Aviation Institute trains students for lucrative career

Doris Pace

South Bureau Chief


A quick search on Indeed.com revealed that a commercial pilot for United Airlines makes an average salary of $195,935 per year. There’s no doubt that a high salary would be paid to pilots and others in the aviation industry when there is a worldwide shortage of skilled people to fill these positions.

By now you should be asking yourself how can I become a pilot? How can I become a part of this industry? Here is your answer. At the Emil Buehler Aviation Institute at Broward College. The institute located on Broward College South Campus has an excellent, all-inclusive aviation program where you can choose to pursue a Bachelor’s of Science in Aerospace Sciences or any of three associate degrees or five certificate programs.

The Bachelor’s of Science degree is a newly developed path that debuted fall 2017. According to the college’s press release, the program is tailored “for students seeking to study pilot and aviation management.” There are two tracks you can choose from – professional pilot or aerospace management.

Choosing to pursue aviation in this institute means you are choosing to train and learn from unique personnel. The facility works directly with Phoenix East Aviation (PEA) as the pilot training provider. Martin Prada, a graduate of the institute turned instructor, is now passing on his knowledge and love for the industry after graduating from the program and being hired by PEA.

Prada makes it clear that professionalism, passion and preparing students for a direct transition after training are top priorities of the institution. “The student is able to obtain all the licenses required by the FAA …and be prepared for the professional world…It starts with ground lesson number one…we introduce them to aeronautical decision making which is the systematic approach and mental process to determine the best course of action and from there on we teach the systems.”

The program takes anywhere from one to two years. Upon graduation, you have used flight simulators and have trained both on ground and in the air. The college is dedicated to creating well rounded pilots. “We have to learn about the systems of the aircraft, how the components work…When you’re flying you have to make sure you have the big picture. We want to train a pilot that’s a professional…and not caught off guard” said Prada.

Aside from training to be a pilot, you can also pursue an associate’s degree in aviation administration, professional pilot technology and aviation management technology.

There are also certificate programs that train you in airport management, avionics, aircraft airframe mechanics, aircraft power plant mechanics and commercial flight operations.

No matter which path you choose you will be working hands on with trained professionals in an environment that is set to resemble real life scenarios. The North Perry Airport is home to the institute and allows students to work with small aircraft as well as professional aircraft such as a helicopter donated by the Cost Guard and a large commercial plane donated by FedEx.

Students learning about the mechanical aspects of aviation have a dedicated hanger where they take apart engines and rebuild them as well as building parts of aircraft on site.

Ivan Iglesias, a student, shared what he likes best about the program. “Everything is about passion and discipline. I like the professionalism,” said Iglesias.

Luisa Mejia, also a student at the institute, shared her advice for anyone considering becoming a pilot. “You have to be dedicated… to learn how to control an airplane.”

A conversation with the Dean of Transportation Programs, Russell McCaffery, revealed that by completion, a large portion of students have already received job offers and by working closely with the career center, students can easily transition in paid positions when leaving the program.

The Emil Buehler Aviation Institute is a unique facility that prepares students for a job in the aviation industry which in Broward County alone is a multi-billion-dollar industry. Here you can pursue a passion for flying or mechanics and you will find this is the only facility that provides training to the public in Broward County.

For more information, visit the Broward College website at http://www.broward.edu/academics/programs/aviation/Pages/default.aspx

photo caption: One of the planes for BC’s Aviation Institute. Sades Hart/The Observer

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