Pilot Training with Employment Options
The Big Question…Which Student Visa?!
The limitations of the M1 visa is you only get a maximum of six months CPT and to get that six months you have to be actively conducting flight training for two full years! Majority of students can complete all of their training in 12-14 months. Additionally you cannot be paid while you are on the M1 student visa even when you are doing Curricular Practical Training. There is no on-campus or off-campus employment options.
Flight Training Only (Without Degree Program): There are only 5 schools in the US that were “grandfathered” from a J1 visa to the F1 visa after the events of 9/11. They know the value of the F1 visa and without having to add in the costs of a degree program they can offer a longer stay and the opportunity to work as a CFI to earn back some of what you’ve spent in training costs. We warn you though, do your math as they are some of the most expensive flight training programs! These 5 schools have the same CPT and OPT benefits that Universities and Colleges do. BUT you cannot qualify for CPT or OPT for a minimum of 12 months which is more in line with a zero experience pilot. For anyone that has experience that is a lot of additional time and money to waste flying only to maintain status with your student visa. Additionally, these 5 schools only accept minimal experience students for their F1 program, typically Private Pilot at the most. If you have completed your foreign IR and/or CPL you are out of luck. It would be foolish for international students to ignore that these schools have 200+ students training at a single location. Don’t expect to finish quickly, with low hours and a personalized experience. Simple math outlines that there is no way they can employ all of their student’s as CFIs to take advantage of CPT. There is a good chance for the 12 months of OPT because at that point a student can work for another flight school. Flight schools tend to hire their own domestic students first and why would they hire you when you spent your money training at another flight school instead of theirs? Still, the paid CPT and OPT offer is very very tempting. Wait, you can’t forget to calculate living expenses for all of that time. waiting around to qualify for only 11 months of CPT and 12 months of OPT for a maximum 23 months. It should also be noted that most of these flight schools that hire you will only pay minimum wage or slightly higher so you are barely breaking even when it comes to your living expenses. For most students, it’s still more opportunity than a M1 school can provide.
Flight Training with a Degree Program: The F1 visa with a degree program, again, you do not qualify for CPT or OPT for a minimum of 12 months. Your flight training PPL-CFI is going to cost around $60,000-$75,000 plus your tuition for the University/College which is typically $25,000-$40,000 per year! The minimum degree qualification for the F1 visa is a 2 year Associates degree. Calculated on the low side that’s $60,000 flight training tuition + $50,000 2 year Degree tuition (2 years x $25,000 per year) = $110,000!!!! Working for your allowable 23 months at a decent wage of $15/hour with average flight hours of 20-25 hours per week you only recuperate around $35,000. This certainly makes sense for a student pilot that requires a degree to better their chances of hire with a particular airline. With the opportunity for CPT and OPT the additional work of juggling University classes and flight training can be worth it.
The BEST Option “Secret Solution”
You’ve read this far so you must be serious about becoming a pilot! What if we told you we had a solution where any level of experience pilot can complete their training as fast as they want, on a visa that will allow them to be legally paid as a Flight Instructor in the United States, there is no 12 month minimum wait time to qualify for paid work authorization and the maximum time for the visa is 4 years? What if we told you that it is substantially less expensive than the F1 visa degree or F1 visa flight school route AND that you could even recuperate majority of your costs plus log all the hours you need?
This program is specialized, you will be issued the F1 visa and to maximize the opportunity it is limited to 50 student pilots annually. Contact us directly by filling out the form below to determine if you are eligible and to coordinate an interview with the school.