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Number of flight students soars at Arizona’s Embry-Riddle campus

(Facebook Photo/Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott Campus)

PHOENIX – As a wave of high-paying pilot jobs open up, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott is seeing a surge in applicants for its flight program.

“For aeronautical science, which is our professional pilot program, we are expecting an 81% increase in new students coming in and a 34% increase in the total size of the program,” Bryan Dougherty, Embry-Riddle dean of enrollment management, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday

Dougherty said the increase in openings is driven by baby boomers reaching the mandatory retirement age of 65. Additionally, he said there’s been an increase of required training hours and an overall expansion of air travel.

“All of those factors combined are just creating an incredible supply-and-demand equation for pilots that is booming enrollments at flight schools and universities across the country,” Dougherty said.

With commercial and airline pilots earning a median $115,670 annually in 2018, flight schools aren’t having trouble with recruiting.

And for an increasing number of new students, Embry-Riddle is a highly desirable destination.

“It looks great on a resume. Embry-Riddle is known as the ‘Harvard of the skies,’” Nicholas Carbone, a student at the Embry-Riddle’s Florida campus, told the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ashley Flood contributed to this report.

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