Bachelor of Science

Aircraft Operations (Flight)

127 Credits
  • Gain a proficiency in all areas of pilot skills to achieve the certified flight instructor level
  • Investigate areas of aeronautical technology, air traffic control, human factors, accident investigation, airline procedures, aviation safety and crew resource management
Students learning in flight simulator

The Tools and Knowledge to Be Successful in Aircraft Operations

Are you ready to take flight in a futureproof career? Vaughn’s aircraft operations degree program was developed to provide students with proficiency in the many skills required of a pilot. Our location―adjacent to Laguardia Airport and nearby John F. Kennedy International Airport―provides an environment for learning unsurpassed in activities, resources and faculty. Interested in this as a career? At Vaughn College, you will gain the skills and knowledge to become a certified flight instructor (CFI).

You will be exposed firsthand to the areas of aeronautical technology, air traffic control, the human factors, accident investigation, airline procedures, aviation safety and crew resource management―a full-scale overview of the possibilities faced by pilots of today.

Our partnership with the Heritage Flight Academy ensures that our curriculum is up to date and includes the latest technology and equipment in the classroom.

This degree program is accredited by the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI). This degree has been developed to provide students proficiency in all areas of pilot skills to the certified flight instructor level.

For student learning outcomes and objectives of this degree program, click here.

The graduation data is available here.

For more information on flight pass rates, click here.


Vaughn College is a University Gateway — JetBlue Pilot Gateway Programs partner institution.

University Gateway allows students in flight programs from one of JetBlue’s AABI-accredited partner colleges/universities to earn a conditional job offer for a position as a first officer at JetBlue. Once accepted, students follow one of several prescribed paths to gain experience and build their flight time. Provided they meet all program requirements and pass required background and other related checks, those in the program will join JetBlue as first officers and will not be required to complete any additional JetBlue interviews.  See the following link for more information:


88% of Vaughn grads are employed or continue their education within one year.*
of Vaughn grads are employed or continue their education within one year.*
75% of Vaughn grads are employed in their field or continue their education within one year.*
of Vaughn grads are employed in their field or continue their education within one year.*
U.S. News & World Report: 2022 Best Regional Colleges (North)


If you are interested in becoming a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-certified pilot, you must meet the Transportation Safety Administration requirements. In addition, if you wish to complete any flight certificates, a Class III medical certificate from an FAA examiner before undertaking this program is required. (Class II is required for commercial pilots.)

Your performance will be evaluated regularly, both academically and in flight training. You and other students will have a logbook, FAA 141 record folder, HFA instructors and Student Flight Progress Spreadsheets.

Vaughn College is certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a Pilot Ground School. When taken in conjunction with Heritage Flight Academy, the coursework provided under the aircraft operations bachelor’s degree program constitutes completing the Part 141 training. The FAA has also granted Vaughn the authority to certify graduates who have successfully completed specific aviation courses for a restricted airline transport pilot (RATP) certificate.

Sample Classes
  • Advanced Aircraft Systems
  • Aeronautics and Simulator Lab
  • Aeronautics Flight Review
  • Aviation Safety
  • Aviation Weather/ATC Weather
  • Multi-Engine Operations


Graduates of the aircraft operations bachelor’s degrees acquire the skills and education to obtain entry-to-mid level positions in aircraft operations and professional pilot fields or pursue graduate studies in aeronautical studies.

Vaughn graduates have become successful airline pilots, military pilots, commercial pilots and flight instructors with the education, skills and firsthand experience they gain on campus and in internships during their coursework. The opportunity to get a well-rounded education in aviation, have hands-on experience in the field, and build an extensive network of contacts in the aviation industry has helped many graduates attain successful aviation careers.

Career Insights

Just a few of the companies that employ Vaughn graduates:

  • Air Wisconsin
  • Dean International Flight School
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Emirates Airline
  • Endeavor Air
  • Envoy Air
  • Global Aviation
  • Heritage Flight Academy
  • Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
  • Talon Air
  • United Airlines
  • United States Air Force

A sample of Vaughn internships:

  • American Dynamics
  • Atlas Air
  • Disney College Program
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
  • FAA (Enterprise Data and Messaging Engineering Team)
  • FAA (Tech Center)
  • Federal Express
  • FlightSafety International
  • General Electric
  • International Business Machines (IBM)
  • Intrepid Sea. Air and Space Museum
  • NASA
  • NASA (Marshall Space Flight Center)
  • NAVAIR (Naval Air Systems Command)
  • NBC
  • NYU Engineering Summer Research
  • Radish Petroleum Company
  • Sikorsky Helicopters
  • Textron Aviation
  • United Airlines
  • Venture Aerobearings
  • Watertown Airport


*Outcomes include data within one year of graduation for graduates who reported via survey. There were a total of 237 graduates in 2020. 178 reported an outcome for an 75% response rate. The 2020 graduate class includes September 2019, December 2019 and May 2020 graduates.