12 Tips on How to Pay for Flight School

By Pilot Institute
Posted on December 5, 2022 - 9 minute read

It can be tough to find ways to pay for flight school, but there are plenty of options available if you get a little creative and follow a few guidelines.

This article will explore some of the best tips on how to finance your aviation education. So, whether you’re just starting on your journey or you’re already in flight school, read on for helpful advice!

1 – Learn How to Budget

Start saving now and create good spending habits – it will take time and discipline to save enough money for flight school.

Making the decision to become a pilot is a big one – and it’s not an inexpensive undertaking. Flight school can cost tens of thousands of dollars, so it’s essential to start saving now if you want to achieve your dream. It will take time and discipline to put aside the money you need, but it will be worth it in the end.

Start by creating a budget and evaluating your spending habits. Any money you save will mean nothing if it is spent unwisely. Where can you cut back in order to save more? 

Once you have a plan in place, stick to it as best you can. Automate your savings, if possible, so you’re less tempted to spend the money on other things. And remember, it will take time – so don’t get discouraged if you don’t have the funds saved up overnight. With a bit of planning and perseverance, you’ll be on your way to becoming a pilot in no time.

2 – Get a Scholarship

Look into scholarships and grants that can help pay for your aviation education.

Airlines and other aviation-related businesses offer scholarships and cadet programs to help offset the cost of education for students who are interested in a career in aviation. Scholarships are usually awarded based on academic merit, while cadet programs typically require an application and interview process. Both types of programs usually cover tuition and fees and may also include a stipend for living expenses. 

An airline cadetship is also a great way to break into the airline industry early on and will give you a chance to prove yourself and build your reputation within an airline.

As you research scholarships and grants, be sure to look into these aviation-related opportunities. With a little bit of investigation, you may be able to find a way to make your dream of becoming a pilot a reality.

3 – Fly for Free as a Private Pilot


One of the best ways to save money during flight training is to reduce the number of hours you have to pay for. When you get your private certificate (or if you have one already), get a job in the aviation industry to start building your flight hours. This will reduce the number of hours you will have to pay for when training for your commercial certificate, and it will be a great addition to your resume! 

You won’t be able to utilize this approach if you don’t have a private certificate or don’t plan on obtaining your commercial certificate, but you can still save money through a little creative thinking. Flight schools may offer discounted rent or reduced rates on training if you work at the school, so be sure to ask about this when you are researching your options. If you have a skill that the flight school needs (e.g., sales, marketing, graphic design), you may be able to get a reduced rate on flight training for the services you provide.

4 – Work Part-Time

If you don’t have a license yet, try working another part-time job. This will give you a steady income to help offset the cost of your flight training. You could even work in something related to aviation that will provide you with valuable experiences, such as an operations clerk at a flight school.

5 – Delay Your Training

Delaying your flight training in order to work full-time can be a great way to save money and reduce potential financial strain in the future. If you have the opportunity to work a full-time job and save the money you need for flight school, it can be a massive help in making your dream a reality. It may not be ideal, but it can be worth it in the end.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you decide to delay your training. First, delaying your flight training can be a great way to ensure that an aviation career is what you want. If you delay your flight training and find that you would rather fly privately and pursue a different career, you will have loads of money in the bank and no time wasted. 

Second, ensure you are realistic about how long it will take to save up enough money. Make challenging but achievable goals about how much you want to save, the sacrifices you are willing to make, and how long it will take.

Finally, talk to your flight school about delaying your training. Many schools will work with you to create a payment plan that fits your budget. This may involve paying a higher price for training overall, but it can be worth it in the end. This is also a great way to get your feet wet in aviation without fully committing or breaking the bank. Working full-time and saving money for flight school can be challenging, but it’s definitely doable with some hard work and planning.

6 – Find an Affordable Flight School


If you’re looking to save money on your flight training, it’s essential to do your research and find an affordable flight school.

One of the best ways to save money is to find a flight school that fits your budget. There are a number of affordable flight schools out there, so it’s crucial to compare rates and consider all of your options. Also, consider the quality of aircraft and instructors at the flight school. You may want to pay a little extra for better quality, or you might prefer to save the money for future use. 

