on-­one, taught by Great Planes Aviation.

Do students need their own computers?

Students are required to have a tablet (iPad preferred) or laptop. Computers and the Internet are used extensively in the aviation industry.  Computer costs are not be covered by financial aid up front, but any overage of financial aid can be used in the purchase of the item.

Is this program PSEO eligible?

Yes, all aviation courses except for ground and flight labs are PSEO eligible. However, if a PSEO student chooses to take a ground or flight lab course, the student is responsible for payment of all tuition costs and fees associated with the course. Please speak with your high school counselor about our course offerings and how to apply.

Who can I contact for more information?

Samantha Schendzielos, Program Advisor

SS 135 • samantha.schendzielos@rctc.edu • 507-285-7469