By doing your research and taking the time to find an affordable flight school, you can save loads of money and save a lot of time and frustration. At the end of the day, whether you do your training in a brand new Cessna 172 with Garmin avionics, or a 1970s Cessna 152, you’ll receive the same private certificate. You’ll just have a better time in the new Cessna and learn a little more about newer aircraft systems.

7 – Take Advantage of Tax Breaks

When it comes to paying for flight school, don’t forget to look into available tax breaks. Investing in your education may entitle you to a variety of different credits and deductions that can help offset the cost. Check with a tax professional or do some research online to find out what incentives are available.

8 – Take Out a Loan


Taking out a loan can be a helpful way to finance your flight training. When you borrow money from a bank or other lender, you agree to pay back the loan plus interest over a set period of time. This can give you the flexibility to spread out the cost of flight training over time, making it more affordable. 

However, it’s important to be aware that taking out a loan will also add to your monthly expenses. You’ll need to make sure that you can comfortably afford the monthly payments in addition to your other bills and expenses. Otherwise, you may find yourself struggling to make ends meet. 

Before taking out a loan, it’s essential to do your research and compare interest rates and terms from different lenders. This will help you ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible.

9 – Borrow from Family or Friends

Borrow money from family or friends if you have to, but make sure you can afford to pay them back.

Borrowing money from friends or family can be a tricky business. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you can’t afford to repay your debt. That’s why it’s important to think carefully before going down this road. Make sure you have a clear timeline for repayment and be realistic about your ability to make timely payments. 

Missing a payment or defaulting on your loan can damage your relationship with the person you borrowed from, so it’s essential to make sure you can afford the repayments before you borrow. 

In short, borrowing money from family or friends can be a helpful way to get through a challenging financial situation, but make sure you take the time to assess your ability to repay the debt before moving forward.

10 – Sell Unused Items

One way to raise the money needed for flight school is to sell some of your possessions. If you have a car you don’t need or furniture you no longer use, consider selling these items to help finance your dream of becoming a pilot. You may have to make some sacrifices in the short term, but it will be worth it when you finally take to the skies, and everybody can do with a bit of minimalism in their lives!

11 – Always Have a Backup Plan

Make a plan B in case finances become an issue down the road. 

It’s important to know what your options are if you can’t finish flight training due to a lack of funds or other events. Make sure you understand all the details before signing any agreements with a flight school so that you have an out if needed. 

You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you spent every last penny you have on flight training without a job to show for it. Plan ahead and always have a backup plan in case something happens. This will help ensure that you don’t end up worse off than when you started.

12 – Use a Home Flight Simulator


Using a home flight simulator can be a great way to accelerate your training. By practicing at home, you can reduce the amount of time you need to spend in a real cockpit, which can save you money in the long run. 

Flight simulators are becoming more and more realistic, so you can expect to get a lot of value for your money. They allow you to fly in all kinds of different weather conditions and terrain, allowing you to prepare for anything that might be challenging during your training. 

In addition, flight simulators are a great way to improve your skills. You can practice maneuvers until you’re confident you can do them perfectly every time. This will help you save time and money during your training. 

The best part is that you don’t need to spend much to get enormous value. A simple $30 joystick and an entry-level gaming computer or Xbox is all you need. If you spend more, you’ll have an even better experience, and the expense will pay for itself in saved training time.

Overall, a home flight simulator is a great way to maximize your training and save money.


It will take time and discipline to save enough money for flight school on your own, but it is possible. There are also scholarships, loans, and grants that can help pay for your education. 

If you really want to become a pilot, there are a few things you can do to make it happen. You could get a job in the aviation industry to start building your flight hours. Or, if you need to, borrow money from family or friends. Just be sure that you can afford to pay them back before you ask. You could also take out a loan from a bank or other lending institution. Finally, you could sell some of your possessions to raise money for flight school. 

No matter what route you decide to take, just remember that becoming a pilot takes time and dedication. Don’t get discouraged, and keep pushing toward your dreams. With a little hard work and the right attitude, you’ll be soaring through the skies in no time!

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